Dear Vans Manufacturers,
I was a little disappointed when, after 27 years of skateboarding, I finally bought something I had been trying
to buy for about half that time, my first pair of Hi-top Sk8's. Only to discover they didn't quite fulfill my
admittedly high expectations.
I first tried on my American friends pair in the late 80's and found them roomy, stylish, comfortable and
hard-wearing with an attention to detail in design and manufacture that you didn't get in other 'skate shoes',
(I'm thinking Converse or Rucanor as the only serious alternatives in the UK at that time). I instantly
recognised them as an all time design classic and quickly set about securing myself a pair.
Since then after various failed attempts and close brushes with a successful purchase, including Lo-tops,
Chukka's and various 'Athletic' styles along the way, I finally paid a visit to the Vans outlet store in Bridgend
to get myself a pair of the good 'uns.All went well in the shop, the shoes looked cool, barely needed any
breaking in and were quite cheap.It was only 'pon getting them home, integrating them into my lifestyle,
journeying halfway around the sun in our annual orbit and getting a wet foot after standing in a very small puddle,
that I noticed that my precious Hi-tops (which skate perfectly by the way) weren't built to the same high standards
as that long remembered pair of my friends in the 80's AND those Lo-tops that I mentioned. They were only, gasp,
of the same quality as the, gasp, Chukka's I invoked earlier, ANYWAY!
What I noticed was that the soles were lighter and thinner and made from a less durable but perhaps slightly
sticky-er rubber. Also, the rubber 'sides' weren't the same, the old ones (and my Lo-tops) had strips of
rubberized canvas wrapped and glued around them, the new ones are, gasp again, molded in one piece!
I'm no strict traditionalist, but in this case, the old ways are definitly the best. Not only did the old style
last much longer, with the uppers buying it around the same time as the soles, but they looked so much cooler to
the discerning eye.
As a graphic designer and amateur inventor, I'd love to design my own pair of sk8 shoes (and skatepark!) I
wouldn't make them too different from those classic old Hi-tops, just a tweak here and there.I don't want any
free trainers or anything (I'm an English 9). What I want is to know if you can still get those old style ones.
Skate Tough, Mat Wigley
No, they never got back to me...