Vans Old Skool Is a Classic That Belongs in Every Closet

Some sneakers never go out of style.

Vans Old Skool shoes
Nor Gal / Shutterstock

A long time ago, back when magazines existed, I worked at a bunch of men’s fashion rags. The style advice we promoted most frequently had to do with sticking with the classics or embracing classics. Charvet oxfords; worn Levis; Ray-Bans; Rolex. That was the advice we gave because ‘sticking with classics’ is damn smart. Limiting, though. Especially within the realm of sneakers where “classic” has become shorthand for white leather tennis shoes.

I’m here to remind you that Vans are classics, too. The Old Skool, pictured above, was released 45 years ago as the #36. It has a clean design and Paul Van Doren’s aerodynamic white squiggle on the side. Also: This shoe is durable as hell. Suede and canvas with a reinforced toe cap and that legendary, vulcanized rubber waffle sole. All Vans are amazing, but the availability of this shoe in 16 different colorways, including my favorite, fuschia, lands the Old Skool in our sneaker Hall of Fame. $65 at

Alex French is a contributing editor for Fatherly and has been a journalist and editor for decades with work in Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, Grantland, Wired, and many others. He’s also the co-author of Sneakers, which will tell you pretty much everything you need to know on the subject. A few years back he blew $300 on a pair of black on black Adidas Y3 Qasa high tops that he’s now afraid to admit he doesn’t really like.