Given the opportunity to help design a high-top, low-top and sandal for his new Vans Surf footwear collection, pro surfer Dane took what he termed the “subtle approach.” Of course, the 29-year-old Californian’s definition of subtle may not exactly mesh with Webster’s.
The Black Ball SF collection remains black and white—Dane’s signature colors—but the patterns in the collection feature a hand-drawn dog motif based on the image of Dane’s own English bulldog. Reynolds created the graphic, which covers the outside of the Black Ball Hi, the insole of the Low SF and the footbed on the 204 Print Sandal.
Inspired by the classic shapes of Vans’ Sk8-hi and Old Skool, the collection—apart from the canine imagery—does ease in with a minimal aesthetic and simple details.
“My main goal with this collection was to make [the shoes] personalized but also super wearable,” Reynolds tells SI.com. “I don’t really like shoes that stand out too much, so with these styles I went with a pretty subtle approach.”
The eight-ounce canvas upper contains the custom artwork and a signature leather side stripe design.
“I like that the drawings blend into the panels of the shoes and complement the classic design,” he says.
Made with vulcanized construction and water-based inks and glues, the two shoes include a removable and washable UltraCush Eco insole above the waffle-bottom outsole. On the sandal, the UltraCush lite EVA footbed combines with EVA straps and a triple-density waffle patterned outsole.
Each of the shoes—which launched in late July at the 2015 Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif.—also comes in color. The low has black, white, red and blue offerings, all with the dog motif inside. The high features white, black, blue and the black with the white dog drawings. Subtle, really.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.