Who should buy the Vans Half Cab

Given that it’s a skate icon, Half Cab is a perfect choice for those who want:

  • generously padded collars
  • super durable and grippy skate shoes
  • low-priced kicks

Vans Half Cab front

Who should NOT buy it 

If the thickly foamed collar is too much for you, check out other Vans sneakers:

Vans Half Cab heel

Vans Half Cab is equipped for skate stunts 

Vans Half Cab’s mid-top collar gives skateboarders the freedom to polish their skate tricks. The design made by skaters for skaters featured double-stitched suede uppers and reinforced toecaps that can withstand repeated abuse. It's among the skate kicks from Vans equipped for tackling rounds of kicking and flipping on ledges, vert ramps, handrails, pools, bowls, etc. 

Vans Half Cab front left

Its beefed-up collar works as an ankle brace

Several reviewers are impressed by how the extra thick padded collar bolsters the ankle from repeated blows. 

Vans Half Cab ankle collar

It lets you stick to the board as you fly

Skateboarders are impressed by its super grippy rubber outsole, making them stay glued to their board whether they shove it, do kickflips or ollies.

Vans Half Cab grippy sole

There's enough room for toe splay

Many wearers say that the sneaker has enough wiggle room for the toes to splay. 

Vans Half Cab vamp

A tank of a skate shoe

The double-stitched suede cover and reinforced toecaps ensure durability quality construction and prevent the shoe from breaking apart too soon. This kick is one of the most enduring among mid-top skates to diehard Half Cab fans. Many of them are recommending this kick to other potential customers. 

Vans Half Cab cab logo

It can accommodate custom insoles

Flat-footed skaters had to switch to custom-fitting insoles as this shoe lacks the needed underfoot support. 

Its cover attracts dirt easily

Though many skaters noted that the suede material stains rapidly, they aren’t bothered by it, to them, this minor flaw won’t affect their skate performance. 

Vans Half Cab dirt magnet

Blends well with lots of clothes, from hoodies to khakis

Skatewear users find this stylish and love combining it effortlessly with various outfits, from skate clothes to casual wear. Its availability in multiple colorways gives them plenty of styling choices. 

A bang for the buck

Numerous purchasers love that this shoe comes at a budget-friendly price.

Half Cab’s origin

Vans' first signature skate shoe is the Vans Steve Caballero, released in 1988. Caballero, the former member of Stacey Peralta’s Bones Brigade, was tapped by Vans to wear the padded high-top Caballero shoe. As the first signature skate shoe, the Cab initially gained success with its superior cushioning and protection features for the feet.

Over the next few years, skaters who wanted more ankle flexibility in doing flip tricks began creating makeshift mid-tops. They slashed off the collar of the Caballero and sealed the trims with duct tape.  

Vans Half Cab caballero

Such ingenuity led Steve and Vans back to the drawing table to develop the Half Cab, which would later be known as the “best skate shoe ever produced.” More design tweaks happened later on. 

The legendary skater configured the mid-top to have suede uppers with double stitching for enhanced durability, a vulcanized waffle outsole, and a padded collar.  A Half-Cab branding replaced the Caballero patch at the side panel with an image of Steve Caballero performing the half-cab or backside trick.

The OG black colorway became a mainstay in the brand’s catalog after becoming an instant hit and a classic kick revered by the skating community up to this day. Soon, more colorways were added to the pack.

Vans Half Cab top

In 2005, Vans teamed up with another pro-skater, Scott Kane, for a second signature skate shoe, the Cab low or the low-top version. In 2007, the Half Cab Pro was released with professional skating in mind. The Half Cab Pro had an improved insole and outsole and upper using only premium materials and was often preferred by hard-core, competing skateboarders.

Facts / Specs

Style: Retro, Sporty
Top: Mid
Inspired from: Skate
Collaboration: Steve Caballero
Closure: Laces
Material: Leather, Suede, Rubber Sole, Vulc Sole, EVA
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

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Author
Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.