LB Culture

Lately, we’ve been wondering how the iconic Checkerboard pattern popularized by Vans came to be. We did some digging and thought we'd share the fruits of our research with you. Hey, sharing is caring!

It was in 1977 that the classic slip-on (affectionately named No. 48 at Vans HQ) appeared on the market. The minimalist design soon became a canvas for young skaters to personalize with Sharpie art.

It was none other than Steve Van Doren, son of the brand’s founder (Paul Van Doren) who spearheaded this very DIY trend. While he heavily promoted the new pattern, the release wasn’t initially as successful as they hoped.

It was only a few years later, in 1982, that the Vans Slip-On Checkerboard’s popularity took off following its appearance in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. In fact, Sean Penn personally chose to sport the Vans style for his lead role as Jeff Spicoli. As soon as the film hit theaters, sales skyrocketed.

The slip-ons were even featured on the album cover for the film’s soundtrack. Pretty sweet advertising!

Sick story, right? Now you know how the iconic Checkerboard pattern came to life!

Fast forward to 2018, here are our brand new Vans Checkerboard styles.