The Vans Half Cab began its journey as the 'Vans Caballero'. Named after skating legend Steve Caballero, designer of the shoe, which can be seen above. “As far as the design goes, I’d been wearing a lot of Puma Prowlers and Air Jordans so I tried to incorporate those into my shoe a little.” - Caballero on the design of his Vans, which in 1989 became the first pro model skate shoe. Although, this is disputed by many who say Natas Kaupa’s pro shoe with Etnies was out in Europe the previous year - pictured in the ad below. Caballero has said that he doesn't know which shoe came first but that he was definitely first in the USA.
The Vans Caballero was a massive hit upon release but a significant boom in the street skating style was the catalyst for an evolution: either switch to low top styles that freed up the ankle for ease of ollie/flip based tricks or cut down the high top styles to accommodate desired articulation. Caballero himself loved the new DIY, he even started cutting up his own shoe to join the trend. Shortly after chopping up a few pairs of his own shoe and duct taping down the sides, Caballero and Vans got together to redesign the shoe, and the Half Cab was born...
Originally released in 1992, the Half Cab represents an era of true design innovation. The “lighter, better, faster” version of its predecessor, the iconic signature shoe for Steve Caballero has stood the test of time as a Vans Pro Skate favourite - and as most classics do, the Half Cab has leaked from the skate community into the mainstream.
Skate brands such as Supreme and Dime, as well as fashion labels Our Legacy and Gosha, have all put out memorable takes on the shoe, and the recent Pro Skate model has marked a resurgence, often seen on the likes of Andrew Reynolds, Dustin Henry and Efron Danzig.