Sk8-Hi Product Guide

The Vans Sk8-Hi shoes are an icon for a reason. Building a decades-long reputation in skate culture, the streetwear scene and beyond, the Sk8-Hi has become instantly recognisable, and the shoes have been a staple in the skate and streetwear scene for decades.

They were first released in 1978 when they pioneered the high ankle support and popularised the legendary side stripe (originally known as the “jazz stripe”).

After building a following in the skate and BMX scenes, the Sk8-Hi has transcended its original function and become popular for sneakerheads, fashion enthusiasts and everyone in between. This is the ultimate product guide for the Vans Sk8-Hi – read on to explore the features, style guide and lacing tips for these legendary shoes.

Vans Sk8-Hi

The Vans Sk8-Hi is the original high-top skate shoe. The high, padded ankle support offers protection and stability. The unmistakable rubble waffle outsoles maximise traction. Reinforced toe caps and tough canvas uppers enhance durability. All of these features combine for the ultimate skate shoe, and the distinctive style has become popular far beyond skate culture.

Known as ‘style 38’ when they were originally launched in 1978, the Vans Sk8 became immediately popular within the young, growing skate scene. Designed with the needs of skaters in mind, ankle protection and grip were a revelation within the community. The Sk8-Hi was the second shoe to feature the eye-catching side stripe, and as the shoe became more popular, the “jazz stripe” became an instantly recognisable symbol of the scene.

Becoming a cornerstone of counterculture, the Vans Sk8-Hi shoes spread into the punk music scene and beyond. Decades later, they’ve been seen everywhere, from celebrities on the catwalk to streetwear enthusiasts, remaining a consistent fixture in their original habitat of the skate world.

Vans Skate Sk8-Hi Shoes

The Vans Skate Sk8-Hi Shoes keep the design of the original, classic shoe and adds a few upgrades. Continuing to develop features for skateboarding, the construction of the shoes is more durable and offers enhanced cushioning and superior protection for the foot and ankle.

Vans Skate Sk8-Hi shoes feature DURACAP™ reinforcement rubber underlays in areas which receive a lot of wear and tear, increasing the longevity of the shoe.  Sockliner fabric improves cushioning for a more comfortable experience. The classic waffle sole look is enhanced with Pro Vulc Lite rubber for an unrivalled board feel and grip.

If you buy Vans for skating, the Vans Skate Sk8-Hi  is the shoe for you, designed for peak performance on the board.

How to wear Sk8-Hi Vans

To wear Sk8-Hi Vans, the only limit is your imagination. The versatility of the classic shoe has seen them worn as casual footwear, more formally and everything in between.

For performance, the enhanced ankle protection makes them ideal for any activity, like skating, that can put your ankles at risk. The premium durability makes a great choice for daily footwear that sees a lot of wear and tear. In terms of style, the Sk8-Hi shoe is a great base for whatever look you’re building.

How to style Vans Sk8-Hi

To style Sk8-Hi Vans, take inspiration from the long history of the shoe. The instantly recognisable hi-top and side stripe allow you to add an iconic look to your outfit. The classic black and white combination goes with everything, while a range of fresh colours allows you to express yourself.

  • Skate style - The original home of the Sk8-Hi, the skatepark style pairs Vans with cut-off or rolled baggy jeans or shorts, a skate t-shirt and a hoodie.
  • Streetwear - For a casual vibe, combine Vans Sk8-Hi shoes with jeans or joggers that have a tapered ankle, allowing you to showcase the distinctive high top on the sneaker.
  • Grunge - A favourite in the 90s grunge scene, the Vans Sk8-Hi brings a retro vibe and works well with ripped jeans or even fishnet tights
  • Formal - To add an irreverent feel to your formal wear, pair your Vans with a suit, shirt and tie for an unexpected twist.

Vans shoes have always challenged the status quo, so wear them however you like!

How to lace Vans Sk8-Hi

Sk8-Hi Vans can be laced in a variety of creative ways, including cross-lacing, straight lacing and bar lacing. Each method of lacing adds a different finishing touch to your shoes, so feel free to get creative.

  • Cross lacing - The most common style of lacing, cross lacing alternates the laces as they crisscross over each other up the shoe. This is a comfortable lacing option, minimising pressure on the top of the foot.
  • Straight lacing - Straight, or bar, lacing brings the laces straight across between eyelets from underneath. This achieves an extra-snug fit and a cleaner look.
  • Zip lacing - For a unique method, zip lacing involves a knot at one end of the lace, with the other end threaded to the tip. There’s nothing to tie at the other end – just pull them tight.

The eyelets go all the way to the top of the Vans Sk8-Hi. Use them all for a supportive feel and tighter profile. Alternatively, leave some of the higher eyelets empty for a looser fit and a more casual look.

If you want to take a deeper dive into this topic then take a look at our full in-depth guide on How to Lace Your Vans Shoes.

Classic Since Forever

When we talk about the Vans Sk8-Hi shoes, we say they are classic since forever. There’s a reason why these versatile shoes have stood the test of time. Loved for their functionality and their style, they are a true footwear icon. Check out the full range now.