As the story goes, after a game-winning, 99 yard play in October 1963 — the longest run from scrimmage in Ohio high school football history — Jack Henderson ran right out of the stadium, and was never seen or heard from again. A month later, a pair of golden brown cleats was found on the bank of Lake Eerie in Cleveland, Ohio, nearly 250 miles away. Legend has it that these were Henderson’s and the color came from the mileage he put on them running north through the entire state. In 1996, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles redesigned their license plates with colors unofficially inspired by Henderson’s legacy.
In 2013, Sole Classics owner Dionte Johnson translated Henderson’s golden-cleat story and the design of the 1996 Ohio plates to a pair of Vault by Vans Era LX, featuring an ambitious, first-of-its-kind color fade treatment. However, two weeks before the sneakers were set to ship, Vans and Sole Classics received word that 86 out of a planned 200 pairs did not meet quality control standards. Due to the unique process used to create the golden fade, a faint purple thumbprint was left on nearly half of the shoes. Vans and Sole Classics agreed to release the other 114 pairs on schedule and they sold out in minutes. Fast forward to 2021, and the remaining 86 pairs of “Carmens” are getting their due.