Vans “Rowley Pro”


Last month Van released the Rowley Pro to skate shops and other finer retailers. While the Rowley may seem like just another skate shoe, it also signified something that resembles a move from brands like Jordan or Nike: its a retro. Well, basically.

In a video interview to introduce the shoe Vans pro Geoff Rowley talks about the shoe, including what went right when it first came out, and what went wrong towards the end of the shoes first run. Released in 1999, the Rowley Pro was one if the pioneers of the vulcanized skate shoe. In skateboarding shoes* there are two predominant construction processes: vulcanization and cup soles. In a cup sole, such as the Nike Dunk, the sole is stitched onto the shoe, usually accompanied by some sort of heel cushioning or other types of technology that might add more protection to the sole of your foot. In the vulcanization process the sole and upper are fused together, resulting in better board feel for the skater, but sacrificing some of the protection aspects. The Rowley Pro was the first of its kind; basically it was a vulcanized shoe before vulcs were cool.

In the video Geoff talks about how the shoe started out great: great fit, perfect material, and just an overall great shoe. This did not last; after the shoe began being produced in other factories (I suspect for distribution purposes) the shoe began to change. The tongue began to get wider. The back of the heel began to get higher. The fit began to feel different. After a few seasons of these types of changes Rowley could no longer skate in the shoes, and Vans pulled them from the market.

The new version of the Rowley Pro is supposed to be almost exactly the same as the shoe’s first few seasons with some minor improvements including a more comfortable sock liner and new insoles. The shoe also marks another vulcanized shoe to the Vans arsenal  as vulcanized construction has become increasingly popular in the skateboarding community over the past few years.

Finally, the revamp of the Rowley Pro is almost Vans’ way of entering the retro game, although it is not uncommon for skate companies to keep a shoe in production for years after its introduction, such as the Reynolds 3 by Emerica. The great thing about the Rowley, however, is that Vans brought the shoe back to the original formula, proving the age old saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

You can find the Rowley Pro in Vans stores, your local skate shop, and wherever Vans Off the Wall products are sold.

*I say “in skateboarding shoes” because I am not an expert on other sport oriented shoes. Vulcanization and Cup Soles are the most common in skateboarding.


About bgatesslab

Shoes, skateboarding, and Blackhawks.

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