Customizing Shoes and Inspiring Art through Vans Custom Culture


Vans® is easily one of the most recognizable brands of shoes out there today, and immediately images of musicians, skate boarders and BMX bike riders come into mind. Vans promote these action sports through progressive events such as the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing®, the Vans DowntownShowdown, the Vans Pool Party and the Vans Warped Tour®. But did you know that Vans has most recently started an art competition to help support the budget deficits in the art departments in school systems? Just another one of the many reasons why Vans is so cool!

Since 2010, the Vans Custom Culture art competition has been allowing students to get super-creative as well as raising awareness to the importance of art education. This remarkable project allows students to design their own Vans masterpiece and compete for $50,000 towards their high school art program. It’s really quite simple to get involved. Interested students need to have a teacher or an administrator register their school. Registered schools will then receive four pairs of blank Vans models of sneakers: 106, Sk8-Hi, Slip On and Authentic styles, to be customized in four themes: Art, Music, Action Sports and Local Flavor. There is also a template available online so students can sketch out ideas. Also, the shoes are not to be worn, so the possibilites of designs is virtually endless! Photo submissions are made on-line via the Vans Custom Culture website and global voting will help select the entries down to the “Final Five.” Those top finalists then get to travel to New York City for the Vans Custom Culture final event.

Held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the top five final high schools were brought in on June 11, 2013 to have their pieces of art footwear judged by an all-star celebrity panel. On the panel was legendary skateboard Steve Caballero, actress Emma Roberts, fashion designer and T.V. reality star Whitney Port, artist and musician Christain Jacobs, and creative director Timo Weiland.

Emma Roberts – Judge for the
2013 Vans Custom Culture Contest
Whitney Port – Judge for the
2013 Vans Custom Culture Contest

Here are the top five finalists’ entries were University High School, Middletown High School South, Friendswood High School, and Eastern High School.

This year’s winner: Lakeridge High School.

So not only is Vans stylish, but they are also making a strong effort to help support art departments and budget cuts in our high schools. If you are a student, teacher or know of someone who might be interested in submitting for next year’s contest, check out the Vans Custom Culture website: or find them on Facebook: Start thinking about your design and good luck!

Photo credits:  Bollare


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.