With the release of Tyler, The Creator’s new Converse One Star collaboration this week, the Odd Future frontman’s collaboration partnership with Vans has come to an official end. Longtime OFWGKTA fans were surely surprised, as for a period of several years, it was rare to spot Tyler wearing anything but Vans, his favorites being the Authentic, Old Skool, and Era silhouettes.
In an interview with FADER, Tyler explained why he was ending his relationship with Vans, a brand he grew up wearing every day. “Imagine being in a fucking cocoon,” Tyler explained. “Vans just wouldn’t let me grow. It was a ceiling and I was like, ‘Fuck this.’ Converse is allowing me to bloom, no pun intended, and it’s great.”
Here’s a look at the history of Tyler’s footwear collaborations, ranked from best to worst.
1. Golf Wang x Vans 2015 Old Skool Collection (2015)
Tyler’s third collaboration with Vans came in 2015. In a Puss Puss magazine interview that year, Tyler talked about his love for Vans, revealing that he had been wearing Vans since 7th grade. As for his favorite? “Old Skools 24/7.”
This collaboration featured four different options, with three of the colorways showing off Vans’ signature checkerboard print. The fourth style featured the brand’s tri-color arrangement. A “Golf” wordmark was featured on the tongue of all four years.
Mixing Tyler’s eye for flair with Vans’ iconic checkerboard pattern, this co-op release tops the list for us.
2. Tyler, The Creator x Converse One Star (2017)
Following up on previous One Star collaborations with Footpatrol, Stussy, Undefeated and others, Tyler finally debuted his own take on the low-top sneaker earlier in July 2017. Featuring a “Clearwater” blue colorway and contrasting laces, the color scheme carries over nicely from Tyler’s previous Vans collaborations, opting for a vivid colorway in favor of something more neutral. In classic Tyler fashion, the footbed features a nod to his yet-to-be officially released album Scum Fuck Flower Boy.
The One Star is having a bit of a moment right now, and in that sense, Tyler’s version of the timeless low top is perfectly timed. Although we do lament the shuttering of his Vans partnership, this new One Star seems to be the beginning of an exciting new era.
3. Golf Le Fleur (2016)
At his Golf Wang runway show at Made LA last year, Tyler unveiled a new footwear brand which he called Golf Le Fleur:
Speaking on the floral pattern and pink colorway of the shoe, Tyler – with Kanye West in attendance – told the runway audience: “I’ve always felt under-appreciated; growing up an inner city black kid, I wasn’t very masculine or into sports and I liked the color pink. Well I took that pink shit to that runway right here.”
Tyler promised every ticket holder in audience that they would receive a free pair of the shoe, but noted that he was only working on samples at the moment and that he would have the actual sneaker available by the end of the year. Attendees were able to pick their own color pattern on their way out of the event:
Unfortunately, with the announcement of Tyler’s new collaboration with Converse, it appears the Golf Le Fleur project won’t see the light of day. At the time, the prospect of Tyler having his own footwear brand seemed truly exciting, and it’s something we still hope to see down the line.
4. Golf Wang x Vans Syndicate Old Skool (2013)
Tyler’s Vans Old Skool drop in 2013 included four colorways – blue, black, wheat and red – kitted out with contrasting gum soles, suede uppers, an all-over kitty print on the insole and “Golf Wang” script on the back. Rounding things out, the shoes were also packaged in a special black shoebox with Tyler’s signature scrawlings on the exterior.
This initial drop constituted the beginning of a fruitful cooperation between Tyler and Vans, which would produce several later co-branded instalments. We do love the 2015 checkerboard Old Skools, but this 2013 pack favors tasteful monochrome uppers, in case your tastes are better suited to a toned-down look.
5. Vans x Tyler, The Creator “Camp Flog Gnaw” Authentic (2016)
In 2014, a friends and family Vans Authentic was gifted to performers at Tyler’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival. Two years later in 2016, an official release was slated between Vans and Tyler. The resulting Golf Wang x Vans collaboration took on a new approach on the Authentic, which was slightly more minimalist than his previous drops.
With a cream canvas, green tongue and red and blue as the main colors of the shoe, the “Camp Flog Gnaw” Authentics also included the words “FLOG KNAW” written across the heel in cartoonish typography. As much as we’re fans of Tyler’s work on the Vans Old Skool, this Authentic release was a welcome change of pace, and an example of Tyler’s aptness for tying together all aspects of the Odd Future universe that he was instrumental in creating.
6. Golf Wang x Vans Syndicate Old Skool Pro “S” (2014)
This subsequent pack of Old Skool sneakers arrived in 2014, and was highlighted by a pink sole that aligned perfectly with Tyler and Odd Future’s unrestrained taste for graphics and colors.
The classic Old Skool Pro “S” received the full Golf Wang treatment, arriving with baby blue, wheat and green uppers, supplemented by custom “Golf Wang” artwork on the tongue of the shoe. As he’s been known to do, Tyler first teased his second Vans collaboration on Instagram, showing the shoe with a suspicious, viscous gob on the toe.
7. Vans x Odd Future “Donuts” Pack (2016)
In September 2016, Odd Future and Vans collaborated on a Donuts Pack which featured a new take on the Vans Sk8-Hi and Authentic models.
The sneakers featured Odd Future’s signature pink sprinkle donut emblem over a bright teal canvas and suede uppers, with a matching shoe box for each pair. Reminding us of the time Tyler rapped “I was 16 when I first drew that donut” on Odd Future’s “Oldie,” he also took to Instagram to share a first look at the sneaker, getting a bit sentimental in the caption.
Yes, the donut logo is synonymous with Odd Future, but the childish design just didn’t come across as well as his other Vans drops.
Now check out Highsnobiety’s very own list of the best sneakers of 2017 so far.
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- Words: Alex Wong
- Main & Featured Image: Vans / Odd Future