If you have a tween or teen (or you’re just a cool mom) you probably have a pair of Vans in your house. How many are gathering dust in your closet? Five? Ten? Forty? Van’s Custom Culture program might just inspire you to give those shoes a new life.

The program supports art education in U.S. high schools by giving kids the opportunity to create their own Vans designs and compete against other schools for a $75,000 grand prize. That’s a lot of cash for a pair of sneakers!

Top: Custom decorated Vans by 2018 Custom Culture ambassadors Andi Elloway and Kyle Hopkins

Related: Vans shoes, even more customizable for your budding fashion designer

You can help out by picking your favorite and casting a vote on their website by May 4.  It will be hard to pick though. Because these kids’ entries are AMAZING.  Here are a few favorites.

Custom Vans art contest finalist from Onstead High School, MichiganCustom Vans art contest finalist from Onstead High School, Michigan

Custom Vans HS competition finalist from Friendswood HS, TexasFriendswood High School, Texas

Custom Vans art contest finalist from Oak Harbor High School, WA

Oak Harbor High School, WA

To get the entrants inspired, celebrities and influencers of all kinds have also created their own badass Vans designs which are pretty wonderful.

Check out some of my favorites; I guarantee you won’t be able to resist a trip to the craft store for some fabric pens and crafting bling after seeing these.

Cynthia Rowley celebrity designed Vans Custom Culture

Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley designed this pair with an important declaration. Maybe she was inspired by Bart Simpson? Or maybe she just has a couple of teens in the house who have a hard time keeping their Vans off their skateboards in the living room.

Amirah FlourShop celebrity designed Vans Custom Culture

Baker Amirah Kassem of FlourShop (one of our fave IG feeds!) designed this pair of Vans that looks good enough to eat. Or at least the soles do. A nice feature: it adds around three inches to your height making it easier to peek into the top shelves at your local pastry shop.


Carol Lim celebrity designed Vans Custom Culture

Designer Carol Lim pays tribute to the 1960 horror film, Eyes Without a Face. Or is it the 1983 Billy Idol song? Either way, this pair of shoes is dope. Take my money!

Gavin Rossdale celebrity designed Vans Custom Culture

Musician Gavin Rossdale imparts some important wisdom in his shoes. With advice like, “be a good listener” and “always be kind” it sounds like he’s trying to speak directly to the high school kids and inspire them to be good people, which is so sweet. Swoon.

Jessica Szohr celebrity designed Vans Custom Culture

Actress Jessica Szohr is seriously making me want to get out my glue gun and run out and buy a bag of pompoms with her crazy design. How cute are these? My kids would wear these, and I would, too, in a heartbeat.


While it’s too late to enter yourself, visit the Vans’ Custom Culture website by May 4 to vote your favorite entry (it requires an email but no spam) and help a high school support their arts program!

Also, check out more awesome shoe designs on the Vans Custom Culture Instagram – then get ready to buy some supplies because your kids are definitely going to ask to create their own.