style profile; VANS style #39 steve (full) caballero

steve caballero lives life to the full. he has led a epically fulfilled life & never gives the impression the glass is half empty. turning pro in 1980 after learning to skate only 4 years earlier he has remained a figurehead & icon of the skateboard community not only as an innovator but as a human being whose gene pool is full to the coping with an overflow of spirit & self-expression.

a vans devotee to the core, dating prior to becoming an og bones brigade member, steve first had a fondness for the style #36 old-skool, before progressing through the style #37 natives to his early favourite style #38 sk8-hi. as such, it made sense to continue the numerology when approached by vans to produce what would be the 1st signature skate shoe ever, & 1 that would help re-define skate footwear history; namely the style #39.

the caballero signature shoe, initially known as style #539, was first manufactured in 1989 & is now 22 years deep. just like his skating style the caballero all leather high top is multi-faceted. the silhouette reflects a rugged & powerful core while the details reveal a more refined essence of creativity & flow. the panels of smooth split leather suede are harmoniously layered by complex lines, not dissimilar to the lines that make up 1 of stevie's flowing pool or vert runs. born in the year of the dragon 1964, the archetypal image is featured on an embroided patch on the ankle just like it featured on many of his powell decks back in the day.

style #39 was originally produced in the 2-tone black/charcoal or burgandy/charcoal stock shoe with textured crocodile leather contrasting the black rubber scene or friction tape. the option for customade variants in the late 80's allowed for custom order single leather colours replacing the reptilian panels, & custom choice foxing stripe. style #39 is now exceedingly rare in original made in usa vulcanised form & remains an object of aesthetic admiration for skaters & connoisseurs alike.

the legacy of caballero goes much deeper than the tread of his waffle sole however & his footprint can be seen to have influenced the very innovation of action-sports self-expression. although versatile in all realms of skate including street, it was on vert whereby steve's ambition & invention, of the caballerial for example, left an enduring mark upon the back catlogue of tricks evolving from it since 1980. what was a fakie 360 ollie was cut short 3 years later to become a infamous half-caballerial or half-cab.... which mirrors the sole evolution of style #39 into its 'cutting edge' younger brother. which begs the question, is the whole truly greater than the sum of its parts??

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