Go Back

Jon Warren, The Creative Director of Vans Sneakers of All Time!

Jon Warren's legacy in sneaker design for Vans is truly iconic. His work has shaped the aesthetic and identity of the brand, influencing other designers in the industry. From timeless classics to innovative new styles, his contributions have been instrumental. Read more to learn about his creative processes and stories.

One of the most influential people in sneakers of all time has some great stories to tell about the legendary Vans sneakers. So head on in and check out Jon Warren’s Favorite Vans Sneakers of All Time

Early Days

Jon Warren’s career trajectory showcases a remarkable journey through the world of sneakers. His tenure at DVS Shoe Company Ltd. provided him with a solid foundation in footwear design, setting the stage for his future endeavours. Joining Vans in 2002 marked a significant step in his career, where he played a pivotal role in shaping the brand’s identity and driving innovation in its product lines.

Jon Warren's- Early Days
Image Source: Popularsupplyco.wordpress.com

Transitioning to Herschel Supply Company in 2014, Warren brought his wealth of experience and creative vision to the role of VP of Product Design. His leadership in this position likely contributed to Herschel’s continued success in producing high-quality, stylish accessories that resonate with consumers globally. Later transitioning into the role of VP of Creative, Warren likely expanded his influence beyond product design, further shaping Herschel’s brand image and storytelling.

Warren Transitioning to Herschel Supply Company as VP
Image Source: Cultedge.com

Throughout his career, Warren’s focus on understanding and capturing the essence of California culture, along with his dedication to serving the needs of skaters, surfers, and other subcultures, likely played a central role in his success. His ability to blend functionality with style, while staying true to the brand’s heritage, has undoubtedly earned him respect in the industry.

Punk and Design

Being the head of footwear design classics Jon Warren is an integral part of Vans‘ ongoing success. This makes him perhaps the perfect person to give a list of his favourite Vans, no? Jon Warren has worked together with Taka Hayashi to bring to life the Japanese American’s creative visions in the sneakers industry. Let’s find out his favourites. 

Zero Lo Luke Meier Tan

The sneaker designed by Jon Warren, commonly referred to as “Destroy Luxury”, is blended with elements of high-end luxury and the raw, rebellious energy of skateboarding culture. The name itself, suggests a deliberate juxtaposition between opulence and a more rugged, unconventional aesthetic. By infusing luxury elements with the gritty, DIY ethos of skateboarding, Jon likely crafted a shoe that captures the essence of counterculture while still offering a sense of refinement and sophistication.

Warren Favourite Sneakers- Zero Lo Luke Meier Tan
Image Source: Underthepalmleaves.com

Era Kenzo White

The collaboration between Vans and Humberto and Carol of Kenzo, provided a unique perspective and appreciation for Vans’ cultural significance. The debut line with Kenzo showcased a fusion of Kenzo’s distinctive aesthetic with the timeless appeal of Vans. It’s no surprise that the collections continue to raise the bar, as Humberto and Carol are known for their innovative approach to design and their ability to create pieces that resonate with a wide audience.

Era Kenzo White
Image Source: Pinterest.com

Old Skool (Black)

The DIY spirit and creative experimentation, that often define skateboarding culture, is a mix and match of different elements from various skate shoe brands to create a unique style. It was a common practice among skaters looking to express themselves both on and off the board. The image of white Beefy-T’s, khaki Dickies, and custom-coloured Vans with added tongues and fat laces paints a vivid picture of the skate fashion trends of the time. The secret about bleaching the shoes to turn them black adds an interesting twist, showcasing the resourcefulness of the iconic old skool sneakers finding ways of personalization.

Old Skool (Black)
Image Source: Tokiasia.com

Sk8-Hi Taka Hayashi Pendelton

Once Jon Warren stated that working alongside Taka Hayashi was an inspiring experience. His ability to push the boundaries of the brand while maintaining its essence is commendable. The debut of the collection was like a standout design that captured a unique vision and creativity. It’s always exciting to see the collaboration of designers like Jon Warren and Taka Hayashi, who breathe new life into classic styles and propel the brand forward with fresh perspectives.

Sk8-Hi Taka Hayashi Pendelton
Image Source: Tokopedia.com

Era Horween Leather

The combination of dark brown scotch grain leather with smooth brown leather accents gives the shoe a luxurious yet rugged look, perfectly balancing sophistication with durability. The addition of metal eyelets and leather laces adds to the premium feel and elevates the overall aesthetic of the Vans staple silhouette. Jon Warren’s attention to detail and his mastery of materials shine through in this design, making it a standout piece in the Vans collection.

Era Horween Leather
Image Source: Complex.com

Checkerboard Slip-On (Black/White)

It’s exceptional how a simple idea sparked by the creativity of high school students evolved into a symbol of California’s laid-back surfer culture. The decision to screen print the checkerboard pattern onto the Slip-Ons was a stroke of genius, perfectly capturing the youthful spirit and irreverent attitude of the time. The inclusion of the checkerboard Slip-Ons in the iconic film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” and the memorable scene with Jeff Spicoli (played by Sean Penn), further cemented Vans’ association with the So Cal surfer lifestyle. This cultural moment not only propelled the brand into the mainstream but also solidified its status as a symbol of rebellion and individuality.

Checkerboard Slip-On (Black/White)
Image Source: Vans.co.uk

Authentic STV Navy

The Authentic silhouette embodies a minimalist design featuring only three panels, five eyelets, and a straightforward lace-up closure. The STV navy colourway sounds like a timeless classic, offering a versatile option that pairs well with a wide range of outfits. The innovative addition of the Waffle Gum treads to the basic deck shoe not only provided a superior grip for skateboarders but also introduced a distinctive element that has since become synonymous with the Vans brand.

Authentic STV Navy
Image Source: Walmart.com

Vans Authentic Veggie Tan

Under the leadership of Jon Warren, Vans’ demonstrated a commitment to durability, sustainability, and style by including a high-quality veggie tan leather in its sneakers. Veggie tan leather is known for its natural, earthy tones and its ability to develop a rich patina over time, giving each pair of sneakers a unique character. The brown hue of these sneakers adds a classic touch to any outfit, while the veggie tan leather construction ensures longevity and resilience, making them capable of withstanding the rigours of daily life. Whether you’re navigating city streets or exploring the great outdoors, these brown sneakers are a reliable and stylish choice for any adventure.

van authentic veggie tan
Image Source: Footshop.eu

Vans Classic Slip-On Custom Culture

The Classic Slip-On, with its timeless laceless canvas design, remains a favourite canvas for customization. Featuring a padded collar, elastic accents, and Vans’ signature Waffle Outsole, it offers both comfort and style. Customers can also choose from a variety of leather and suede options, and exclusive patterns, and even upload their art or photos to create a truly one-of-a-kind pair of shoes. Whether you’re looking to make a bold statement with vibrant colours and patterns or prefer a more subtle, personalized touch, Vans Customs allows you to bring your vision to life. The tradition dates back to 1966 but the legacy was carried forward by Jon Warren.

Vans Classic Slip-On Custom Culture
Image Source: Vansvietnam.com.vn

Two-Tone Era (Blue/Red)

The classic checkerboard trainers from Vans receive a contemporary twist with this two-tone design. Featuring a striking red checkerboard pattern contrasted with solid blue toe and heel panels, these trainers offer a fresh and eye-catching aesthetic. The addition of laces, contrast stitching, and padded collars adds both style and functionality, ensuring a comfortable fit and all-day wearability. Whether you’re hitting the streets or stepping out in style, these two-tone checkerboard trainers offer a perfect blend of retro charm and contemporary flair, making them a standout addition to any wardrobe.

Two-Tone Era (Blue/Red)
Image Source: Ebay.com

Vans as Culture!

Vans celebrates individuality and embraces the world of “weirdos” and creatives, said Jon Warren when asked about his collaborations with the company for more than a decade. The brand’s deep roots in surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding provide a strong foundation that influences not only its products but also the mentality and ethos of those who work for Vans. Vans’ philosophy and culture transcend beyond sneakers; it’s a mentality that speaks to a broader audience and fosters a sense of belonging and connection. 

By continuously evolving and adapting to the ever-changing landscape of fashion and culture, Vans remains at the forefront of footwear design while staying true to its roots. Given the broad appeal of the Classics line across different demographics, it’s no surprise that it has become Vans’ largest collection. Want to add the heritage line to your collection, look no further, shop your favourites with Toki. An e-commerce platform providing secured and seamless transactions on all collectible items. Happy procuring!