although the year of the dragon does not officially end til january next year, 2013 brings to an end the 20th anniversary of the vans style #33 half cab (although the dates of production of both the full & half may be in question & based on thrasher covers etc could in fact be 1988 & 1991?).
a discussion of the half cab is never conclusive without a mention of his older brother style #39 full cab who despite being the original 'caballero shoe' has henceforth become known only in reference to his 'cutting-edge' younger sibling.
it has been a cab full year with the 20th anniversary og colourway re-release plus the artist series plus our managing to meet stevie himself! no half measures!
the berrics videos earlier this year not only planted a seed but cultivated a entire plantation within our consciousness & just like kramer once he masters the da vinci sleep system, im percolating! i've never felt so fertile.
with all the saturated talk about the half cab this year, nostalgic love has for the full cab has flooded in in the way of crys for its re-release which is no doubt round the corner. i never knew that the full cab was initially designed based on the jordan 1 although it seems kind of obvious now (image via crooked tongues). of course cab & the majority of bones bridage in that era were skating jordans despite being under contract with other shoe manufacturers. in fact in the timeless hand plant shot from animal chin it's only tony hawk who wears true to his sponsor at the time. what was also interesting is the admittance by SVD that the half cab came about not so much in answer to what the kids wanted but rather a heated refusal by PVD to allow kids to deface his shoes in such a way, 'forcing' the designers to deliver. ha!
are you ready to jam? what we're talking about here is evolution! dates aside, we are talking about a time that defines a generation that no mix of leather & rubber can capture. a cultural shift mirrored by the reductionism from high top to mid cut.
whereas hitherto styles had only been ascending the vert, with the style #39 continuing the numeric sequence from old-skool #36, to mid-skool #37 to sk8-hi #38 to then suddenly fall to the no-man's-land of the style #33 half cab..... which eventually became the land of plenty! as nate iott aluded in the video maybe 10 out of the 12 thrashers in 93 featured the half cab on the cover. instead of black cab luxury it was streetwise appeal of the mini cab. instead of blow outs, the cab blew up!
ive said it before & i will always wonder if the half cab would have had such an impact if the original run was manufactured post departure of production offshore just a couple years later. the full cab had roughly 3-4 years of US production while the half had only 2-3 years. this does not seem long however in skater terms the turnover in that period is not to be underestimated. 2 years was enough for the half cab to solidify itself already as 1 of the greatest skate shoes of all time because it is this model wherein the greatest gulf between US & chinese production lies.
as an anonymous owner of one of the few half cabs we have managed to source put it...... "as much as we all know and fetishize the all-around superiority re: any union-made pair of Vans,with no model is the difference greater. The lines, the silhouette, the proportions -- shit, everything is better, not just the vulc and materials. It ain't even the same shoe anymore...... I think it just has to do with the fact that the time window was only two years, and that they weren't really "lifestyle" shoes -- they were all skated and tossed.
& this folks explains the scarcity of both original full & half cabs. the majority of fulls were reduced to halfs & thrashed beyond recognition like their fellow post-op brothers. whether current half cabs are as functional as the originals is arguable however with modern advancemements on the cab lite etc it remains a staple over 20 years later. like cab says about the concave original, you will never see that again. what we do see however is a shoe with a long shelf life which has surely done justice to the stature of the athlete & the human being.