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I only just bought my new favorite sneakers — the classic Vans Checkerboard Slip-Ons ($50) — last week, but we have history.
When I was 12, I owned three pairs, all in different colors. I wore them faithfully throughout middle school and my early years of high school, because as a tween, the last thing I wanted to do was worry about tying my shoes. They were easy to put on, super comfortable, and cheap enough to manage on my after-school job budget. I had written Fall Out Boy lyrics on the outer white rubber, filled in the checkered canvas at random with sharpie markers, and thought I was really, really cool.
As an adult, sneakers and I haven’t had much of a relationship. I was never quite sold on the recent resurgence of Nike’s Air Force 1s, and I certainly did not want to be another Stan Smith statistic. Still, the idea of an easy on-and-off sneaker was appealing, so the search continued.
Then, over the holiday break, I found two of the three pairs of Vans in my childhood bedroom. After five minutes and a couple laps around the house, I was convinced it was time to buy another pair.
They’re still the same exact black and white canvas shoe I bought in the early 2000s, which is a testament to the fact that Vans, aside from a few collaborations here and there, has never had a proper rebrand or resurgence of its shoes. They’re still just as simple, comfortable, and cheap — and as a plus, surprisingly go with everything I wear. (Great news for me, considering a decade later I still don’t want to worry about tying my shoes.)