Mike Kim was 12 when he wore his first pair of Vans. Well, pairs actually. He had them all – ups, downs, slip-ons. And the outfits he wore them in were about as old as it gets: a graphic tee and a pair of jeans or cargo shorts, pop-punk music playing in the background.
“When I was a kid, I loved skateboarding and basketball and wore basketball or skating shoes,” says Mike, chief digital design officer for Esquire. “The vans came into play naturally. I found them cool, and my parents didn’t hesitate to buy them for me, so I wore them constantly.
They were functional, of course, but they look at costs. The kind of sneakers you wanted to be seen wearing. He’s matured since, of course, and so has his style. But that’s the beauty of Vans: they’re made for a lifelong partnership. You do not exceed them; they grow with you. Mike is the perfect example.
“I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and was drawn to skate and punk rock culture early on,” says Mike. “I grew up wearing Vans all the time to skate. But even when I grew up and started having money to buy more expensive shoes, Vans always stuck in my collection because they are so versatile and easy to wear.
Mike’s style is cool, clean, and expertly crafted: simple silhouettes, monochrome outfits, and raised pieces of all kinds. (For the record, no more graphic tees or oversized cargo shorts.) Vault by Vans is the uppermost collection based on the brand’s own classics, and is perfect for that more stylish look. Vault takes the most iconic shoes from the brand’s archives and commemorates them to feel special, stylish and just plain cool. This line of premium builds is only available in select stores (think sneaker havens like Dover Street Market and KITH), which also makes it one of the brand’s most coveted collections.
As a Vans connoisseur, Mike introduces us to his three Vault styles below: OG Authentic LX, OG SK8-HI LX and OG Classic Slip-On LX. Together, they are at the heart of his daily sneaker rotation. Here’s when and how he wears them, and some ideas he learned along the way.
OG SK8-Hi LX
Mike considers the OG SK8-Hi LX to be the ultimate cultural crossover. “These are the shoes that have developed the most after skateboarding,” he says. “Back then, they were the perfect skate shoe to get, were super durable, skated well and always felt special. Now you can see them on anyone whether they are skating or not.
Although Mike wears his OG SK8-Hi LX all year round, he particularly relies on them in the winter as an alternative to boots – they are super sturdy. “I grew up wearing them and now I wear them all the time in their premium Vault version,” he says. “These are the kind of shoes that look even cooler when worn. “
Mike will be wearing them to the office, which means he’ll make sure the rest of the outfit feels right. His method: Start with a simple one-color base and add a cool button or jacket as a top layer.
“The key to making high shoes work is to always wear them with pants, not shorts,” he says. “The style looks cooler that way, that’s for sure. But because I’m on the shorter side, wearing them with pants makes my legs look longer. Keeping a continuous line from leg to leg. the sole is a style trick that works for everyone.
OG Classic Slip-On LX
The OG Classic Slip-On LX are easy to put on and take off, making getting dressed as easy as possible. It’s also hard to go aesthetically wrong here: they have that laid-back California vibe while still feeling classy. Pair them in off-white (or neutral of your choice) with comfy basics for the kind of outfits as nice as they look.
Esquire editors are recognized fans of the white sneaker for any occasion, and Slip-Ons work in any situation: in the office, on the go, and even with a suit. Plus, you don’t have to be too precious to wear them.
“All Vans look cool when they’re loved,” says Mike. “They were made to be worn, not to sit in your closet. There is something really special about having a shoe like this. As a sneakerhead, you’re constantly thinking about what’s under your feet. Sometimes it’s nice to have shoes that you can show love by wearing them.
OG Authentic LX
OG Authentics LX is the perfect everyday shoe, with a hyper-low profile and expertly crafted design. Mike wears them for all casual activities, whether it’s dining with friends or running to the bodega.
These are the kind of shoes that you can slip into and make your look instantly come together, not just because they’re comfortable (they are), but also because they’re guaranteed to go with it. pretty much whatever you wear. . And the cool things that go together effortlessly are kind of Mike’s business.
“With my background as a designer, I think a lot about color,” he says. I like to stay in a family of color. Maybe add a touch of a brighter color or two if I feel it. I tend to lean towards clean, monochrome outfits.
Find your safe through Vans dealers
Artistic direction and styling by Hannah Miller; Photography by Alexa Viscius; All the clothes and accessories of the talent.