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4 Mar 2019

Doing It For BMX: Vans and Kevin Peraza

On the road with the BMX Support Group

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Photos by Fred Murray

In a time when some shoe companies are completely shutting down their BMX programs and taking a step back from our world, it would probably surprise you to learn that Vans have just stepped up their dedication with the release of their new BMX specific shoe in the form of a new Old Skool Pro signature for Kevin Peraza. To celebrate Vans sent Kevin and a bunch of his teammates on a tour around Europe and the UK for some product giveaways, riding sessions, Unfiltered video showings, photo galleries and even the BMX Support Group. We stopped by at the House Of Vans in London to see what was going down and talk to Kevin about his shoe and that new WaffleCup BMX specific sole.

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Vans has worked on a BMX specific sole for your new signature shoe. Can you tell us how that all came about?

Where do I start? It's definitely a dream come true. The whole idea came up early September 2017. I was actually in London on vacation prior Battle of Hastings. Jerry Badders, our Vans BMX TM gave me a quick phone call around 11pm my time to congratulate me and tell me that Vans wanted to give me a signature shoe and colorway and that he would give me more info soon. I was blown away, I don't even remember if I got any proper sleep that night because of how excited I was from the call. I was up with my girlfriend Itsel for hours doing my homework, looking up iconic, classic and timeless designs that Vans has made throughout the years, to bring something different but basic to the table.

As we got more into the details at meetings and communicating back and forth with the design team at the VANS cooperate office, we were told that about a new line and all BMX specific shoe with new waffle cup technology for a better support and feel on your feet. Dakota Roche, Gary Young and myself turned in a few of our very own worn-out regular PRO models that we had used and beat up within the last 2/3 months to do our homework and see what needed extra support for our riding styles. We played with a few different samples throughout time, and different styled rubbers, to find a perfect, grippy, not so soft, but soft enough rubber so it felt broken in before riding in it. It just worked.

As far as picking a shoe, You can never go wrong with the OLD SKOOL PRO'S. The colorway was my own choice. I kept it basic all black and added the checkerboard as it is already an iconic and classic trademark with the company. The red embroidery was the final touch to the shoe that just makes it stand out. Finally I was surprised as they had added my last name to the shoe ( which I wasn't expecting ) and also offered me a chance to design and create a signature T-shirt line to go with it.

It's truly a blessing, and a dream come true to get to be involved in the new BMX WaffleCup pro line. Hyped to be working, giving input and doing more with the whole design team at Vans for future projects.

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Kevin Peraza - Nose manny 180.

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Chilling with some of the BMX Support Group attendees.

Can you explain what you were just doing in Europe?

I was on a mini European tour to showcase my new colorway and talk about the new BMX shoe technology. We started in Eindhoven, Netherlands, had a quick stop at Paul's Boutique bmx shop to say hello and get some much needed gear for the week, then went over to the Area 51 Skatepark. We had a Q&A meet and greet, gave the kids my shoes to try out and test for the first time, and had an awesome session at the skatepark there. I was joined by Vans Europe team mates Sergio Layos, Courage Adams, and Tom Van Den Bogaard who is a local there. We then flew to Lyon, France the next morning. Met up at Bros bike shop there to do a similar meet and greet and questions and answers with locals and were joined by a few other Vans Pros like, Matthias Dandois, Kevin Kalkoff, Alex Valentino, and Nico Badet. We gave the locals product there as well and finished the day with a session at Gerland Park. The next day we flew out to London, drove to Hastings and sessioned theSource BMX park. Did a meeting and product give away there as well and got to play in their amazing facility they have there. Dakota Roche, Sebastian Keep, and Greg Illingworth also joined from then on. The next day we drove back to London, had a quick session at a local cement park called Victoria for a bit. headed into the city to meet up with the rest of the Vans Europe team. Alex, Donnachie, Bruno Hoffman, Simone Barraco, Kilian Roth, and Anthony Perrin. We all then headed over to the HOUSE OF VANS for the Endless Mag Photo Gallery and Un-Filtered Video Premier and session. The London HOV is this insane venue built under the Waterloo train station with a music hall, bar, restaurant and this incredible cement bowl and fun street plaza inside. You would never imagine. This is probably one of the busiest yet most laid back weeks I have ever had. Simply just riding and having a good time sharing not only my new VANS BMX line to the world but BMX itself.

CHEERS to Andy and Ben at Vans Europe for the incredible week. Everyone else and the whole team who joined for the good fun. Can't wait for the next one.

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Vans teammate Dakota Roche talks shop.

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The new WaffleCup BMX sole.

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For Vans to be putting in work on a BMX specific shoe when some companies are dropping their whole program shows dedication. Are you proud to be a part of that?

Yes it's definitely a huge blessing and a big deal now that a lot of big shoe companies are leaving BMX and not supporting it like they use too. VANS is really stepping up to the plate and showing their full love and support for BMX. It's our culture - just like music, arts and other sports are to us and Vans supports that 110%. It's definitely incredible to say the least. I'm more then proud to not only be on the Pro team with all those legends, but getting the opportunity to push the first BMX made WaffleCup shoe is a dream come true. As far as wanting to see things for the future... I think it shows and other companies will start taking notes and seeing how big Vans is, by giving back to the community that supports the company itself.

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Dom Elt trying to raise the roof... literally.

"VANS is really stepping up to the plate and showing their full love and support for BMX."

- Kevin Peraza

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Fathead didn't just shout at people.

What’s new with the WaffleCup sole? How does it differ from the classic waffle style?

We completely changed the full mold of traditional Vans WaffleSole. We kept the WaffleSole pattern but built this all new BMX influenced and tested piece for better heal support and pedal grip. The idea was to have something built by and for BMX. We raised the heal counter of the shoe a quarter of an inch for a higher and stronger impact zone. Added a rubber piece on the inside of both right and left shoes for crank arm and sprocket support. We separated the sole into three different zones. Soft on the toes, hard in the middle for pedal and solid and higher on the heals.

Will we be seeing the BMX specific sole added to any other shoe styles? Yes definitely. As time goes, and all the positive feedback we have had on this first pair, I know we will get more options out there for people to try. 

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The Unfiltered photo show via Eisa Bakos turned out great. Each selection even had a culturally inspired set to show in.

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Alex Valentino got hurt the previous day so mugged an old cockney fella for his stick.

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The Unfiltered series showed back to back with a special mixtape edit.

What else have you got going on with Vans? Any projects in the pipe line?

I have a few personal projects that I want to start working on for Vans. 
But we have a welcome to the team video dropping this March for Vans new rider, Dennis Enarson, along with Gary Young and myself - you can catch Dennis's 'Lost in Grand Cayman' video dropping very soon.

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Kevin Kalkoff was all over this place.

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Simone Barraco getting sideways.

More details on the Kevin Peraza Old Skool Pro BMX here.