Vans SK8-Hi


The Sk8-Hi doesn’t even need reviewing. Everyone knows them: you’ve probably had numerous pairs yourself. There are exceptions to every rule, but it can be said that nearly absolutely everybody can rock Sk8-His and look good doing it. They’ve been skated and chilled in by millions in the past fifty years.

I just ran through a pair of them. They start out stiff as hell—it takes like a month to hit that sweet spot—but that’s how it works with a shoe that came out the same year as fuggin’ Pet Sounds. You break them in like a pair of baseball mitts, and after that, they’re reliable. They personalize and get cooler and cooler as they tatter. I blew out the upper after about a month and patched it from within with duct tape. I skated over 300 miles in them, I’d say, before the soles blew out, then stayed wearing them. They were filthy and torn-up and smelled weird and were nearly unrecognizable by the time I retired them.

There are better shoes for your podiatric health, and all kinds of ultra-bounce cush seal 4.0 technology that would be better suited for Ivan Drago than your average skateboarding miscreant. The SK8-Hi was the first time someone stopped and said, “Hey these banana-boarding weirdos probably want something to protect their ankles.” Before, all there was were low-cut Authentics and ankle straps accessories that you ordered by mail. The shoe brings it back to before people knew how to make a board leave the ground—when they were merely laying the fountain. So here’s to fifty more years and thanks for the sock holes!

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