Vans x Peanuts Old Skool History
The Van Doren Rubber Company is an Anaheim business that was founded in 1966. They did not start out as a skating shoe company, contrary to popular belief. It’s just that their shoes got the perfect build—sturdy with sticky soles—that got skateboarders’ attention. By the 70s, skateboarders all over Southern California were sporting the rugged kicks, and the brand was taking the skateboarding community by storm.
Vans Old Skool Roots
The original Old Skool shoes were launched in 1977 as Style #36. It was a landmark silhouette for the Vans brand since the shoes were the first to sport the iconic “jazz stripe,” or what we now call the Vans Sidestripe—a simple doodle by Paul van Doren that is now an unmistakable hallmark of the brand.
The silhouette copped a lot of firsts for the brand. Not only for launching the Vans Sidestripe, but also for being the first to feature leather panels in the construction, particularly the suede toes. Vans Old Skools had a pretty straightforward design much like the Authentic but with higher and padded collars and a slightly bulkier build.
The silhouette became particularly popular with skateboarders because of its lightweight but durable construction—courtesy of the leather panels that could endure much abuse from skating. This popularity would continue to rise until Old Skools began to rival Authentics for iconic status.
Adding to Vans Old Skools’ immense acceptance by the crowd is how the model’s construction made it suitable for expressing creativity. The shoes became a sort of platform for rebels and non-conformists. The silhouette became the canvas for kids trying to express themselves through art and color. It was quite normal to see Old Skools sporting a dizzying array of shades and prints. This would later be the basis for the brand to launch their Vans customs app that lets users personalize their Old Skools as they see fit.
Interest for the classic model never really died down, but it saw a resurgence of interest in the 90s when Supreme and Vans launched sneaker collaborations. Their 1996 Old Skool Camo release is one of the most sought-after shoes and has become the grail for many collectors.
Come 2016, the vintage sneakers found new followers in the younger generation. Along with the revival of interest in the sport of skateboarding, streetwear trends were on the rise again, thereby propelling the Vans brand and by association, Old Skool shoes, to the forefront. The demand for this silhouette rose so much that by the fall of that year, Old Skools were once again one of the brand’s highest grossing products worldwide.
Vans x Peanuts Old Skool Shoes
Due to the Old Skool’s popularity, the silhouette has been remade into different iterations including a winter-ready one, a lightweight edition, and a mostly canvas version. Various collabs with artists, designers, and companies were also done. In June of 2017, a Peanuts collection came out. The first release featured a Charlie Brown homage in the form of an Old Skool silhouette, a Woodstock and Snoopy-themed SK8-Hi, and a blue Snoopy-designed Authentic.
Vans x Charlie Brown Old Skools featured black tongues with the words “Good” and “Grief” embroidered in white stitching on each shoe. A bright yellow base with black heels, toes, and zigzag embroidery completed the vibrant look.
The brand continued the Peanuts collection in October of that same year. This time around, the Slip-On silhouette was added plus new all-over print versions for the Sk8-Hi and Old Skool debuted. Vans x Peanuts Old Skool Snoopy skate shoes were done in an inky black shade with Snoopy graphics in white for contrast. One colorway featured black and white graphics of Lucy van Pelt, Snoopy, and Charlie Brown against a light pink background with black tongues, toes, and heels while still another contained other Peanuts characters in full graphic color with beige shoe toes, tongues, and heels.