The Friday Interview – Vans x Shadow Collab Shoe


Vans x Shadow Brasco (low) and Owens (high). Scroll down to see bigger photos.

Interview With Ron Bonner


Please explain how this collab shoe came to be...
Working with Vans is something that I have wanted to do since I was a kid. Vans used to have this deal at local shops that you could custom design your own shoes. At the shop they had this big ass book full of all the fabrics you could dream of and had hundreds of different printed sole sidewall designs that you could choose from for your custom shoes. This was the coolest thing ever and now to be able to do it for real blows my mind. As for how the project came about...Vans and Shadow share some amazing riders (Ty Morrow, Lahsaan Kobza, Trey Jones, and Alistair Whitton) and through this we have all have spoken about wanting to do a project and the time was just right--thanks guys, I am so stoked!

How was it working with such a big brand like Vans? Was there a lot of back and forth until everyone was satisfied with the design?
Man it was super easy! Sean Methven, Jerry Badders, and crew at Vans made this project not only smooth, but a pleasure. I got to pick the best fabrics and pull off all details that I wanted in this shoe. I wanted this shoe to be all about the details and for it to look subtle until you got up close and could touch the quality of the materials and see all the little details. Even elements like the box, hangtags, etc. are all top notch! I couldn't be more stoked with working with Vans and their amazing crew there!


Lashaan Kozba tries to catch up to his shadow with a 180 over the box to flat. Photo: Zielinski

How did this project differ from designing other soft goods?
Well, I am a shoe whore [laughs]. So this project was super fun for me! But to be honest, it doesn't differ from any design project that I have been involved in. If you are passionate about the project and you know what your objectives are the project can be pretty smooth and dialed. I had been dreaming about this design for a shoe for a long time so it was pretty clear what needed to be done.

How important do you think it is to have BMX specific shoes?
First and for most it is important to have a shoe made of top quality materials that can handle the abuse of BMX. The great thing about Vans is that they make one of the best sole patterns in the shoe business, the waffle sole, and the durability of the material last so long and grips like none other. The main thing about BMX specific shoes is that the shoe brands give back to BMX and support the scene of BMX and Vans really does that.

What is the translation of the writing on the shoe and what does it mean?
As many of you may know we use a lot of Latin in Shadow's names and designs, so this loosely translate to "silence or death."


TSC/Vans Hat and T-shirt

Interview With Sean Methven

Vans Action Sports Category Manager

How did this collab shoe come about?
I believe Ron Bonner approached Jerry Badders about doing a project together in the summer of '09 since we share quite a few team riders. I ended up meeting Ron at Interbike that year and discussing the possibility of doing a project together and what both companies we're looking to get out of the partnership. We had a some really similar ideas and I think both parties we're stoked on the possibility to work together. There has been quite a few shoe collabs done with BMX companies in the past, but we wanted to bring a more sophisticated look and feel to the project like what's going on in the street culture/sneaker world. This approach hasn't been taken before and both companies felt pretty good about offering a product like this to the BMX community.

Who had input on the design?
Both Ron and our design team had input into the project and in the end everyone came to the table with some great input and ideas. We're both pretty excited to see how a project like this is perceived and accepted in the BMX community.


Trey Jones, no-hander over the guardrail. Photo: Zielinski

How important do you think it is to have BMX specific shoes?
I'm not sure that marketing a BMX specific shoe makes it sell any better to BMX riders or not, but there are some key features that need to be addressed to make a shoe more functional for riding. Any consumer, whatever sport they're involved with just wants a comfortable, durable, and good looking shoe. Most street riders seem to like slimmer profiled shoes with vulcanized outsoles for better pedal feel, which is similar to most street skaters today. The majority of the park and dirt riders seem to like a slightly more constructed shoe with a bit more padding around the ankle and heel along with a cupsole bottom unit with a bit more heel cushioning. Pedal feel isn't as important to the majority of these riders as foot protection is.


Ty Morrow, ledge manual-to-ice-to-hop over. Photo: Zielinski

Was there a goal as far as the direction of the design is concerned?
Both Vans and Shadow wanted to offer a shoe for everyone that could thread the line between function and fashion. What resulted from this was a shoe collection for the modern BMX rider that functions on the bike, yet looks good while you're off the bike as well. Overall, BMX consumers make a up a good chunk of what's called the "skate shoe" market, it's just hard to track because many of these consumers are shopping in skate shops for their shoe needs. I think all footwear companies need to keep this in mind when designing shoes as I think most companies get caught up in only thinking skaters use footwear as a piece of functional equipment for their sport. BMXers also utilize shoes as a piece of functional equipment, just like they do a frame or wheels and just like their bike, they want their shoes to reflect their own point of style and creativity.

When and where will the shoe be available?
You'll be able to find them in our Vans retail stores along with any finer BMX retailer out there starting February 1st, 2011.


One-footed Euro table over the hip, Alistair Whitton at the helm. Photo: Zielinski


Trey, 180. Photo: Zielinski


Alistair Whitton, nothing. Photo: Zielinski


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