Not many people have graced skateboarding the way Jeff Grosso did. Grosso was a true skateboarding lifer, dedicating his life not only to skateboarding but almost all of it to Vans too. He was on the Vans team for 34 years and over the course of ten years released a seemingly endless stream of “Love Letters to Skateboarding“. A genuinely passionate series of episodes dedicated to virtually each and every aspect of skateboarding that you can think of. Grosso was the gatekeeper of skateboarding, making sure that no matter how it expanded and developed, it kept its core values. A valiant crusade.
For spring 2021 Vans have released the Vans x Jeff Grosso limited-edition capsule collection in Jeff’s honour and we are proud to say that we are stocking both reissued colourways of Grosso’s personal favourites, the Sk8-Hi’s that have been produced in two iterations the ’84 and ’88.
The ’84 has a black and red checked design and the ’88 being a black and white palm tree design, these shoes have a classic heritage feel mixed with a personal touch. For example, when looking at the almost hypnotising soles on the ’84’s it is clear Grosso was someone that went against the grain. A mix of clear cut checks on the top of the shoe combined with the trippy, fluid nature of the sole design, makes this shoe a true representation of Grosso’s persona.
Grosso was the legitimate combination of resisting the mainstream mixed with the upholding of classical traditions within skateboarding itself. A gatekeeper of the dos and do not’s of skateboarding, yet a huge advocate of personal creativity and identity. With the ’84’s possessing a slightly grittier feel, the ’88’s are the antithesis of grit, covered with the laid back vibe of the palm trees. A nod to the hippy era of Grosso, (think tie-dye t-shirts, long hair and decked out rock ‘n’ rolls) when these shoes sat next to the ’84’s are a true representation of Grosso. A fierce love for skateboarding, and a genuine love for anyone that does it.
Concentrating on the shoes themselves slightly more, these reissues have been updated and refined massively compared to a Sk8-Hi that you would find in the ’80s. With additions such as the now almost infamous Duracap, making sure this shoe has the durability to match all the other Vans in the Skateboarding collection, this isn’t just a throwback shoe. Also equipped with Vans’ special formula PopCush footbed, making sure heel-bruises are a thing of the past and helping you skate harder for longer. One area of the shoe Vans have kept original is the sole of the shoe. Using Vans’ original waffle outsole, you will have the benefits of all the mod-cons of skate shoes in the 21st Century, but you will also have the same classic grip and board feel that Grosso himself experienced in the ’80s.
Grosso lived and breathed skateboarding, influencing and inspiring multiple generations of skaters around the world all the way up to his untimely passing. Whether it was his skating or his Love Letters to Skateboarding, he has been spreading his passion and knowledge to skaters all over the world, for longer than most skaters have been alive themselves. These shoes are a reminder of his passion, personality and love for skateboarding. When you buy these shoes, just remember one thing, this is a shoe dedicated to Jeff Grosso and he would want you to skate them as hard as you can.