Summary

We spent 8 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what sneaker fanatics think:

8 reasons to buy

  • Most of the shoe buyers find this version of Vans Era fits comfortably on the feet.
  • Numerous reviewers state that the gum sole provides more traction on different surfaces.
  • Several users appreciate how easily this shoe can be cleaned because of the canvas material.
  • The padded collar offers cushion and support, mentions some consumers.
  • A few purchasers like the breathability and the lightweight feel on the feet.
  • Because of its classic silhouette, it can match any outfit according to some buyers.
  • According to some users, the color selection ensures a fail-proof styling.
  • Owning this low-top Era classic silhouette comes in a pocket-friendly price tag, shares many testers

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some reviewers share that the upper fabric easily rips after a few days of usage.
  • A handful of testers state the gum sole separates from the upper a couple of weeks of constant wear.
  • Several buyers mention that it takes some time to break-in and causes blisters on the first few days.

Bottom line

This iteration of the timeless Vans Era offers the same comfort and style except for the one major difference - its gum sole. The brown color of the gum sole adds an overall rugged vibe to the already casual look of the shoe.

Featuring the Vans signature rubber waffle outsole makes it more usable for any occasion without the hefty price tag of owning a pair of classic sneakers.

Facts

Base model: Vans Era
Style: Retro
Top: Low
Inspired from: Skate
Collection: Vans Era
Closure: Laces
Material: Canvas, EVA, Gum Sole
Price: $50
Special editions: 14 special editions
Size
Small True to size Large
Fit
Tight Loose
Support
Neutral Stable
Flexibility
Stiff Flexible
Breathability
Warm Breathable
Cushioning
Firm Plush
Durability 6/10
Comfort 8/10
Traction 9/10
See more facts

Expert Reviews

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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

 

 

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