WTAPS x Vans Syndicate Authentic 'S' Reissue

The 003 releases of the WTAPS x Vans Syndicate collab were not highly coveted when they released all those years ago. In the last 5 or so years, their popularity has skyrocketed with some deadstock models fetching upwards of $500. From that pack, one colorway remained pretty elusive. It was even a joke amongst collectors to not tell the uninitiated the true colorway name. It's not not uncommon to see the black and white colorways of the "Wings' Authentics to pop up for sale, but the gold pair almost never comes around. We think that is why Vans chose to reissue this colorway of the 003 Wings and not the white or black.

The updated version of the WTAPS x Vans Syndicate Authentic 'S' Reissue will arrive with an extended OG style foxing, premium suede on the toe and heelcaps, and the UltraCush HD footbeds. No news on the box, but we expect to see the same white 10th anniversary drawer-box we have seen with the other reissues.

The WTAPS x Vans Syndicate Authentic 'S' Reissue will arrive at Syndicate retailers globally on Saturday, November 14th. Check your local core skate shop for stocking info. 


Max Schaaf x Vans Syndicate Mountain Edition 4Q 'S'

Vans Syndicate continues the roll out of their reissues with the very popular Mountain Edition 4Q 'S' that Max Schaaf designed from the ground up. Originally released in red/white and black/white, the Mountain Edition 4Q is updated this time with an entirely black upper and midsole. Vans interviewed Max and he opened up about how much he actually put into the shoe's design and what each detail meant. Check it out below:

Interviewed by Patrick O’Dell

Sorry I missed your call, I was just on my motorcycle.

Where were you riding to? 
I had to go into the city to grab some motorcycle hardware, and I heard a John Prine song today and I had to have it, so stopped by this little record shop in Oakland on the way home. Its hard to find his records on vinyl, the guy told me ‘i don’t have the record here, but I have two at home and I’ll hook you up with it if you come in tomorrow’

You didn’t try to find it online?
No, I’m just trying to avoid that shit right now. I’m trying to do a little bit more ‘made in America’ even though its impossible, and a little less E-Bay or Amazon. The extra 10 bucks you spend just seems so worth it.

Well, I’m calling to ask about the new edition of your Vans Syndicate shoe, but let me first ask you if you remember your first skate shoes ever? How you first got skate shoes as opposed to random other shoes?
Yeah, its weird, cause I don’t ever remember a time without Vans… as perfect as that is for me to say to you right now… I’ve seen photos of myself in the navy-blue boat shoes (Authentics) before I skated. We wore hand-me-downs, and shoes were a pretty big deal, and that being said, I really cared what shoes I had. Early on when I started skating, I saw a dude skating in Hawaiian print Vans slip-ons, and I had to have ‘em. My dad found where they sold them, it was a few towns away. At the time I wore a 5.5 and all they had was 7.5.

I convinced him that they fit, I remember showing up at a kid party and instantly everyone noticed that my shoes were too big for my feet. But… they were the really sick Hawaiian print Vans from way back, that must have been 1983.

Since the beginning it was Vans, then the red checkerboard high-tops. I did the custom order that they used to have in the back of magazines. It said 8-12 weeks, and it took months and months and months… waiting for the UPS dude to come. I did a pretty wild pair, checkerboard on the outside, Hawaiian on the inside, red tongue on one, blue tongue on the other, they were nuts but they were so cool.

All the stuff you are mentioning is all stuff that Vans has brought back, that skaters wear now… the Hawaiian print and custom orders. But for a long time those shoes were hard to get. Did you ever have the lace-savers?
That’s embarrassing dude, not only the lace-saver that came with the shoes but i’d lace in an extra one to the front of the checkerboard Vans.

Its funny we are talking about it, because I just went to NY for that bike show there, and was having a full shoe crisis, cause I wanted to skate a bit, but I wanted my shoes to look right. And none of the shoes I had were right so went to the local college kid store and bought some navy Vans boat shoes (Authentics)… the navy blue and white ones, cause those always look so good. I shoe-goo’d the ollie area, cause I knew I was going to skate in Brooklyn…. and still I look down and remember the smell of the first box.

Any other weird shoe trends?
Cutting down full-cabs to half-cabs was pretty big in my day. Rick Howard was the first one I saw do that, and I was like ‘that dude is a fucking genius, that looks sick.’ I always thought the Half-cab could have been Rick Howard’s pro-shoe as well. 

You ended up skating for Vans?
I did, off and on. Being a vert skater, you are already back against the wall, we travel with knee pads, and if you have some lame ass shoe on, its even worse, pointing out the herpes sore. In that first Real video I even said “I’m working on being marketable,” cause they had told me “we want you to ride for Real, and we want you to go far, but the reason James Kelch’s board sells is cause he looks cool and he’s a figure at EMB, and on top of everything he’s marketable” And I remember leaving the office and thinking ‘that fucking sucked, that conversation was fucked up,’ and basically they were saying, ‘don’t be a vert goon.’

Were there things you needed different for your shoes as a vert skater than a street skater?
You know what, I didn’t think so, I remember thinking whatever shoes my peers were wearing, like Mike Carroll’s Chukka Boots look sick. I think its all the same, I still skate in Era’s or Classics. I still wear low tops on vert. But because I was around Jake Phelps, who was wearing bigger shoes, I thought you needed hi-tops on vert, but then I realized, it didn’t matter, you were going to get fucked up either way. And I just want to feel my board most of all. I have been skating in Vans Era’s, I had 40 pairs that Vans sent me… but I ran out the other day and was skating some poka-dot Dollins. They were a pro series with a removable insole, which I hadn’t had in awhile, and I skated in them and it was one of the best sessions of my life. I’m sure it didn’t have just to do with the shoes, but I could still feel the board. So, I might be skating those for awhile.

What about the shoe for Syndicate? Did you have a lot of things you wanted to incorporate?
Yeah, without a doubt. I was working with that dude Jon, who is a designer. I don’t know if he’s still there, he writes for Hypebeast as well. And he came to the house with a sketchbook, and we sat there and sketched this shoe out… I’m sure you don’t know this, but I’ve been skating everyday lately, and I’ve been filming… but 10 years ago, I was so wrapped up in the motorcycle thing, and it was at the beginning of it becoming fashionable, and I remember asking “is this for skating or bike stuff?” and they said “it doesn’t have to be skating, if you want to make it functional for your motorcycle then do that.” So that is where I went with that. At the time I hadn’t seen the Mountain design in forever, and I said ‘that Mountain shoe is rad for your bike, cause right where your shifter goes, there’s that little lace saver.’ And I wanted the inside tire, its like an asymmetrical shoe, the inside is a higher high-top then the outside, I was like ‘the motor gets hot and it will protect your ankles.’ We tried to get that silver flame proof material, but it was too expensive. It has that little brass bolt on it, cause all my 4Q bikes have that brass hardware. There was a shit load of input actually on the high top of that shoe. 

And this year we are doing an all black version, which is something I wanted originally, but it didn’t make sense at the time because it didn’t work with the red and white ones as a set. Its kind of cool that its going to be all black, because I still have an all black sample at the time Jon was like “this all black one is so rad, but then it would mean the red one would have to be all red and that would be too loud.” I wanted the red and white one because of Oakland and the H.A. and I thought it would be cool.

And you changed the logo from the mountain to the bridge?
Well, a lot of people think its the bridge, but its actually the crane, one of those Oakland ship yard cranes.

And the insole is a gas tank?
That’s right, it has fish scale on the inside? I was way into painting those at the time.

And the box looked like a box for motorcycle parts?
Yeah, I actually gave them a box for an old Harley part that had mildew on it. It actually had a spark plug in it from the 60’s… and I remember getting the sample with the box and just thought it was out of sight, I remember being so stoked on just the box. Some people even thought there was really mildew on the box. I have twenty here and when they are stacked it looks sick. Part of the deal was when we did the shoe, I got quite a bit of them to give to my friends and skate them over time, and they look pretty neat stacked up. 

Its cool you got to have that much input in the shoe. Sometimes its just a color-way and thats it.
Well, as I was saying, I’m kind of a vert skater, and not marketable, so when they came to me it was shocking that I spent so many nights thinking about it, and when they finally came to me, I had all these ideas. And I think that surprised them. I was getting some recognition in Japanese bike magazines, and I think they just were like “let’s pour everything into this one and let this geek go off with it.” It had a killer box, and cool bag, and motorcycle grips. It was high-top, low-top and two colors. And at the time they told me it sold better than any other Syndicate shoe, and I think so much of it had to do with that they put the extra buck into it. They did say they weren’t going to make a dollar on it, but it was a cool project. I was really shocked how much they agreed to do. 

The Max Schaaf x Vans Syndicate Mountain Edition 4Q 'S' releases worldwide on October 17th at Vans Syndicate accounts. We don't have any details on whether or not any extras will be included with these like the original release, but if we get word, we will let you know.


Andy Kessler x Vans Syndicate Sk8 Hi Reissue NYC 'S'

Vans has finally given us details about the Andy Kessler Syndicate reissue of his iconic Sk8 Hi. Changes to this model include updated materials and a higher foxing. We get a really nice mix of premium leather and nubuck on the upper and the all blacked out Off the Wall tongue tag is a great detail. 

This sneaker is really more than just a sneaker. It's an homage to Kessler. And I would really like that to be the focus of this article. Tony Farmer did a beautiful write up for Vans about Andy Kessler's legacy. I know a lot of you are too young to remember who he was or witness the impact he had on skate culture, so if you have the time, I urge you to read Tony's words. 


Nothing beats an untimely death in securing one Legend status. Suddenly you’re larger than you ever were in real life, everyone is your tight bro from way back when, and no one speaks a negative word. Was Kess truly a legend? The godfather of skateboarding in New York City? Maybe, maybe not. Reality most likely lies somewhere in the margins. Doesn’t really matter. What matters is what he did and how he did it. These are the things I can speak to. 

Kessler paid his dues. He cheated death on more than a few occasions. Coming out the other end, he made it a mission to give back. Or, when necessary, to take back. He guided many a soul through the trials of recovery from substance abuse. He raised hell at board meetings and got skate parks built in a city devoid of them. He mentored kids, and busted people’s balls. He was beloved, and despised. He knew EVERYONE. He was my friend, and miss him every damn day.

I don’t pretend to know his whole story. I’d like to think that no one does. He ran in a lot of different circles, overlapping and intersecting and binding otherwise dissimilar people together in the process. He was a skater, foremost. What else? A junkie, miscreant, hell raiser, pool shark, Zappa fan, shit talker, sponsor, goon in Guatemalan pants, surfer, brother, adopted son, angry Greek bastard, perv, sticker collector, Thrasher cover star and kite flying enthusiast.

I don’t know all his stories. But I’ve got a personal cache that I cherish, moments that come and go in my head as I wander the streets of this great city.

If there be an underlying theme to Kess’ tale, it would be one of perseverance. The myriad stories that I am privy to, from the minor ones I experienced firsthand to the ever-growing legends spun by word of mouth, are all sewn together by the common threads of survival and dedication. From minor political victories to life changing influences, his stories run the gamut. 

Kess spent countless hours in board meetings fighting to get skate parks built in New York City. I’ve been to a couple of these, and they are brutal. Both mind numbingly boring and exasperatingly frustrating given the layer upon layer of red tape and bureaucratic bullshit. I can’t stomach them, but Kess would never let up. He bashed his thick skull against the wall of the Parks Department for years on end, and he got shit done. They might not be the best parks in the country, but they were progress, and the momentum he helped to create has delivered us unto spots like Chelsea Piers. It’s a damn shame he never got to ride a proper skate park in his City after all the years he spent suffering without.

The fact that he was skating at all is amazing. It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of 50 year old men still skating on a high level seemed absurd. Of course, it’s become quite common: see Tony Alva, Steve Alba, Lance Mountain, etc. Still, when your over forty and suffer a severe leg injury like a broken hip, it’s understandable if one decides he’s had enough and hangs it up. Sure, maybe he still jumps on a cruiser board to run down to the store, but only a true blue skater is coming back from that and pushing himself in the bowl as if it never happened within a year’s time. I am not going to lie, those first few sessions with Kess afterwards were worrisome. But he was as hell bent as ever, calling the crew, rallying the sesh, and I’m claiming dude cracked the best frontside air of his life post-op at Autumn. Ask Olson, he’ll tell you the same. I’ll steal a line from their pal Jocko Weyland: when was Kess gonna grow up and quit skating? The Answer was Never.

As skaters, we are often blind to the fact that the real world exists around us. We see everything through the lens of a skater, sometimes oblivious to other concerns. While Kess’ contributions to the skate scene in New York cannot be understated, it must be heralded that he managed to do a lot more important and impressive work elsewhere in the community. Andy was a recovering addict. I never knew the Kess of old; the junkie thief fuck-up. This town is littered with stories of those that kept on spinning right down the drain. Andy had every opportunity to keep using and wind up in the joint or, more likely, wake up in the gutter dead. But he didn’t. He got himself sorted out and sobered up. He was ever “clean,” he always bristled at that term. He was still a dirty old bastard, but he was sober the entire time I knew him. As impressive as that is (especially given the 24 hours of opportunity to blow it that this town presents), the real story is what he did for others. A big part of the Program is sponsorship; those who are sober lending a helping hand to others who are new to recovery, as well as those who have fallen off and are coming back. Andy always had someone he was looking out for, getting them to meetings and being a friend. I don’t pretend to know how many he helped, how many stayed true or how many he lost. But I do know that he literally died trying, with a dear friend and repeat junkie sleeping in his bed as he passed away.

Let’s not end it there. Like I said, his legacy is one of keep on keeping on, of not giving in, nor giving up. I’ll share one of my personal favorites about my guy. Kess died on the east end of Long Island, in Montauk. He’d been focusing on learning how to surf during the last few years of his life. Surfing is not easy, trust me. Skaters often make the mistake of thinking that the skills translate, that they’ll be ripping in no time at all. That’s what I thought. I was wrong. Like most anything worthwhile, it takes thousands of hours of practice to master. It is also something best learned at a young age (as I did). I give a lot of respect to people who pick it up as adults and manage a degree of competence. Kess was driven to feel as free and comfortable in the water as he did on his skate. He picked my brain about surfing’s nuances, all the little pieces that put you in the right place at the right time, like being tucked in the barrel with your buddy paddling over shoulder throwing you a shaka. (That sounds utterly ridiculous, but it’s true.) Anyway, the weekend before Kess passed there were waves. The two of us hiked down the beach to escape the crowds. The moment he started paddling out I knew he was fucked, that the current was going suck him into the rocks and he was gonna get drilled. I adjusted my entry point, and made the line up fairly easily. Meanwhile, Kess was getting his head beat in as set after set rolled over him. Each short lull he’d make some progress, only to be denied by another set wave. I couldn’t help but laugh as he screamed with frustration. After a long beat down I could see him back on the beach. The poor bastard had given up, and now had to sit and watch. But next thing I knew Andy Kessler came paddling up to me with a big “FUCK YOU, FARMER!” He told me there was no way that he was gonna sit there a watch me surf my brains out without him. I was so happy for him, proud even. He had every reason to give up; the waves were borderline beyond his ability, he had the wrong board and he was old and tired. But he made it out and scored some great waves. He might still be a barney in many eyes, but as far as I was concerned, he was a surfer at last.

I fancy myself a New Yorker nowadays, and part of that claim comes by way of Andy Kessler. He was the first true New Yorker to embrace me, take me under his wing and show me the City in different lights. From swerving down the avenues through rush hour traffic, to quiet bites at Sidewalk talking story, the New York that I know and love was shaped through Kess’ eyes. Thanks for the aloha, pal. I hope I see you on the other side.

The Andy Kessler x Vans Syndicate Sk8 Hi Reissue NYC 'S' is scheduled to release at Vans Syndicate retailers this month and may already be on the shelves at your local dealer.

Shred in peace, Andy. 

Shred in peace, Andy. 


Vans Syndicate 029 Retro List Announced - Andy Kessler, Luke Meier, Max Schaaf, WTAPS

Today, Vans Syndicate laid to rest many months of rumors about which pairs will be released and in what colorways. This season's These Days Zine includes a list of models which will be released over the rest of the year. We will see a host of great models in new colorways with familiar names. Here is a rundown of the models and details:

029.174 / Andy Kessler Sk8 Hi Reissue NYC 'S' in black premium leather. August arrival.

029.173 / Luke Meier Seylynn 'S' in white premium leather. September arrival. These were originally called Zero Lo's.

029.172 / Max Schaaf Mountain Edition 4Q 'S' in black premium leather and textile. October arrival.

029.171 / WTAPS Authentic 'S' in yellow premium suede and printed canvas. November arrival. This is confirmation of a rumor that has been circulating all year regarding the release of the yellow WTAPS 'Wings' that were originally samples and never got a wider release. For many, these are a true grail. 

This further fuels the flames of speculation that this is the final year of Syndicate, especially with the boxes for these releases being printed with 2005-2015. The photos we've included are of the original pairs and we are unsure what changes will be made to the final models. As more information and photos become available, we will report it.


Vans Syndicate Mr Cartoon Authentic S 029 Retro

There has been much speculation over the last few months about Syndicate reissuing its most iconic models for 2016. Some people are reporting that this is the final year for the 'S' label and that they intend to go out on a high note. At least part of that gossip was confirmed today when Vans posted the newest Syndicate release online, a reissue of the first 'S' pair in a new colorway.

The original Mr. Cartoon Authentic 'S' was released back in 2005 in blue, white, and black denim with Mr. Cartoon's iconic clown art emblazoned on the white canvas sides. This years reissue will feature the same artwork and materials but will be washed in all black. Forgoing the triple colorway, this year it will only be available in black. Arriving in a custom designed, 10 year anniversary white drawer box, the shoes will also arrive with a Syndicate dust bag, sticker sheet, and flat grey extra laces.

The Vans Syndicate Mr Cartoon Authentic S 029 Retro will arrive at Select Syndicate accounts start July 18th. 


Streetmachine for Vans Syndicate | 'The Copenhagen Session' AV Classic and Authentic

Streetmachine has nurtured skate culture for nearly three decades. This influence has spanned the globe, taking them from benches and rails of Champs-Élysées in Paris, to the pools and bowls of San Diego, and finally to the stairs and waxed curbs in the heart of metropolitan Copenhagen. Having teamed up previously with Vans, STM now takes aim at the core skate line with Syndicate silhouettes of the AV Classic and Authentic.

The collection is intended to inspire the feelings of skating during the spring: riding your bike with a pack of friends from spot to spot while the suns up and then meeting up once the sun sets for drinks and relaxation. The that end, the AV Classic is constructed of a durable perforated suede upper sitting atop a stripeless off-white foxed midsole. Ortholite sock liners, Provulc construction, and Duracap underlays ensure that this shoe is meant to last through all the punishment of a season of shredding..

To keep with the relaxed mood of the 'after session,' the Authentic takes a wholly unconventional approach with its design. Boasting a woven mesh styled upper, it promises to air out your battered feet in the cool spring night air. The model rests on the same Provulc off-white midsole as the AV Classic, however the Authentic gets extra finishing with the ubiquitous Vans black check motif.

Both pairs feature custom split-branded woven tongue labels, tumbled leather heel accents,, and red Syndicate heel tabs.

The "Copenhagen Session' AV Classic and Authentic 'S' will be available this Saturday, May 2nd, exclusively from Streetmachine. Those not lucky enough to be in Copenhagen for the release will have their chance to purchase online that same day.


CNCPTS x Vans Syndicate Sk8 Hi 'S'


Concepts joins Vans in launching the Van Sk8-Hi Syndicate. Set atop a classic white vulcanized rubber midsole, the design features premium materials and attention to detail. Highlighted by croc-embossed leather sidepaneling, the Sk8-Hi makes use of a premium leather lining in addition to pebbled leather eyestays. Special Concepts x Syndicate branding can be found both on the padded insoles and on the woven tongue label. 100% cotton laces allow for the additional or removal of a zippered shroud, adding a unique twist on the Sk8-Hi silhouette.

Packaged in a custom black on black Concepts box, the shoes will be available in-store at Concepts Cambridge only on Saturday March 28th, followed by a limited online release at 12pm eastern only at Follow @cncpts on Twitter for the product link on date of launch.


Harmony Korine for Vans Syndicate Collection, New Photos and US Release Info

A few days ago, we brought you news of the upcoming Syndicate release with filmmaker Harmony Korine. Today, thanks to Silo Shop, we get more detailed shots as well as a US Release date.

The Authentic 'S' will arrive with suede toe box, grayish blue checked printed canvas counter, and extra navy laces. The Slip-On 'S' boasts the same suede toebox but will sport a reddish pink printed canvas check pattern. Both shoes will feature clear waffle outsole highlighting Harmony's UNTITLED artwork, fully leather lined Ultracush HD sockliners, and a drawer-style box decorated with artwork inside and out.

The Harmony Korine for Vans Syndicate Collection will arrive Saturday, March 21st, online and in-store from Omaha's Silo Store. Look for these now at your local Syndicate account.