Under The Palms Top 5 Vans Vault Collabs of 2014

VaultTop52014

As the year draws to an end, we start to see a bunch of lists of whatever you can imagine. I figured some of you would be expecting one from me, and because I had the time, I said fuck it, sure, why not? I did however simplify it for selfish reasons, and I narrowed it down to just Vault by Vans releases, and even more specifically collaborations from 2014…and one technically from 2013, but only by like 4 days. Get over it. It’s my list. Anyways, this was an awesome year for Vans, particularly Vault by Vans. Vans has stepped up their luxury line tremendously with steady seasonal releases from Taka Hayashi, as well as a few collaborations with high-end names like Diemme, and Gosha Rubchinskiy. There’s also been quite a bit of collaborations with sneaker boutiques that carry the Vault line, and even some more rare regional releases, where only a select few shops got the pleasure of releasing them. It made it fun for the collectors, and tough for those who were new to Vans. We definitely had to pool our resources, and keep our ear to the “internet streets” in order to successfully get what we wanted. Proxies were obtained, and funds exchanged hands all year long. We made new friends, and our Vans collector community continues to outgrow itself! We all feel it. Shoes are becoming harder to find now days, and the reseller’s are now buying up our beloved Vans too, but we’ve got our established network which truly looks out for us first. Thanks to all the shops that support Under The Palms. I will do all we can to support you as well. With all that being said, here’s my top 5 Vault by Vans collaborations of 2014.

My list is available after the jump

 

Vault x Bows & Arrows Acid Test Era 59 LX (Dec. 28th actually!)

This release was technically in 2013, but it released days before the new year, thus missing a lot of people’s lists. Bows & Arrows in Berkeley, CA had an awesome idea for their shoe collaboration, and that was to represent the hippy acid tripper’s who frequent the downtown Berkeley neighborhood. The Era 59 LX that they chose for their canvas, had a trippy squiggly black and white pattern, which made for an awesome visual experience. Their price point was awesome, and the numbers had to have been really limited, as many were left empty-handed. Guys who are really quick with the online drops too. That’s partially why I put this release in my top 5. They’re still sought after by many today.

 

Vault x Star Wars Collection

Vans teaming up with Star Wars was one of the coolest things to ever happen for Vans fans everywhere, so how do you top that, and do something special for those even more fanatical groups out there, like us? Well, first you release something under your premium label, and then you put a finite number of 300 pairs per each shoe in the collection, thus making it a true collector’s item. Now, say you wanted to make it even more collectible. Like, perhaps only release it in a handful of stores across the world? Oh wait, did I mention that this was a collaboration with Star Wars, which already has a die-hard collector community, with fans worldwide? We knew from the get-go that this one was going to be tough. You had to have made up your mind on which one(s) you wanted, and which shop you were going to follow for the drop info. It made for a fun weekend of online sneaker hunting, that’s for sure.

 

Vault x Blends Old Skool Zip LX “Bones” ; (honorable mention: Vault x Blends Sk8-Hi Zip LX “Chili Pepper & White Christmas”)

Blends shocked us with the follow up to their wildly successful and wildly limited (100 pairs) Sk8-Hi Reissue Zip LX “Bones”, by releasing a never-before seen Old Skool Zip LX in the same black/white colorway with the signature bone jazz stripe. This was the first time that Vans had incorporated an eye-row zipper, which was unique, and looked great. So great, that they are releasing an Old Skool Zip in the Vault GR line this year, and even in the Classics line, which means they are banking that this will be a successful design. I agree. I also had to mention the Sk8-Hi Reissue Zip LX “Chili Pepper” and “White Christmas” shoes which just barely released over the course of this past month. Blends just can’t lose when it comes to this Premium Leather + Bones + Zipper recipe. Every release has caused overnight camping, with the exception of the surprise White pair, but let’s be honest, that one would’ve caused more hysteria than the Chili Pepper pair!

 

Vault x Darkside Initiative “Armored Pack”

San Francisco’s very own The Darkside Initiative had one of the most polarizing releases of the year. Polarizing, mainly because it broke a few moulds in terms of materials, as well as price-point. Okay, let’s be honest. It was all about the price-point. People always get all up in arms when something reaches a new threshold in price, but let’s be honest. Has that ever stopped anyone from buying a pair of dope shoes? Not these days it doesn’t! To Darkside’s credit, the shoe is absolutely stunning. The material they sourced for the upper, is from SuperFabric, and it’s a proprietary material that is strong, lightweight, water-resistant, and on top of that, they sourced Outlast insulation material for the inner lining, so that’s two premium materials for one shoe! This is a shoe that should’ve came with an owner’s manual. Well, it came with all the things that you’d expect from a high-end shop collaboration, complete down to the drawer box. We hope to see more of that this year from Vault! Job well done guys. Job well done!

 

Vault x OTH “Black Crab”; honorable mention: Vault x OTH “Varsity Pack”

OTH has definitely left an impression on us this past year. 2 releases, and a third co-release alongside The Ringleaders Football Club, made for some pretty awesome Vans Vaults to release from our friends, just North of us in Montreal, Quebec. I wanted to give some special attention to the Black Crab pack they produced, with the help of chef Chuck Hughes. Designed for the folks who work in kitchens, these came equipped with a few unique features, such as a water-resistant rubberized material, non-slip waffle soles, cork footbeds, moisture-wicking linings, and even a mesh material on the Authentic, that resisted punctures from say, a knife that fell off a table! OTH proved that an all-black shoe can still look good, and hey, even Pete Williams of Highsnobiety chose these as one of his top 10’s this year! This collaboration had such an impact at Vans, that they announced that they will be creating a specific shoe for the food service industry. Talk about a lasting impression! I have to give an honorable mention to their Varsity Pack release as well, as this had to be the winner for “most preppy” shoe of the year. The wool and super premium tumbled leather combination on both the Sk8-Hi 46 LX and Authentic LX were phenomenal. The colors were spot-on perfect too. A true piece of art, and the design team deserves all the accolades they can get for this pack. Just truly exquisite.