A user is calling out Vans after seeing a pile of destroyed shoes outside of one of its stores—though there may be more to the story than it initially seems.
In a video with over 1.9 million views, TikTok user Sophia Schiaroli (@soso_swag) shows a stack of shoes placed in front of a Vans store.
“What the actual f*ck, Vans?” she says at the beginning of the video. Later, she notes that the shoes have been cut to prevent them from being worn.
@soso_swag to not only throw out brand new shoes but slash them so people in need can’t use them??? @Vans will not be coming back to your store anytime soon #vansphilly #vans #philly #greenscreen ♬ original sound – Sophia Schiaroli
“I was on the way to my workout class and I saw a guy frantically throwing these shoes in front the Vans store, and I stood there, like, kind of confused, and he was like, ‘Vans just, like, dumped all of these to throw out,’” Schiaroli recalls.
“Vans literally threw out all these shoes, and not only did they just throw out these shoes on the street in their boxes—they cut them so people could not use them,” she adds. Later Schiaroli says, “With the homeless population in this city, this is absolutely disgusting.”
In the caption, Schiaroli writes, “To not only throw out brand new shoes but slash them so people in need can’t use them??? @Vans will not be coming back to your store anytime soon.”
Commenters were initially appalled by the brand’s apparent wastefulness.
“@Vans do better,” stated a commenter.
“I don’t even throw out my gently used shoes,” added another. “This needs an explanation.”
However, others countered that this is common industry practice.
“This is what every corporate company that throws product away,” said a user. “I’ve seen a $400 lazy boy get tossed cause of a scratch and they had to slice it up.”
“Y’all just find out about this? It’s not just vans,” offered a second.
Even more said that they’ve seen Vans experience issues recently that could have led to this solution.
“A lot of vans shoes have been coming in with mold, we have to cut those ones,” alleged a commenter. “We usually donate but can’t with those.”
“Idk about this specific store but since Covid vans has had a big mold issue with shipment sitting on the coast,” explained a second. “I’ve personally had to sift through hundreds of pairs of shoes and throwing away any with the tiniest spec of mold. And we had to cut them up too. It’s a health issue.”
That said, Vans has been accused of this behavior in the past. In 2015, a video showing a pile of destroyed Vans outside of a store went viral; Vans acknowledged the incident in a since-deleted Tumblr post saying they were “looking into this situation.”
In response to these comments, Schiaroli said that Vans should have a clear procedure to follow to donate shoes it cannot sell.
“Regardless of any possible explanation for what I saw up close yesterday, vans needs better practices that are both socially responsible and eco friendly,” she stated. “Throwing this quantity of footwear out is wasteful. How can big companies like this not figure out how to avoid mold in their supply.”
Responding to Schiaroli’s video, Vans confirmed in an email to the Daily Dot that the shoes were not fit to be donated.
“Vans will always prioritize the donation of useable products to those in need. After investigating the situation at our Walnut St. location, we have confirmed that these products were deemed unsafe to donate,” a brand spokesperson stated. “That said, we are actively revisiting our retail protocols to ensure that products are properly recycled.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Schiaroli via email.