A small subsection of professional skateboarders open Twitter each day. An even smaller number of skaters use the app for anything beyond reposting footage they’ve already cycled through Instagram and otherwise fulfilling contractual obligations. Beatrice Domond is the rare skateboarder—for the record, a sponsored amateur for Fucking Awesome, Vans, and Supreme, among others—who tweets observationally rather than commercially, weighing in on oversharing, face tattoos, and, yes, skateboarding.
“If I can put up a thought and it’s funny and it makes people laugh and it makes me laugh, I think that’s just the thrill of it,” Domond says.
Among those thoughts was this one, which the 26-year-old Florida native shared on March 15:
Domond does indeed have two shoes—more specifically, two colorways—on Vans. The first, a take on the AVE Pro, came out in January. Her personalized version of Fucking Awesome co-founder Anthony Van Engelen’s latest silhouette is recognizable for its all-white upper atop the model’s translucent midsole and sole. The second, released earlier this month, is a Skate Style 53, which gives a premium feel to a lesser-known model by way of an embossed leather upper and sea-green sole. The Style 53 is part of the reboot of Vans’ Skate Classics line.
The shoes are a milestone for a skater whose first big look came in 2014 by way of footage in Cherry, Supreme’s debut full-length video. Domond’s skating is at once light-footed and powerful, her flip tricks slightly off-kilter but unfailingly precise. She’s since relocated to New York, where she resides today, and has continued to amass footage that has appeared in videos like Supreme’s Blessed and Candyland.
And while the Vans colorways are a personal achievement for Domond, they also mark the first time a Black woman has had her name on a pair of shoes from the brand.
“Wow,” Domond says. “I didn’t know that. That’s so sick.”
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
You’ve had two shoes come out in the past few months. You’re in an interesting position because you’re also am. How did the conversation about the colorways originate with Vans?
Anthony’s shoe—that had come about just ’cause I think the way I was just wearing them. I think I was the only one wearing them at the time, because it hadn’t come out yet. So that was 2019, in August. So I was rocking them that entire summer, and I guess either marketing or anybody at Vans, they just saw me wearing them and they just were like, “She looks great in them. She looks cool. And she’s skating in them, and very well.” My skating was improving then, too. I had learned new tricks and I was posting them with the shoes, and I just thought they felt the energy around it. So I guess, one day, I had a talk with one of the head guys at Vans, Zach [Sheats], and he asked me, “Would you like to do a colorway on Anthony’s new shoe?” And I’m like, “Of course. I’d be honored.”
I got that done. But I was like, “This shoe is me, but I’m also a different person as well.” So that’s how the Style 53 came about. I’m like, “I like to be active. And that’s why I like the AVE Pro,” but when the Style 53 came to be, I was just talking. I was like, “Guys, I wear these shoes out, to hang out.” I was like, “A Vans, but dressier, but I can still skate in them.” I’m not going to give off the name, but there was another dress shoe that I was wearing, and I was skating it sometimes, kind of like Matt Hensley back in the early ’90s. So that’s how the second shoe came about.
Do you feel like there’s been any criticism in regard to putting out a shoe that doesn’t necessarily look like a traditional skate shoe?
Yeah. Honestly, during the process of making the Style 53—it’s probably selfish, but I didn’t think of anybody else. I literally forgot that the shoe was going to come out and people could buy it. It’s honestly just for me. So in that sense, I don’t care, because I literally just made it for myself. And it’s something I can have. And then Vans can be stoked that I’m wearing the shoe.
What did you like about skating the AVE?
I had just got off of more of a techier brand; I rode for the Swoosh two years before. It was my tech phase. I wanted [it] to look like more of an athletic shoe. So when I saw they were working on the AVE, I was like, “This is my vibe right now. I’m into this. I like it.” It was my preference then. Still my preference, but that’s just how I am.
Are there other Vans models that you skate and would be interested in putting your stamp on?
Sometimes, on my off days, I’ll just go on Google or try to go to a Vans store, where they have those old books of the history of Vans or whatever. And I’ll flip through them and just see things I like and be like, “Oh, can we do this?” It’s like, “Oh, we don’t do this anymore.” I’m just always thinking for the future. I mean, right now my main focus are these two shoes because it’s literally me right now, but I’m sure in the future—I change every day. Maybe a Half Cab one day would be so sick to put my stamp on.
I kind of like to go out of skating to get my inspiration.
You mentioned Matt Hensley as an inspiration, in terms of footwear. What other skaters have inspired the shoes you wear?
It’s really outside of skating that my eye catches footwear. I’m into Prada loafers. I like Doc Martens. But normally, in skating—’cause I feel like once somebody is on something, not to offend anyone, but everyone kind of all jumps onto that one. We started making the clear bottom, and now, like, 10 other shoe brands are doing [it]. There’s no inspiration there. I kind of like to go out of skating to get my inspiration.
How far do you think is too far out of skating?
I’m not bringing crazy things in. I take it from that and I make it skateboarding, 100 percent. That’s how I look at it. There’s some people who will bring fashion into skating and it’s gnarly. That defeats the purpose of skating, almost, in a sense. So I’m not doing that. I’m just doing what I like naturally. And everything in my life is skating, so it’ll come out and show skateboarding.
So what do you think, then, when you see something like a Louis Vuitton skate shoe?
That’s cool. Yeah, it’s cool.
I think Lucien Clark is cool. I think the shoe looks cool. I think the price point is obviously beyond what your average skateboarder is going to pay. I was looking through the new Thrasher when it showed up in the mail and there’s a Louis Vuitton ad, there’s a Celine ad. What role do you think those brands can play in skating?
I don’t know. My thing is, if they’re doing it right and they have the right people behind it and real skaters out in the streets, then it is what it is. I don’t know. I don’t know. To each his own. They can make that skateboarding, but I can’t really speak on it because that’s not skateboarding to me. Skateboarding to me is, like, Vans. That’s just what I grew up on. Who am I to say that that’s not what they grew up on, thinking of skating?
Historically, there have been skate shoes that were designed for women, and they were always very gendered. Globe back in the day had that line Gallas. And it was heavy on colors that I guess the company thought would maybe appeal more to women. And those shoes only came in women’s sizes, whereas I think the shoes that you’re putting out, they’re available across all sizes, right?
Yeah. And also, you have to remember: You know who was making those women’s shoes? Men. Not women. Men were making shoes, thinking, “Here’s what women want.” How do you know what women want if you’re not a woman? So that was one thing that was wrong off the bat. So it’s literally me, a woman, with the Vans team, working on these shoes together. It’s from my brain. Back then, it’s like, “Oh, girls like pink.” It’s like, “Yeah, but what if we don’t want it on a shoe?” I feel like we have more control now. At least I do. They let me choose all the colors to how I wanted it. I went through the whole process with them. It’s for everybody. I wanted men and women to wear my skate shoe because men and women skate—not just men and not just women.
In designing these shoes, what was the most surprising part of the process for you?
How the shoe is made. It didn’t have anything to do with the design process, because obviously the silhouette is there and you’ve just got to put your colors on it, and your patterns. But I wanted to know, deeply, how Vans shoes are made and why they cost how they cost, because I wanted to make them cost-effective as well—especially with the South 53, because it’s leather and there’s [embossing] on it. So with that, I took a class at Vans and they were telling me how the shoe is made, why it costs what it costs on the line—things like that. So that was the most surprising thing: I got to see where they’re made and what time it goes into it, and how it shapes [to] the foot and all that. So that was interesting to learn. That was really surprising. I didn’t know anything about that.
Not that you’d have something to prove with the shoes, but what would you like to get out of having these shoes with your name on them?
I mean, it already happened. Once, I saw two kids—one in LA, one in New York. They didn’t see me, but I saw them, and they’re skating in my AVE colorways.
What did that feel like?
It’s so sick. I was coming out of my apartment and I’m going downstairs to get something to eat, and this longboarder zooms by. The first thing I see on a person is their shoes; that’s just how my eyes work. And he has my colorway on. I’m, like, flipping out. I wanted to be like, “Thank you,” and give him a hug. I was so happy. I was like, “Wow. That’s so cool.” And there’s this kid that filmed a video on Instagram in my Style 53, and he’s ripping. And that’s all I could care about. My name is on that shoe, and he kickflipped with it. I don’t know. It’s deeper than just money or whatever.
It might get to the point where people buy the shoes without knowing who you are.
That’s cool, too. That means I did a good job design-wise.