Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Vans co-founder branded generation of SoCal youth with iconic shoes

Hayley Fox/KPCC

My Vans special edition Descendents shoes. They're well-worn and well- loved.

James Van Doren, co-founder of Vans skate shoes, has died at the age of 72, leaving behind a legacy of iconic shoes and devoted followers. What began as a simple skateboarding shoe in 1966 turned into a symbol of the burgeoning Southern California skate culture.

Vans were the shoes of a beachside counter-culture; the thick, rubber-souled lace-ups and slip-ons were not mean to be kept clean. They screamed to be scuffed, ripped and worn until a telltale hole appeared on the toe. Vans were used to do ollies and kickflips, protect your feet in mosh pits and carry California's youth wherever they wanted to go.

The holy moment of the company came with the creation of the checkered slip-on. Originally created only in black-and-white, these flexible, sturdy shoes remained suitable for skating but with an aesthetic that appealed to a much larger crowd. People became obsessed with the shoe, which was later rereleased in an assortment of updated colors, including neon pink and black or electric blue and black.


Nike unveiling future shoes from 'Back to the Future 2'

Tonight in Hollywood, Nike is making a big announcement. There's been a bit of secrecy around it, but the word is that it's the unveiling of... future shoes.

The shoe from "Back to the Future 2," the Nike Air Mag, is becoming a reality. Early indications are that, unlike the shoes from the film, these will not self-lace. Nike is already known to have patented self-lacing shoes last year, though, so they could be on the way to your hands. And my hands. My hands really want these.

But wait — are these going to be available to the public at large? Michael J. Fox is scheduled to appear on David Letterman tonight, and Nike's CEO has announced that 1,500 pairs will be auctioned off on eBay with proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. That's great for the foundation, but that could also point to these being an extremely limited special edition not meant for the public at large. Perhaps these are just prototypes without self-lacing, and that will actually get here by 2015? We'll have at least some answers soon enough.