Vans are usually known for coming out with some pretty cool collaborative collections. In the past, they've done Disney, Marvel, and even Van Gogh.
So when the company announced that they were teaming up with Harry Potter to make a "magical" line, thousands of Harry Potter fans got their wallets ready to spend their money on yet another pair of shoes.
But, when launch day came around, a lot of people looked at the options and were left unsatisfied and felt cheated. These people, like myself, were either Ravenclaws or Hufflepuffs. Vans had done us dirty just like every other brand out there that sells Harry Potter merchandise.
When you go into, say, Hot Topic, and walk to the Harry Potter section, you are greeted with a sea of red (Gryffindor) and green (Slytherin). Which is nice, if you belong to either of those houses. But if you're not, you have to dig through clothing racks and look behind other things with the hope of seeing blue (Ravenclaw)or yellow (Hufflepuff).
Gryffindor, of course, gets the largest amount of merch since pretty much all of the protagonists were Gryffindors and then the antagonists were Slytherins.
In the original movies, there were a few background Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs, but it really wasn't until Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them did we finally see a Hufflepuff main character. Thankfully, Hufflepuff is getting some more recognition and respect.
Still, that doesn't make it fair for Vans to put out several shoes geared towards Gryffindors and Slytherins, and then one pair each for Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs. With designs that are lazy and subpar.
Let's go through the collection, starting with the blatant "House" shoe designs.
A very cool design that proudly shows off your Gryffindor Pride and can be worn with most outfits.
I really like this design. It not only shows off Slytherin colors but also has a scaly texture, in honor of their serpent mascot.
Now, this is just ugly. Sure, the Ravenclaw crest is on the tongue, but checkered, really? And the colors aren't even correct! They should be blue/bronze, not blue/silver/white! And what outfit would these ever go with?
This design is so lazy. "Let's just make a black slip-on with a yellow insert and slap a Hufflepuff Badger patch on the top!" I've seen shoes on Etsy made by Indie Brands that were more creative than this.
The Marauders Map design is pretty iconic in the fandom, but I have to say, I personally think it's overrated. It's plastered everywhere on merch, and when it comes down to it, it's geared towards Gryffindors anyway.
Okay, now these are pretty cool. The Snitch ball is a golden charm on the shoelaces and the wings spread out on either side. Plus, they can probably be for any house, so long as you love Quidditch.
Another pair for Slytherin. Although, the green metallic shift is really cool.
This design is also one that can be favored by any house, but with the Deathly Hallows symbol always being associated with Harry Potter himself, it's hard not to imagine these as a Gryffindor pair as well.
Same with these.
The Daily Prophet paper print is another overused design in the Harry Potter fandom. Especially when it shows the front page with Potter being the Undesirable. Another shoe for Gryffindor!
This is actually my favorite pair out of the entire collection, and even though they're covered in Harry's lightning bolt scar, they can be worn by any house. Plus, they glow in the dark!
Along with the shoes, Vans has also put out designs for shirts, bags, socks, etc. You guessed right, there's only one design for Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, but plenty for Gryffindor and Slytherin.
It's sad that the books and movies have been out for so long now, and the Harry Potter fandom is growing every day, sorting more and more people into houses that aren't just Gryffindor or Slytherin, and we still can't find equal representation for merchandise.