- Durable construction
- Lots of cushioning
- Elastic Sockliner fits perfect
- True to size
- Sleek design
- A bit on the narrow side
- Mesh material is less durable
Vans Ave Pro is more than just a technical masterpiece
Looking at a selection of the Vans range, you’d be forgiven for thinking that most of the brands’ technical boundaries were pushed back in the 70s with Tony Alva and Stacey Peralta. The Vans Ave (Anthony Van Engelen) Pros should put your minds at rest.
Easily Vans highest-spec skate shoe, the Ave Pro is packing as much innovation into it as possible. With solid construction, precision engineered inner soles, and a shank built into its seamless construction.
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It definitely helps that it looks damn good too. The Vans Ave Pro is an answer to modern skate shoes from the big sneaker brands, and it’s a bold response. I grabbed the cargo green colorway, which looks like a perfect, versatile shoe that’s not going to show all the marks of skating it.
The Vans Ave Pro has a long history that it's proud of
I also love the details in the stitchless design of the upper, the synthetic jazz stripe, and boxy “Off the Wall” branding on the tongue. The Ave looks like a modern skate shoe that’s paying homage to its roots both in the 90s and back in the 70s.
Tougher construction and a more personalized ride
The Ave is part of Vans Pro (soon to be called Skate) lineup. Aside from a promise of tougher construction and design features made for skaters, the Pro models come with specific inner soles. Which is a move away from the traditional silhouettes.
In the Ave Pro it’s their “Ultimate Waffle” inner, which provides both superior board feel and durability. Take out the removable inner (which is already more padded than your normal Vans) and you can see what’s going on.
Both when walking around and skating the Vans Ave Pro does actually give support and is super responsive. They’ve clearly gone to work on how your foot moves when you skate, which translates nicely into walking as well.
The Vans Ave Pro is narrow, for a reason
The Ave Pro fits true to size, if it’s a little narrow in the toe box. This is something that’s happening quite frequently in newer skate shoes, from the Vans Old Skool Pro to the Nike SB Nyjah Free 2. The reason is mainly for tricks and foot placement on your board. A narrower toebox is a more accurate toe box. I didn't find it a problem but I rarely have an issue with wide feet.
Aside from the width of the shoe, the shoe laces up snug and fits well, especially if you use the heel lock properly. Better yet, the Ave Pros have an elasticated wrap connecting the tongue to the inner lining of the sneaker, keeping everything tight even if you just slip them on.
It takes time to wear in, but it’s worth it
Another promise of the Pro series from Vans is their durability. With no stitching to fall apart and a thick rubber cup sole they really look durable. It’s quite a tough shoe in places and takes a bit of time to wear in because of that.
My favorite part of the Ave Pro is the Duracap of the toe and heel. It’s a lightly reinforced suede material that seems pretty strong against anything I could throw at it.
The mesh on the Vans Ave Pro is the weak point
I wish I could say the same for the mesh on the rest of the upper, but it started to wear down extremely quickly. I can imagine if it’s taking any beating away from reinforced areas, it won’t last long at all.
All the mesh is in an attempt to keep Vans as one of the more breathable shoes on the market. While the canvas construction of the originals easily achieves this, they have to work harder with the likes of the Ave Pros.
The breathability from the mesh gets lost in the liner
While the shoe is breathable, I felt that the elasticated sock liner was actually hindering this mission and the shoe still felt clammy after a day skating in it.
You shouldn’t need it, but the Ave Pro is pretty weatherproof
Another great feature of the Duracap is its weatherproof quality. Water just runs straight off of the top if it’s coming in drops. It’s not Gore-Tex so don’t go sticking your toe into anything and expect to come out dry.
More than anything the mesh is weather-proof let down as water just finds its way in through there instead.
Having said that, Vans market this as a skate shoe and not many people are foolish enough to skate in the rain, so it’s not a huge surprise that they’re not focusing on winter wear.
The Ave Pro is pretty solid when it comes to keeping stains out as well. The water-resistant Duracaps really help keep and wet stains out and the shoe cleans really easily. I had no issues there.