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size? collections – Jürgen Blümlein – skateboarder, artist, curator, and founder of the Skateboardmuseum

Born in 1973, Jürgen Blümlein is a skateboarder, artist, curator, and founder of the Skateboardmuseum. He attended the Film Academy Ludwigsburg and worked in the film and commercial industry.

As a founding member of the artist collective FauxAmi, Jürgen has been curating art exhibitions for the first-ever skateboard museum in Europe. In 2007, he planted the seed for the ‘MADE FOR SKATE‘ book with an exhibit on the history of skateboard footwear under the same name.

The travelling exhibit, featuring hundreds of historic shoes, was well received at openings in Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, and Vienna, followed by the release of the Made for Skate book in 2009. Also, a co-author of Skateboarding Is Not a Fashion, Blümlein creates history exhibits of the skateboard culture and for brands, VANS, adidas, Nike SB and opened Circylar Gallery as a platform for art and skateboarding in Berlin in 2019.

It’s clear to see Jürgen has a vast knowledge of the industry and the footwear within it, and his collection only helps to confirm this further. Take a look below.

Collection

Collection

“A very private collecting habit – Vintage Vans Serio Sneakers. As a curator, I see myself more on the side of archiving, documenting and displaying than collecting. Collectors tend to focus on a certain brand or model. The focus is on getting all single colours or models etc. With changing topics of exhibitions, it would be nearly impossible to keep track of all. But of course, as coming from the side of collecting, I found a very special niche of a beloved brand of mine.”

Office 

Office

“The bookshelf at our creative space, office and gallery in Berlin – here we design shoe collaborations, curate the exhibitions and compile the books and simply get inspired.”

Swatch watches

Swatch watches

“The first thing I actually collected were Swatch watches in the late 80s. Swatch was popular in the skateboard scene, and I especially loved the colours and designs,

“I still have the first one which I got from my mom as a gift for my 15th birthday. The Swatch has a great name for a now long-lasting passion for wrist fashion ‘Coloured Love’. Truly a highlight was to design a special Swatch x Vans collaboration for the 50th anniversary of Vans in 2016.”

Vans Serio ‘MADE IN USA’

Vans Serio 'MADE IN USA'

“If you’re hunting for Vans on eBay, you will sometimes come across models that just don’t fit the picture. They look entirely different and show no signs of waffle soles, Slip-On or Sk8-Hi shapes. They look unique, sporting an obscure V-logo on the side. Some of these models were made for runners, others for baseball, racquetball, wrestling, soccer, boxing and many more sports.”

Early ’80s Vans box

Early '80s Vans box

“Sometimes you find them with very special Vans boxes. Here is a prime example of Vans Phase II “Styled in California” made in Korea in the early ’80s.”

Vans football boots

Vans football boots

“This is a rare pair of Vans football boots. Manufacturing shoes in Asia opened up to different technologies such as vulcanisation which helped to lower the price point.”

Vans statement

Vans statement

“In the early ’80s, the popularity of skateboarding was fading away. For a brand like Vans who were so strongly rooted in skateboarding, the impact was felt, and BMX alone couldn’t compensate. It was a time of change, and the brand was looking for new opportunities. With the 1984 Summer Games in LA looming, the decision was made to enter the market of athletic footwear. The idea was driven by Jim Van Doren, the brother of Vans founder Paul Van Doren.”

Steve Van Doren

Steve Van Doren

“Here is a great picture of Steve Van Doren [son of Vans founder Paul Van Doren] skateboarding wearing Serio shoes. It’s great to see Steve skating the Serio runners as skateboarding is the true essence of the Vans DNA!”

Vans catalogues

Vans catalogues

“To learn more about the Vans Serio line, and date the shoes, I also search for and collect early advertisements and catalogues.”

Zines

Zines

“Over the years we’ve created several books and zines. One zine is called ‘I ❤️ MY VANS’. It’s kinda a printed love letter series of zines covering the brand’s heritage. They feature special topics like Vans signature skateboard shoes and skateboard legends like Vans team riders Tony Alva. Right now we are working on a special zine especially about the Serio line. Stay tuned!”

Vans Serio 

Vans Serio

“We wanna highlight the Vans Serio line with special photographs to set the focus on the amazing details of the shoes. Vans only chose the best materials and wanted to offer their customers a program similar to what they were already offering for their classics line; the option to choose from a variety of materials, colours and a crazy size range from US 2,5 to US 20!”

Vans Breakers ad

Vans Breakers ad

“One of the most famous and stylish Serio shoes are the Vans ‘Breakers’. Vans even ran a special advertisement in Rolling Stones magazine.”

Vans Breakers

Vans Breakers

“Available in two different variants; high and mid, the Style #438 had a special tongue tag and the newly introduced flying V logo on the side! Back then these were the more expensive shoes in the line and featured a different construction to the classic vulcanised shoes called ‘cold cement construction’,” 

“Very Wild Style, Vans even had three Breakdance Teams! Vans had its own Breakdance Trailer that folded out to form a stage where the team would perform shows when Vans opened a new shop. Just recently Breakdance was added to the next Olympic summer games in Paris in 2024. Maybe we will see a Vans Breakdance shoe again after 40 years – that would be awesome.”

Vans Style #252

Vans Style #252

“Originally released as a long-distance running shoe, the Style #252 features the flying V logo, suede, nylon uppers and a Flexion foam sole. The Style #252 performed well and even received a 5-star rating from Runners World in 1982. Even if it wasn’t in Vans’ DNA, the brand was serious about their approach,

“A couple of years ago Vans Japan brought out a beautiful reissue of these. Hopefully we see more reissues from the Serio line again soon. Just recently with the newly introduced Lowland, we saw the style of Serio and the flying V logo newly interpret for the Vans lineup.”

Vans Style #160

Vans Style #160

“Here we see the Vans Serio ‘Ultra Baseball Cleat’ shoe, AKA Style #160.”

Vans Slam-Dunk outsole

Vans Slam-Dunk outsole

“Vans is famous for the iconic Waffle Sole. This beautiful sole of the Vans Serio basketball shoe shows that Jim Van Doren was a true engineer of great looking soles. The problem was that Vans had a range of widths available across the Serio line from a narrow to medium to wide, meaning the brand had to create countless moulds for soles which is very expensive.”

Vans Ultra Racquetball outsole

Vans Ultra Racquetball outsole

“Here is another beautiful detail of a Vans Serio Sole, this time from the ‘Ultra Racquetball’ shoe. Racquetball is a bit like Squash and a prime example of how Vans tried to create a shoe for all kinds of sports. Vans’ decision to move into producing shoes for multiple athletic sports ultimately cost way too much and caused the brand to reorganise the company.”

Vans Serio heel

Vans Serio heel

“In 1984, the year the Olympics took place in LA, Vans went into Chapter 11 for 3.5 years to prevent bankruptcy. The Serio shoes were great, but they just cost too much, and Vans was losing money on every pair they made. Luckily the prices on eBay stayed low for a long time but now the prices for vintage Vans Serio shoes are going through the roof. What used to be a $50 bargain is now around $500! The Sneaker game has for sure reached an Olympic level.”

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