Nintendo Vans Collection


You know what people say, shoes are made for walking. After countless years of walking in the dark pink Adidas trainers, they become worn out and worn to shreds with each passing day because of overuse and so I eventually made the decision to take my mum’s advice to purchase new shoes.

By Wing See Li. Twitter: @xflowerstarx

The Nintendo designs of the Nintendo Vans Collection merchandise are as follows: Super Mario, Mario Kart, Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, Duck Hunt, Nintendo Entertainment System and The Legend of Zelda. As if luck would have it, the recent tweets and messages or status updates Nintendo UK and Nintendo of Europe posted on Twitter and Facebook respectively pretty much confirmed Van’s partnership and a collaboration with Nintendo to release an official fashion range of outfits, shoes (ranging from slip-ons to trainers), caps, backpacks, sandals and the list goes on. According to the tweets on Twitter and messages on Facebook, the designs can range from retro to modern to suit all generations of Nintendo fans, both old and new alike. Sure, the merchandise is related to Nintendo but it’s a break from constantly heading to the video game shops every time I travel to the Manchester Arndale Centre or the Trafford Centre.

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How I knew about the Nintendo Vans Collection in the first place is while I’m heading to the Odeon Printworks cinema to meet up with my long-time, real-life best friend to watch a film, I stumbled across this small poster advertising the upcoming Nintendo Vans range of shoes and clothing adorned on a towering, massive glass window of the Vans store as shown in the above photo. This resulted in me almost squealing loudly in public because I can barely contain myself! Not only that, but my prayers have finally been answered, in terms of new shoes! Normally, I hate clothes and shoe shopping with a burning passion and I tend to consider them to be such an absolute bore but since there are finally clothes and footwear themed after Nintendo games and franchises, I’ll make this an exception.  

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Upon entering the Schuh and the Vans stores on the release date (Friday 3rd June 2016) of the Nintendo Vans Collection, I’m utterly mesmerised and amazed on what the Nintendo Vans Collection have to offer! Speaking of them, they were aligned and lined up neatly on the shelves and tables all over the shops. Even if I didn’t visit the stores, I can tell the staff at both the Schuh and Vans stores went all out with the nostalgic-evoking presentation, judging by the glass windows with the Super Mario Bros. backdrop and how the merchandise were arranged for everyone to see. Therefore, the abovementioned backdrop corresponds with the Nintendo-themed products. Not to mention, there are so many things to choose from than I can shake a Nintendo Wii remote at! It’s like as if I’ve died and gone to gaming heaven! Any of these pieces of clothing or shoes are perfect to give my wardrobe an overhaul!

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I decided to go to Schuh in Market Street first because I had a feeling the Nintendo-themed shoes, the clothing, the caps, the backpacks etc are a little bit cheaper than how much they cost at the Vans store. It’s strange how the Schuh shop seemed to have more to choose from in comparison to the Vans store as far as the merchandise is concerned. Furthermore, the Schuh store had a couple of shoes with different designs that are only exclusive to it. They cost £52.00. It’s ironic how child-sized clothing, shoes etc can fit me but the kid-sized Nintendo Vans shoes can hardly fit me.

While I’m taking a good look around the Vans store on Friday 3rd June 2016, I spotted a Wii U booth with Mario Kart 8 on it. The aforementioned Wii U booth is similar to the one from the massive GAME shop in the Manchester Arndale Centre. It must be there for the customers to play on it or for them to wait until the shoes, clothing or sandals are brought to them by any of the employees in the requested shoe, clothing or sandal size. When I played the game and successfully finished all of the four races in one of the 100cc Grand Prix cups, I’m awarded with a Mario Kart 8Bullet Bill keyring. Either that’s a prize for winning in Mario Kart 8 or they’ve given it to me out of random act of kindness.

Not only that, but customers have the opportunity to enter a prize draw by filling in their personal details on a Mario Kart 8-themed card if they desired and returning it to one of the employees. According to them, the winner will be announced after all of the merchandise had been sold out. 

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Thanks to my mum’s nagging, I finally bought a new pair of shoes but also thank the stars that I finally found the perfect shoes to buy. Throughout the years, she’s been nagging me to buy new shoes but I stubbornly kept refusing... until this year. My previous pair of shoes are the dark pink Adidas trainers with Velcro fast-ons or  fastenings which my mum purchased for me at a shop in Hong Kong several or numerous years ago. Just recently, I recommended the Vans Nintendo Collection to my long-time, real-life best friend (for life), especially the Nintendo shoes. While we were taking a look around the Vans store, my best friend wondered which piece of merchandise she is considering to purchase as well as trying the backpacks. From what she told me, the backpacks lacked a lot of sections inside them, despite some of the backpacks have appealing designs whether they are vintage or modern styled. Therefore, not a lot of belongings can be inserted in these said sections. After what seemed like hours of decision-making, she decided to go for the Mario shoes. After trying them on, she decided to buy them in the near future.

Every man-made object isn’t perfect and the Princess Peach shoes are no exception. My criticisms with them are upon wearing them for the first time, they injured the ankles of my feet and they as well as the other shoes, clothing, caps and backpacks are ridiculously expensive similar to the Insert Coin Clothing fashion range, which can be off-putting for some people who’d rather save up their money for something else to buy or don’t like to spend a large amount of money.

The prices usually range from £50.00 to £60.00 (which can put a dent on the wallet) or lower than these prices, depending on how much either of the shoes, caps, backpacks and so forth cost. Due to the expensive prices, I suggest you buy either at least one pair of footwear or one piece of outfit, a cap or a backpack. To make matters worse, the bottom of the shoes can easily get dirty during the first day of being used. In terms of Nintendo franchises, there are only a few to pick from such as Mario, Duck Hunt, Donkey Kong and Nintendo Entertainment System, to name a few, which is disheartening. Prior to the release of the Nintendo Vans Collection, I was hoping for footwear, clothing, caps and backpacks themed after Kirby and Animal Crossing as well as Mario but when the merchandise were released, I was dismayed they weren’t available with Kirby and Animal Crossing designs. Coincidentally, I tend to restrict myself with a handful of video game franchises I’m fond of. Not to mention, regarding the designs of the sandals, shirts or garments and the caps, they are admittedly bland since they’re basically black and white, accompanied by the words, “Game Over”, in capital words in a black or white retro-styled text. Finally, my last complaint is the designs of the kid-sized shoes have more attention to detail and they’re more colourful than the adult-sized Nintendo shoes which is heartbreaking and frustrating when one of thedesigns I’m exceedingly fond of isn’t available in my size.

In fact, these designs are only exclusive to children, concerning infant-sized footwear. Furthermore, there isn’t very much to choose from, footwear styles wise. If only there are shoes with Velcro-fast ons or fasteners (especially for people who lacked the capability of fastening their shoe laces or who can’t be bothered to tying them) available to purchase but that’s wishful thinking. Thus, it will make things easier for them instead of them having no choice but to resort to buying trainers or slip-on shoes. There’s a fine line between the designs being presentable and the designs being unnecessarily overcrowded until where it gets to the point where the characters and the scenery or the backgrounds becomes cluttered and messy, in terms of presentation and the layout of the patterns. However, there is a myriad of motifs that deviate themselves from these abovementioned designs such as the dull and lacklustre black and white Game Over designs.

But nevertheless, everything is a joy to gawp at and I loved how retro-chic, top-of-the-line and cutting-edge some of the designs are, despite the fact I didn’t grew up with these video game franchises since they are released before my time. Let’s just say the designs are old-school with a modern twist, identical to the New Super Mario Bros. series. This is the main reason why the Princess Peach and the modern Super Mario designs caught most of my attention.

If that’s not fashion, I don’t know what is! Plus, they are a brilliant and a visually stupendous way to flaunt off Nintendo’s expansive history to the public and the casual gamers, which extends far beyond our beliefs without resorting to reading through books, carry out research or playing their games. As much as I desired to buy every piece of merchandise, I couldn’t since they’re stupidly pricey if all of them are added altogether. Just imagine how much the total will be which is excruciatingly staggering to bear.

At first, the Princess Peach trainers were downright painful to walk with every step I make the more they injured my ankles. Whilst I’m walking, I kept cringing, wishing the pain would subside. It felt like driving a tank, in terms of movement upon wearing the shoes for the first time. As a result, the physical wounds impeded my progress and decreased the pace of my walking. Thus, causing walking to be such a drag. In spite of the injuries, they didn’t prevent me from reaching my destinations. I’m not sure if that’s stubbornness, determination, persistence, motivation or all of the above. After a couple of days or weeks of wearing my new Princess Peach shoes, they no longer hurt my ankles with each step I make and they eventually become comfortable to wear which is a enormous relief. I believe the surface of the material of the trainers is to blame for the temporary, minor wounds that were inflicted upon my ankles.

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Whichever old-school or modern Nintendo design and type of clothing or merchandise people and the Nintendo or video game fans like all comes down to personal preference and if they desire to spend a hefty sum of money. It’s all up to you and them to decide. If you’re willing to splash your hard-earned cash on any of the Nintendo Vans Collection merchandise, then go for it! They are perfect for every Nintendo fan! But be careful, they’re selling out fast and stocks may vary, depending on which shoe or Vans store you pop in.

Just like the Insert Coin Clothing range, the Nintendo Vans Collection are an official, perhaps handmade, limited edition fashion range made of the finest quality and there might not be a chance for them to be restocked in the future.

You know, “First come, first serve”, as my Science teacher used to tell me in one of the science laboratories at high school during my teenage years.

By Wing See Li. Twitter: @xflowerstarx

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