In the excessively crowded space of sneakers, one way to get noticed is to get weird. We see it from the top down, from Nike's over-the-top Chunky Dunkys and shaggy Grateful Dead Dunks, to Tabi-toed Reeboks and an unreleased Yeezy that could have been excavated from a coral reef. This peacocking approach is risky though — think how quickly the quirky kid can go from funny to plain strange — and Vans may have bitten off more than it can chew with a Swiss cheese-looking Sk8-Hi.
The perpetually cool high-top skate shoe has been made less so as it's enshrouded by a bizarre and holey rubber cage. Not only is it a trypophobe's nightmare, but it should haunt anyone who's held a place in their heart for the sneaker in its more than 40-year-old history. Sometimes you just don't mess with the classics, and the Sk8-Hi seems to cry out for help in its rubber prison.
Thank heavens it's removable — Vans has churned out two versions of its abominable Sk8-Hi, both of which allow for the cut-out cage to be removed. There'd be no point in doing so for the black-and-white checkerboard variation because you can already buy the shoe sans-covering for a cool $68.
The Marshmallow variant, however, may be worth the trouble if you indulge in the ganja. A cream upper with white Jazz Stripe is combined with the pot leaves Vans officially calls "palm" to maintain plausible deniability. Spending $120 just to remove the primary feature may seem ridiculous, but there's no other way to acquire the otherwise appealing sneaker underneath.
What could the cage be for? — Ostensibly, the rubber shield could offer up increased protection for the rigors of skateboarding — but anyone who wore these to a spot would be laughed away on-sight by discerning skaters. Style is an ineffable part of skating, just read this in-depth piece on pant choice if you don't believe me, and the gratuity this Sk8-Hi unfortunately bears has no place in the sport or the world at large.