Do you prefer Old Skool or Knu Skool Vans? Seamlessly combining the past and present, the Vans Knu Skool is a timeless reissue straight from the 90s vault. And as for the Old Skool – does it even require an introduction? Pleasing skaters and casual wearers alike, the California-based brand have been a strong player in the sneaker game for over 5 decades. That’s a pretty big flex, and they deserve their flowers. Below, we’ll be comparing various colourways of the Vans Old Skool and Knu Skool. Which is better? The choice is yours.
Originally released in 1977 under the name ‘Vans #36’ (memorable, right?), the Vans Old Skool made its mark through doing things differently. The shoe entered the market as the first skate shoe to incorporate leather into the build, inevitably improving durability. This innovative decision paved the way for silhouettes going forward, as well as Vans’ emblem debut. Who would have known that the Sidestripe, created as a ‘random doodle’ by founder Paul Van Doren, would become a globally recognised tag adorned on every pair of Vans? The Old Skool started the legacy that laid the groundwork for a tonne of creative iterations, just like the Knu Skool.
Making its debut 20 years after its OG predecessor, the Vans Knu Skool was released in 1998. Taking visual cues from the Old Skool, the Knu swaps out a slim silhouette for an enlarged exterior. The model borrows its steeze from ‘90s skate shoes, equipped with an oversized lace system, puffed tongue, ankle collar and added heel pull. With both Knu Skool and Old Skool sharing a low-top frame and classic rubber outsole, these models reflect the like of siblings – not twins. Let’s take a look at the comparisons.
When it comes to Black/White colourway that started it all, both the Old and Knu Vans wear it well. However, there are a few notable differences. The Knu Skool proudly reps Off-The-Wall branding on the tongue, within an embroidered label. The Old Skool, on the other hand, takes a more refined approach sporting a plain black tongue. Additionally, Knu’s heel replaces distressed leather for soft cushioning, highlighting the crisp white insole.
The term ‘white sneaker’ is taken to new levels with the White/White Old Skool Vans. The canvas iteration is flooded with the snowy hue, from the eyelets to the insole. Even the classic Gum rubber outsole has been replaced with white, leaving us with an impeccably clean model that you definitely won’t be wearing to walk the dog. The Knu Skool pretty much follows suit, despite donning a full leather base rather than canvas. The newer Skool keeps things traditional with a classic Gum waffle outsole.
Black on black sneakers act as the cherry on top to a sleek ‘fit. Despite their differences, the all-black look appears to be something that both the Old and Knu Skool can agree on. Both iterations host the midnight hue on a canvas base, embellished with a leather Sidestrip. The conventional waffle element is kept intact across both pairs, bringing a pleasant contrast. The only noticeable dissimilarity occurs within the Knu Skool’s insole, where you’ll find a checkerboard heel. A vibrant strip of red separates the patterning from the heel collar, picking out red accents in the rear heel branding.
Aside from classic colourways, it’s nice to have a pop of colour in your rotation. This iteration of the Knu Skool boasts a two-toned blue body, constructed with a supple suede. The palette not only looks great, but also accentuates the ‘90s build, adorned with a sharp white friction, laces, Sidestrip and insole. As for the Old Skool, we have one word. Fire. The ‘77 iteration brings the heat with flame graphics on the lateral and medial sidewalls. Obviously, there’s no comparing these two, but the varied aesthetic can definitely be appreciated.
If this round-up has inspired you to cop, fear not, we got you.
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