When it comes to sneakers for spring, the comfiest shoes are anything but basic. Vans (who recently blew our minds with these glitter-coated designs) is taking that notion one step further with its annual Custom Culture contest, giving high schools around the country a chance to win $50,000 for their art program.
Three thousand schools were given four pairs of blank white Vans Slip-On sneakers ($50) as their canvas to illustrate the four themes of Vans’ “Off the Wall” motto: action sports, arts, music, and local flavor. Vans narrowed down the field to a top 50, but the decision of the top five is up to you. Polls open through May 11, and then the final schools will fly to LA, where the grand prize winner will be announced.
And the students aren’t the only ones having all the fun: To spread the word, influencers in the fashion, music, education, sports, and arts scenes (AKA Vans Custom Culture ambassadors) are also putting their thinking caps on, giving students an idea of the possibilities created when you put your mind to it. Check out some of our faves below:
1. Anna Sui: Your Vans just got a maribou-trimmed makeover thanks to design-house Anna Sui, who also added a pretty floral trim to the iconic kicks.
2. Danielle Victoria: Butterfly queen Vanessa Hudgens would surely appreciate the butterfly and rose embellished motif of the shoes model Danielle Victoria created to help hype the contest.
3. Charlavail: Camp Gritty founder Charlavail made the perfect pair of sneakers for bona fide fashion girls, with one mismatched strawberry emblazoned Van and a dark-coiffed babe as its match.
4. Everett Williams: With a pop of yellow, red, and green, Williams’ primary-colored submission has us longing for summer.
5. Pizza Slime: Pizza Slime took the pom-pom craze next level with this fluffy ball-covered design.
6. Gillian Zinser: Actress Gillian Zinser had a colorful message to share with her creations: “It’s cool to care.”
Which shoe will you be voting for? Share with us @BritandCo.
(Photo via Vans)