Vans’ Custom Culture Art Contest for High School Students Is Accepting Applications — $50k Grand Prize

vans custom culture design sneakers
Sneakers designed by art students from John P. Stevens High School in Edison, N.J., the $50,000 grand prize winners from the 2016 Vans Custom Culture contest.
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* Grand prize shoe design of $50,000
* Technology in design prize of $5,000
* Application deadline is February 10

With funding for arts education constantly under threat, young creatives and their teachers are always looking for new ways to get their work seen. This week, Footwear News reported that Vans will hold its 8th Annual $50,000 “Custom Culture Art Contest” for high school students. Last year’s winning designs, from John P. Stevens High School in Edison, NJ, can be seen above.

From Footwear News:
The Vans Custom Culture contest, which calls upon high schoolers across the country to create their best do-it-yourself custom sneakers, is back for its eighth annual run. Registration for the brand’s 2017 Custom Culture contest is open now through Feb. 10. Although the contest is for high school students, only authorized teachers or faculty members will be able to enter on behalf of their schools.

Customize Your Vans

Customize Your Vans

Vans will begin the process by choosing 3,000 schools to participate before narrowing the selection down to the top 50 designs. From there, each school’s fate lies in the hands of the people, as the public will be able to vote for the top five designs that progress to the final stage. Those five schools will then be flown to Los Angeles, where a panel of judges will select a $50,000 grand prize winner.

In addition to the annual sneaker design contest, Vans is giving students another opportunity to earn cash for their school. By creating a “design or print that best exemplifies technology in design” to be featured on the landing page, students will have a chance to win $5,000. To make the deal even sweeter, the winning design will be available for the public to use when creating custom sneakers.

Vans’ partners in the 2017 Custom Culture contest include Journeys, Blick, Americans for the Arts, and Laguna College of Art and Design.

Last year’s Custom Culture grand prize winner was John P. Stevens High School in Edison, N.J. Its New Jersey diner-inspired designs are pictured above.

For the official registration form and rules, blank shoe templates, and frequently asked questions, visit

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