Vans is introducing its first pair of shoes designed by a Filipino. Nikko Pelaez, a 23-year-old artist and graduate of the archipelago's University of the East College of Fine Arts, won the Vans Asia Custom Culture shoe-design competition for 2018 with a design that borrows from myth. “Along with the Gods” prevailed over some 10,000 other designs from 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, among them Australia, China, Thailand, Japan and Singapore. Moreover, according to Coconuts Manila, Vans Philippines commissioned Pelaez last month to produce five hand-painted designs, on white Vans slip-ons, on the theme “Batang Maynila” (“Manila Kid”). The shoes were then presented to Francisco “Isko” Moreno, mayor of Manila, as a gift for his 45th birthday. They are not sold anywhere. “Along with the Gods” hit stores in the Philippines on Nov. 15. This year's Vans Asia Custom Culture shoe-design contest began on Sept. 5, with winners to be announced in December. At least one entry, for a design in support of the protests in Hong Kong, has been pulled from the contest.