Putting the “sole” back in Vans


By Amber George

Since 1966, Vans Shoes has been an increasingly popular brand, starting deep in the roots of California and spreading quickly across the world. People everywhere can been seen sporting the newest styles and colors, not only in the shoes, but also in Vans apparel. Now, the company is giving aspiring designers the chance to get their own ideas on the canvas.

Vans has started a competition that allows  avid fans of the shoe brand to design their own custom pair, with details down to the stitch color. The contest is open to anyone, in order for the company to get inspiration from every generation who may want to participate. Ideas have begun to flow as hundreds of ideas are uploaded to the Vans website daily.

“The contest is about creating your own custom Vans with a chance to have your design sold in stores,” says Vans floor supervisor Sarah Schrader, who works for the Vans located in the Flagstaff Mall. “To me, the idea behind the contest is to inspire youth and their creativity along with individuality . . . People can gain confidence in themselves by believing their own style is cool.”

The contest ends on Nov. 17, when twelve winners will be chosen. Until then, the contest will be open online to anyone brave enough to get their style out there. The twelve winners will not only win a free pair of custom Vans, but their work will be displayed online and will inspire a completely original pair of shoes to be sold.

“Vans, to me, is art celebrating individuality and the chance to be creative through self-expression by fashion,” Schrader says.

By encouraging people to get out there and share their own creativity, Vans is helping those wishing to further themselves in the marketing, fashion and even design fields. The Vans store is motivating competitors to take a chance against thousands of other people across the country that makes a lasting impression on a huge company.

Elaina Rodriguez, a junior strategic communications major at NAU, feels events like the Vans competition are helping to get new voices and styles out there.

“I think that the competition is awesome,” Rodriquez says. “You get to play around with so many different prints and patters to make the perfect shoe for you. The coolest part is that the shoe you design could be used to inspire a new shoe that Vans sells in stores.”

The competition is not only a great way for people to express their creativity, but it also can help the company get ideas of what the public wants to see in their shoes. With thousands of entries, they are sure to get insight of not just twelve great ideas, but hundreds.

According to Dustin Schnabel, assistant manager at Flagstaff’s Vans store, the contest is very quick and simple to enter, and all of the information needed is online at their website. Contest participants are given two styles to work with; the authentic — which is one of the first and most common styles of Vans — and the authentic lo-pro, which is a lower and thinner profile of the regular authentic for a more “feminine look.” Competitors can then go through and design their own “perfect shoe,” making adjustments to the canvas pattern to the shoe lace color. Once they are satisfied with their design, they can share it with Vans and be entered to be selected as a winner.

Who knows, the next style of Vans could come from one of the hundreds of entrees from Flagstaff. The competition is allowing for the freedom to put oneself into something much larger, something they can share with the whole country. They are allowing for people to get personally creative and simply putting the “sole” back into the shoes.


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