Vans prints custom patterns, photos and designs onto all iconic styles, including the Old Skool, Authentic, Slip-On, Era and Sk8-Hi. In 2017, Vans unveiled a new, innovative machine that allows custom designs to be printed on to shoes in less than 15 minutes.
Vans vice-president of creative Jamie Reilly told Fast Company that the new customisation machine allows Vans devotees to express themselves, which has always been a key focus for the brand.
“The checkerboard is an iconic piece of Vans branding but it originally came from kids drawing on their shoes,” Reilly said. “So this is just another cool way we can see what people want. The new machine fits into this as just another experiment to help us connect better with our customers and give them another platform for their own creativity and expression.”
Vans’ tradition for making custom shoes goes back to our beginnings in California in the ‘60s. As the story goes, a customer walked into the shop on the very first day and asked for shoes in a colour which wasn’t then available. Paul Van Doren told her:
“Bring me the fabric you want your shoes made out of and I’ll make them for an extra 50 cents.”
The rest, as they say, is history.