Size and fit

The Vans Gum Era is available in both men’s and women’s sizing. Compared to the original Era, this gum sole edition feels a little bit narrow on the forefoot. Most recommend getting this in a half size bigger.

Shoe wearers can comfortably lace up this low-top because of the 5-ring metal eyelets. For a looser fit, one can lace up until the fourth eyelet.

Vans Gum Era Style

The Era style was inspired by its predecessor design - the Authentic. Both feature the double stitched-up vamp and 5-eyelet lace holders. While not clearly visible to the eye, among the major differences from both models are the padded collar and reinforced heel overlay that provides added comfort and support respectively.

Another stand-out is the colorway. Upon its initial release, the Era was only available in the red-navy blue colorway, contrary to the all-white Authentic. Additionally, the Era first carried the “Off the Wall” red and white logo on the heel tab.

When it comes to styling the Vans Gum Era, there is a myriad of options as it appeals to both men and women, skaters and non-skaters alike for its classic and clean design.

  • Smart Casual Men and Women: This classic low-top lace-up shoe can be worn with light khaki trousers, a white round neckline shirt, and a navy blue blazer for a fresh look.
  • Casual Men: A pair of straight denim jeans, a tee with vintage print and some aviator glasses is always a fool-proof style.
  • Casual Women: For a boyish look, wear this shoe with a plain black fitted long-sleeved blouse and tucked into plaid harem pants. Fold the seams of the pants to show more ankle. To complete the look, put on a black choker.

Notable Features

The gum sole covering the entire sidewall of the shoe lacks the pinstripe lining which is visible in the original Era. The solidity of the gum sole contributes to the sleekness of the silhouette. The black, a favorite color option by many, has the heel branding also in the same color as the gum sole which makes the whole midsole look seamless.

Vans Gum Era History

Ever since brothers Paul Van Doren and Jim Van Doren, along with business partners Gordon Lee and Serge Delia, opened the first Vans store in 1966, they have always attracted the skateboarding scene. 

In the 70s when hippies and flower power ruled, skaters were appealed to the brand for its rugged design, sticky sole, and non-conformist type of shoe designs. After launching its first design, the Vans Style #44, or more popularly known as the Authentic, more and more skaters were seen donning on this kick while out and about doing their routines.

                 An Era is born

Knowing very well of the cult-like following they created, Vans tapped California’s skateboarding team, the Zephyr Competition Team (also known as Z-Boys), to design a shoe with skateboarding in mind. 

It happens that two of the top Z-Boys, Tony Alva, and Stacy Peralta, were huge fans of the Authentic and were on-board with the idea and came out with Vans’ second model - Era. 

While the Era is the second model crafted by the manufacturer, this was their first skateboarding shoe. With the help of Avila and Peralta, Era features a padded collar for extra comfort and support. The only colorway available back then was the two-tone red and navy blue.

                 Off the Wall

Era, also known as Vans #95, catapulted the “Off the Wall” campaign. As the model was marketed mostly to the skating consumers and skaters were discovering new routines, “Off the Wall” was the perfect tagline for the shoe. 

Referencing to a trick that skaters do, “Off the Wall” meant to ride the board on an empty pool all the way to the edge of the rim and using the momentum to defy gravity, going “Off the Wall.”

Since then, the red and white logo features the slogan at the heel bottom of every Vans footwear.

Being one of the timeless silhouettes in the sneaker world, Era has had numerous collaborations with artists, high-end fashion brands, museums, and non-profit organizations.

Nice to know

The all-black color variation has:

  • A black rubber waffle outsole 
  • Black tonal laces
  • Black metal eyelets
  • Black stitching

While the other colorways have:

  • Brown rubber waffle outsole
  • White laces
  • Silver metal eyelets
  • White stitching

Facts / Specs

Style: Retro, Sporty, Minimalist
Top: Low
Inspired from: Skate
Closure: Laces
Material: Canvas, Gum Sole, EVA / Fabric
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Features: Breathable

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Author
Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.