Summary

We spent 5.7 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what sneaker fanatics think:

7 reasons to buy

  • Most reviewers of the Vans Era appreciate the comfort brought by the padded tongue and collar. 
  • It has a soft insole that offers excellent cushioning and impact protection, according to the majority of skaters.
  • A lot of wearers say that it is among the versatile Vans sneakers that can match a variety of outfits.
  • The low-top Vans Era is of high-quality and well made, according to many impressed wearers.
  • A handful of testers appreciate the protection of the shoe’s cushioned tongue and ankle collar. 
  • Like other Vans Era shoes, it has a rubber outsole that offers an excellent grip that is lauded by many users. 
  • The low-top shoes’ slim profile and flat orientation allow many users a variety of movements as it does not restrict the feet in making skate tricks and jumps.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some have noticed that the Vans Era makes the feet prone to chafing as the tight-fitting padded collar often rubs on the skin.
  • Some have noted that the newer batches of the Vans Era are tighter and narrower than what is previously released.

Bottom line

The classic low-top silhouette of the Vans Era has been unchanged for years, but its durability, comfort, and cushioning has remained the same. 

The lightweight waffle sole has high traction while its double-stitched canvas upper and padded interiors make them conducive for skating and walking for hours without the feet feeling fatigued.

Facts

Style: Classic
Top: Low
Inspired from: Skate
Collection: Vans Era
Closure: Laces
Material: Canvas, EVA, Rubber Sole
Price: $50
Colorways: Black, Blue, Grey, Multi, Purple, Red
Special editions: 15 special editions
Size
Small True to size Large
Fit
Tight Loose
Support
Neutral Stable
Flexibility
Stiff Flexible
Breathability
Warm Breathable
Cushioning
Firm Plush
Durability 9/10
Comfort 7/10
Traction 9/10
See more facts

Rankings

A top rated sneaker
A top rated Vans sneaker
A popular pick

Expert Reviews

Experts are sneaker fanatics, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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  • First look | Mr. Snoot

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The Vans Era is available in men’s and women’s sizing. With a low-top silhouette, this kick allows the ankle to move without any restriction. It has a lacing system that provides secure lockdown.

A classic lace-up skate shoe, the Vans Era has been in the brand’s catalog for years and has had several colorways and combinations to suit up almost every style. In fact, the looks of this heritage skate shoe design are limitless. This as Vans Customs has allowed this classic silhouette to have varied colors and prints from stripes, polka dots, and checkered patterns in the canvas upper.

The upper also had several material variations from the original canvas, to suede and leather to suit the needs and preferences of its skateboard-loving users. While patterns and prints are a fresh and stylish option, most skaters that have patronized the Vans Era over the years have been obsessed with the solid colorways like black, blue, white and red. The low-profile sneaker with cushioned details also has remained versatile as it blends well with different casual wear from jeans, shorts, pants for men and even skirts and jumpers for women.

From the skate parks in its early years, the Vans Era has now been visible as a casual lifestyle sneaker worn in malls, public parks, and other venues as many of its younger patrons have taken a liking to its slim profile and lightweight construction for daily use at home, at work or play.

As the second model to be released from the extensive Vans shoe catalog, it continues to be a favorite design in the skating community. It also had a large following among the punk culture who have embraced the ERA as a favorite kick in the 1990s. While it retails for only $50, there are some iterations of the Vans Era that retails to as high as $200 as they were issued as limited releases, collaborations with professional skaters and celebrities, and rare styles.

Among those high-end iterations of the Vans Era include the partnership with high-end retailer Supreme called “Power, Corruption, and Lies” which can go as high as $200 per pair in reseller sites. Other notable collabs and variations include the critically praised Fear of God x Vans Era and Vans Wingtip Era.

The vintage silhouette and features of Vans Era that is adapted to the needs of skaters is its main draw. The low-top shoes’ takes pride in its padded interiors from the footbed, collar, tongue, and toe box assuring comfort and impact absorption. The waffle sole with tread patterns has a solid grip and traction while its slim profile guarantees freedom of movement.

Some ten years before the Vans Era was launched, Paul Van Doren left Randolph Rubber to put up his own company. Together with his brother James Van Doren, they founded Van Doren Rubber Company with the help of other friends in 1965 releasing the Vans Authentic, its first canvas and rubber combination sneaker. The simple silhouette, lightweight, and fantastic grip had many skateboarders favored using the deck shoe #65 in their skating activities.

The design of the Vans Era came upon the need to create a shoe that is more aligned with the requirements of skaters. While the original Vans Authentic had a slimmer silhouette, the Authentic had a rugged upper and a vulcanized sole suited for board tricks and jumps. To further improve the design,  the Vans Era was designed by skaters for skaters in 1975. Vans tapped Z-Boys members Tony Alva and Stacey Peralta who made a skate-friendly version that featured additional padding in the collar that delivers improved comfort. The first design for the Vans Era was launched in March 1976 with a rubber gum outsole and a canvas upper with double stitching and additional padding for enhanced comfort.

At the onset, skaters can only own a pair of the Vans Era in navy blue and red colorways with some versions in two-tone iterations of the red and blue. Known as Style #95, the Era, later on, had several colorways as part of the company’s diversification of the style. The Era was also instrumental in the rise of the company’s “Off the Wall” slogan with the signature red-and-white logo of the company plastered at the heel.

  • The longevity of the Vans Era silhouette has also made them a favorite among celebrities that include Rihanna, Adam Levine, Ray Rice, Chris Brown, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and Adam Brody to name a few.
  • Each version has a double-stitched canvas or leather upper with padded collar, tongue, and toe box for superior comfort.
  • Metal eyelets hold the tonal lacing for a secure lockdown.
  • The shoe has a vulcanized rubber sole, and waffle tread outsole ensures durability and high traction.

Comparison

Author
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Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sneakerhead turned sneaker industry expert that believes a good outfit begins from the feet up. His aunt currently isn't speaking to him for wearing a pair of kicks at his cousin's wedding. He spends most of his time trying to keep on top of the latest releases, hitting up his contacts and doing what needs to be done to secure his next pickup. Danny has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.

daniel@runrepeat.com