Vans BMX & Dakota Roche - Signature Collection
Vans and Dakota Roche are both powerhouses in their own right, one a long-standing manufacturer of the most trusted and versatile BMX and skate shoes and the other, an absolute beast and highly influential BMX rider. Over 16 years, the two entities have formed an unbreakable association based around a partnership comprising video parts, endless web videos of the highest order as well as various signature products. Most recently, Vans has partnered with Dak to release the latest collection of BMX-specific products being the Sk8-Hi 238 shoe and accompanying head-to-toe collection. In support of this release, Dak worked with videographer Calvin Kosovich to produce yet another ground-breaking video part - titled ‘Low & Hi’.
Dak in action, eyeing up something that you and I probably can't see
Dak sporting his new signature Vans Sk8-Hi 238 shoe
The following article touches on the incredible partnership that Vans and Dak have built, highlighting some of the more insane moments from the ‘Low & Hi’ project as well as detailing what makes the Dakota Roche signature Vans collection a must have.
Before we get into the following piece, let me remind you that the BMX shoes section on the LUXBMX online store is currently bursting at the seams with Vans stock, including the Dakota Roche signature collection as well as a tonne of other new and re-stocked Vans footwear.
So what's the story behind Vans?
Vans are an iconic streetwear brand having emerged in 1966 in close association with the birth of skate and BMX. At a time when underground youth culture was starting to hit the mainstream, tailor made products to suit the needs of the individual were non-existent. Enter Paul Van Doren (Vans’ founding father) and the emergence of the ‘Van Doren Rubber Company’ who were dedicated to making genuinely quality shoes, to which skating and BMX heads quickly became wise to in supporting the progress and advancement of extreme sports.
The original Vans store in southern California
Now a publicly traded company on the US stock exchange with an annual turnover in excess of $2 billion, the brand (under its parent company VF Corporation), has amassed a shoewear and apparel range (estimated at over 400 million units sold since inception) that simply cannot be underestimated in terms of its impact on lifestyle culture across the globe. Adding to the endless arsenal of A-grade (and most importantly - BMX specific) products, the brand has again partnered with Dak to release the Sk8-Hi 238 a mid-top canvas upper in Dak’s signature green colourway. The shoe is the centrepiece feature of a Dakota Roche signature Vans collection which also includes an updated BMX Slip-On, bike bag, mesh trucker hat, button down shirt.
The other half of the new Dak signature collection, the updated BMX Slip-On in brown
Known for manufacturing quality products with visual appeal, tailored to the specific needs of the end user, Vans go the extra mile and make it hard to take your support elsewhere. The experience is then characterised by authenticity and durability. The BMX Sk8-Hi 238 is no different, featuring:
- The highly unique wafflecup chassis construction for that incredible ‘pedal feel’ (a first of its kind in BMX)
- Reinforced DURACAP™ underlays in high-wear areas which add unrivaled longevity to prolong the life of each shoe
- Cushioning and impact protection through the POPCUSH™ energy return footbeds working to protect your feet while helping to lessen leg fatigue for longer rides
- The latest proprietary gum rubber compound, specifically formulated to enhance pedal grip and durability
- Simplified artwork and detail personally designed by Dak himself, including removal of the classic sidestripe in favour of a minimalistic aesthetic and a focus on the tongue and slanted woven details.
As a dude with similar values and an eye for detail, the Dak x Vans relationship makes sense. Representative of the commitment to one another is a seriously long history of collaborations. Finding a spot on the Vans team back in 2007 and releasing his first video for the brand in 2010, Dak has since produced a mind-blowing 8 x videos, being:
- 2017 Vans video ‘Illustrated’
- 2018 ‘Vans BMX Dragon Tour’
- 2018 ‘Unfiltered - California’
- 2019 ‘Shimmer’ & ‘Shimmer & Haze’
- 2020 ‘Vans x Cult BMX Presents: Trying Times’
- 2021 ‘Seeking Liberty’
- 2022 ‘CULT/Vans Waffle Cup Tyre’.
Finally and the subject of this piece is the latest project being the 2023 ‘Low & Hi’ video. Intersecting with the release of the Dakota Roche signature Vans collection, the video is a partnership with long-time friend and filmmaker Calvin Kosovich and documents the exploits of Dak over 14 months of perseverance, determination and martyrdom in the name of excellence. Taking to the streets of California, Houston, NYC and Copenhagen, the duo have yet again combined skill sets in the pursuit of faultlessness.
For 8 minutes and 38 seconds, sit back and bask in the rays of modern day BMX creativity combined with elite level trick selection and spot/location emphasis. As described by Vans:
“‘Low and Hi’ is an ode to the intense process of delivering a memorable video part, in which Dakota is completely addicted to.”
And when I say 8 minutes and 38 seconds, I mean entirely 8 minutes and 38 seconds of full-throttle riding with very limited filler. It feels like a video part these days demands ‘ender’ level biking at each and every turn. Perhaps the ‘ender’ is now non-existent, high expectations to maintain, especially if you’re Dakota Roche and you’re 35 years old. Take a minute to absorb that.
Dak, steep tooth hang after getting a long way up there
The yin to Dak's yang, videographer and professional biker Calvin Kosovich and his filming rig
A couple of thoughts after watching the ‘Low & Hi’ part for the third time, reflective of a stream of consciousness when watching the video through:
- The colour grading is seriously beautiful, has that lovely saturation which doesn’t go too hard, but makes you want to be in the location just to see it with your own eyes
- The music selection is studious, with Calvin (assumed as the decision-maker) as always coming through with a couple of tracks that you likely haven’t heard of, brooding, husky and very much of a rock and roll troubadour manner
- Every Dak part seems to be littered with clips that haven’t been done before, or as the kids say, NBDs
- For an example of the above, check out the incredible link at 2.11 and 2.23 - with the latter also being a sample of aesthetic genius
- Dak looks good no matter the location nor the period and has somewhat cornered the button-up/undershirt/beanie market
- His tyres must be so damn hard, which is great, the audio of a thick boy tyre really helps to bring you in to the moment
- Despite all the slower, technical artistry, Dak does have a ‘balls to the wall’ clip in him, case in point, 5.32 and 5.55, both very much limited in terms of miscalculation. One slip and you’re done
- The feeble to manual to nose line at 7.35 is also a serious mindbender, and I love how you can see the relief and satisfaction on his face and through his reaction. You get the sense that he has just realised that a brutal crash has just been avoided
- Heartening to see the video getting the attention it deserves with 131k views and 381 comments (at the time of writing).
The video wraps up with Dak fondling a goat, which seems like a provocation to make an all too easy comparison to the dudes greatness - I will thus exercise restraint. The warm fuzzy feeling one gets through super 8 footage then arises as obscure flickers and glimmers transition into darkness. The end.
Dak is hard work personified and as a result, you simply have to respect the dude. It’s easy to engage with someone who throws themself into a project headfirst, body on the line, obvious competence and passion - no matter the project and no matter the format. It is then self-evident that Vans have worked with and supported Dak on his biking journey.
As proud and impassioned supporters of core BMX ourselves, LUXBMX takes great esteem in standing alongside Vans as one of our principal shoe offerings and look forward to continuing to support brands that specialise in (and focus on) growing freestyle BMX.
The Vans Wayvee Pro in green/white, you can almost smell that new shoe scent
The Vans BMX Slip-On Pro in marshmallow/white, looking splendid on the Kangaroo Point cliffs
So, why not check out the BMX shoes page on the LUXBMX online store where you can eyeball the Dakota Roche signature Vans collection (Sk8-Hi 238 and BMX Slip-On) in all their glory. While you're there, you'll be hard pressed to avoid the ever growing suite of new and re-stocked Vans BMX shoes including the Old Skool Pro and Old Skool Pro Slip-On in a stylish marshmallow/white blend as well as the Wayve Pro in green/white and the Old Skool Pro shoes in black/gum and navy/white.