Vans and BJ Betts come together for an epic collaboration

Vans and BJ Betts have joined forces for the first-time to deliver a new range of “Made for the Makers” product. The legendary American tattoo artist and graphic designer combined his distinct aesthetic with three classic silhouettes from the California footwear label to create an assortment of functional, military-inspired styles.

Over the past two plus decades, BJ Betts has been at the forefront of the ever-changing tattoo world. Blending traditional tattoo elements with gothic imagery and Japanese folklore, BJ’s style is hallmarked by an emphasis on unique fonts and precise lettering. Having released a series of industry standard guides on lettering, BJ’s relevance to graphic design and tattoo art is undisputed. Today he works primarily out of his Kennett Square, Pennsylvania studio State Street Tattoo.


Tapping into the ornate designs that he’s become known for, BJ worked with Vans to update a trio of Classics—the Old Skool UC, Authentic UC and Slip-On UC—with original camo patterns in muted military-inspired colors. Each of the styles features mixed suede and canvas uppers in liquid and dirt repellant Vansguard® with camo UltraCush sockliners and the “Made for the Makers” slip-resistant, vulcanized lugged outsole, maximizing comfort without sacrificing personal style. BJ’s take includes the addition of pull tabs at the heel, with digits representing BJ’s year of birth (’71), alongside the original Vans style numbers.

’I wanted to make something functional. Being an artist and working long hours, more times than not I end up going out and having dinner later in the evening and going to meet up with my family and friends directly from work.


I wanted to have a collection that could be worn easily and comfortably while working, with the stain resistant qualities that allow me to head out for a nice dinner looking presentable with a simple wipe down of my shoes and head. The shoes are generally the first thing that is noticed, am I wrong?


The camo pattern and it's colors are inspired by my military service, and my Grandfather's service as well, who was one of the best men that ever walked this earth, and who this whole project is dedicated to."


-BJ Betts

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