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Vans

Vans' skate shoes are so good that even luxury labels are coming for its crown. But no one can compare and Vans knows it: its newest skate shoes are practically pulled from Vans' '90s design archive, because nothing beats the OG.

It's funny, as sleek as some of Vans' newest shoe styles may be, it's heritage is all about the chunk.

Vans' '90s heyday is at least partially responsible for the huge-ification of skate shoes from that era, yielding tremendously beefy low-profile kicks with great grip and greater girth.

The three newest Vans sneakers aren't all entirely era-appropriate, as they wear some new tech, but they are entirely rooted in those classic cues.

First, there's the Vans Upland, possibly the meatiest of the three latest designs and a true throwback — this $95 archival sneaker comes straight outta 1999.

Its massively thick sole anchors thick leather and padding on the above upper, making for a shoe as satisfyingly secure as it is tremendously titanic.

The Vans Hylane may be equally chunktastic, depending on the angle you view it from.

This is a $90 tweaked take on the Upland that adds in what Vans calls Y2K inspiration for a sliiiiightly more contemporary-looking (but still objectively old-school) skate sneaker.

What this means is a shoe with a massive tongue, slick panels, 3D Sidestripe, and enthickened sidewalls for security and substance, all grounded by gum sole.

Finally, there's the Vans Mixxa.

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Yes, all these shoes have cute names. Yes, they are all utterly distinct.

The Mixxa is maybe the most distinct of all the models, wearing a mix of suede and inorganic paneling that encourages high-contrast colorways — the navy/grey iteration is by far the best showcase of this and looks truly '90s — with big ol' laces and a plump tongue that reiterate the retro feel of it all.

And, pretty cool: underfoot, the sole wears a quad splash of color.

What with all the elevated and luxury takes on '90s-feeling skate shoes, about time that Vans reasserted dominance in a space it all but dominated.

There may be some recent worthy competition from other skatewear lifers but Vans is the only hardcore skate label making innovative new shoes as strong as its older stuff.

So much so that the older stuff is standing strong against the new classics.

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