What to Know
The latest viral internet challenge has people all over the world throwing their Vans shoes in the air to see how they fall
The Vans Challenge started Saturday, when Twitter user @Ibelievthehype asked the Internet if it knew that Vans would also land upright
The post spurred thousands of people to test the theory themselves, and film the results
What goes up must come down -- and land upright, apparently, if it's a Vans shoe.
The latest viral internet challenge has people all over the world throwing their Vans shoes in the air and filming them as they come back down to Earth, all to test a theory.
It all started on Saturday, when Twitter user @Ibelievthehype posted a video to Twitter of her chucking her checkered Vans in the air, saying "Did you know it doesn’t matter how you throw your Vans they will land facing up?"
The shoes in the vid do indeed land face up. The video garnered 10.2 million views, and the Vans Challenge was born.
Isaac Newton would be proud -- thousands of people have since filmed themselves throwing their shoes in the air, in what has become somewhat of an impromptu, worldwide physics experiment. In most of the videos, even when multiple pairs are thrown at once, the Vans shoe lands sole-down. In some videos, even when it seems certain the shoe has not landed upright, it appears to be moved by an invisible hand to make it upright again.
Professor of Physics at Temple University Jim Napolitano told Complex the phenomenon was simple. "The left shoes roll over the left. The right shoes roll over the right," he said. "The shoe is getting designed to pivot over that part of the shoe. And that’s what you’d expect. If you look at your foot, the inside is concave and the outside is convex. There must be something about the way the mass is arranged in the shoe."
With so many shoes being thrown in the name of science, it was only a matter of time until people found the exceptions to the rules. Browse the web and you'll find a corner dedicated to Vans Challenge fails.
In a highly unscientific test conducted in the NBC 4 newsroom, we found that Vans do tend to land sole-down most of the time, while Chuck Taylors also land upright often and Doc Martens only sometimes.