Vans Authentic Flat Lay

The Vans Authentic came from humble beginnings

The Vans Authentic, originally the forgettably named Vans Style #44 is a monument of sneaker history. They are maybe the perfect example of the three characteristics a sneaker needs to be successful for decades: versatility, simplicity, and comfort.

Vans-Authentic-Angled.jpg

First forged in 1966 as a deck shoe, the Authentics went on to be the foundations of skate culture in California, and then around the world. By the late 70s skateboarding and Vans were practically synonymous. 

Now though, in the 2020s, does a rigid stubbornness for form pay homage to the Authentics, or could they use just a wee bit more of an update for the everyday user? 

An easy silhouette for any outfit

Vans Authentic Review Wear Test

Following the classic model, I picked up a white colorway of the Vans Authentics. They’re a simple, easy silhouette that’s versatile and works well with loads of outfits. 

Simple materials simply work

Vans Authentic Canvas Outsole

The Authentics fit true to size and their canvas construction makes for an easy shoe to chuck on on your way out of the door. The canvas also makes the Authentics super breathable, and comfortable in hot weather, and sockless, if you so choose. 

The Vans Authentics are not our go-to winter shoe

They’re definitely not made for colder weather and rain. It took only a be of weatherproof testing to figure out that any water above the rubber midsole is just going to get straight through the canvas. 

Vans Authentic Waterproof Review

Midsole? What midsole?

Speaking of the midsole, it’s not really there. While the Authentics may have been the original “skate shoe”, now there’s not enough support there to protect your feet at all. This is quite common among the original Vans lineup and definitely pushes skaters towards their Skate (formerly Pro) series

Vans Authentic Review Bend Testing

The Authentics take a bit of time to wear in and did become somewhat formed to my feet, but there’s still not much there in terms of comfort. The lack of structure through the midsole and inner also means that the shoe bends quite sharply and doesn’t follow the shape of your foot. 

Vans Authentic Bend Testing

Like all the OG Vans, the Authentic loves a stain 

Of all the canvas Vans that I’ve tested, I’ve not found a pair that’s resistant to stains, and the Authentics are no different. Maybe Vans get away with it because of the long history of customizing Vans or their connection to the not-so-clean skate scene. 

Vans Authentic Review Stain Upper

Either way, stains that get on the upper will probably stay there, which is something to keep in mind, and something I definitely feel that Vans could address. 

Vans Authentic Stain Testing Clean

It’s no wonder the silhouette has lasted this long

Stain concerns aside, the upper construction of the Vans Authentic is surprisingly strong. For a shoe at this price point, they can really take a beating. This would definitely lean into the beat-up sneaker look that the Authentic fits so well into. 

Vans Authentic Outsole Detail

Whatever you think, the Vans Authentic is a classic sneaker

Ultimately the Vans Authentic could be more comfortable, more protective, and easier to clean. But, with a heritage so imbibed in sneaker culture, Vans have proven time and time again that they don’t need to constantly chase new technology in their shoes, to make something great. 

The Authentics are the same classic shoe that has sold for over 50 years, so who am I to complain?

Facts / Specs

Style: Classic, Sporty, Minimalist
Top: Low
Inspired from: Skate
Collection: Vans Authentic
Closure: Laces
Material: Canvas, Vulc Sole, EVA, Rubber Sole / Fabric
Season: Spring, Summer

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Author
Doug Turner
Doug Turner

Doug is a Scottish documentary and fashion photographer and filmmaker. Stumbling into the sneaker game later than usual, he started out behind a camera through long hiking expeditions around the world. Seeking a cleaner aesthetic, Doug now works mostly in fashion and sport, opting for outdoor locations rather than a studio.