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Dover Street Market

Beloved by skaters and sneakerheads alike, Vans kicks come with distinctive silhouettes that haven’t changed much over the years. But while its archive has more or less remained the same when it comes to shapes, the Californian brand has released countless colorways over the years, and none are more iconic than the interpretations of its signature checkerboard print.

First seen in the late ’70s, the checkerboard colorway was actually introduced by Steve Van Doren (son of Vans founder Paul Van Doren), after noticing that skater kids were coloring their shoes’ midsoles to look like a checkerboard.

Soon after the pattern was applied on Vans canvas Slip-Ons, the checkerboard iteration gained mainstream popularity, further supported by cosigns from Sean Penn. In the early ’80s, the Vans checkerboard became a favorite among subcultures, too, with Ska adopting the checkerboard as one of their symbols to represent unity and the breaking of racial barriers.

Though the checkerboard pattern may have lost its Ska essence now, the colorway remains a huge hit, with Vans including OG checkerboard in its most recent general releases and elevating the classic in interesting new collaborations. Now, in appreciation of the timeless design, we’ve picked some of our favorite interpretations of the Vans checkerboard currently available, from classics to wavy modern takes.

And while the classics will come as affordable grails, slightly elevated highlights come from Dover Street Market and END.‘s spins on the classic pattern, along with more fashion-forward versions from the recent Ponyhair pack and waterproof GORE-TEX Sk8-His.

View all our favorites below.

Classic Slip On Sneaker

$50

Vans

Buy at Urban Outfitters

Checker Flame Slip-On

$50

Vans

Buy at pacsun

Checker Flame Authentic

$50

Vans

Buy at pacsun

Checker Flame Sk8-Hi

$59

Vans

Buy at pacsun

US Open Old Skool

$65

Vans

Buy at Vans

Surf Check Sk8-Hi 139 Decon SF

$65

Vans

Buy at Vans

Vans

$78

Vans Vault x DSM

Buy at DSM London

Vans OG Slip On

from $69

END. x Vans

(Available at 2 Merchants)
(Available at 2 Merchants)
Comfy Cush Era LX

Comfy Cush Era LX

$55

Vans Vault

FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $60

FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $60

Buy at END.

Pony Hair Slip-On Cap LX

$78

Vans Vault

Buy at ssense
Pony Hair Sk8-Hi Cap LX

Pony Hair Sk8-Hi Cap LX

$200

Vans Vault

Buy at ssense
SK8-Hi Gore-Tex LX

SK8-Hi Gore-Tex LX

$225

Vans Vault

FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $60

FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $60

Buy at END.

If you want a deeper dive into Vans, watch the video below.

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