style #45 turns 45; a history

vintage van's style #45
ecru canvas, blue siped sole
made in usa circa 1966

the life of this van's style #45 deck shoe prior to 2009 i can only imagine. i will henceforth however pay them due respect & fulfill what i feel is an obligation & update fellow admirer nicholas maggio with their life thereafter.

i 1st saw these on ebay back in early '09 & was equally taken aback by their minimalist charm & refined sensibility. it was a time i had convinced myself I could wear US9.5 vans, before realising in fact vans were best worn snug to best facilitate the vulcanised effect. as such, i watched reluctantly as they soared out of my price range & out of my grasp, into the realm of the 'one that got away'. perhaps by fate the ghosts of van doren's past conspired to facilitate an apparent high bidder fail which saw them re-listed.... & i snagged them for a cool $60. i was stoked! upon their arrival however i came to the understanding the size was not ideal & to do them full justice i did not want to thrash them just for the hell of it. & so they sat covered in plastic, in good company you should know, however not getting the full appreciation they deserved. that was until the footwear gods again conspired to crystallise my now full-time devotion to original vans in the shape of our London carnaby street archive display. once again they were an object of appreciation, albiet in a museum of sorts & sadly not being worn like they should be worn.

it was only much later while scouring the web I recognised my style #45's from nicholas' post. i thought is it the same pair? but of course like he said, these authentics cannot be reproduced! my education since then of the malevolent detail & rich history of vans originals tells me these are in fact a very early example of vans style #45 boat shoe perhaps even a sample or jim van doren side-project? they feature the siped bright blue sole & vinyl heel pads of the classic #45 however the former with an iregular zig-zag siping & the latter 'van quality' naugehyde heel. they also lack the familiar vamp tag below which the toe guard also features a straight edge articulation with the foxing side wall as opposed to the regular contoured edge. to me however it is the subtle idiosyncrasies such as the soft textured laces, the faded ecru canvas, the Van outer heel tab & the kidney shaped 'pool' on the siped blue sole which justify their label as true 'van quality'. & so their life continues on, this time instore & back on the rack after a 45 year abscence, again available for someone lucky to wear the hell out of 'em

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