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Vans Authentic trainer - Cloggs Hall of Fame
The skating yin to Converse’s basketballing yang, Vans Authentics were - like high top Chuck Taylors - the company’s first major style, and continue to be a defining part of their public image several decades after they were first launched. Ideal for skateboarders, the Authentics featured a thick, gummy sole to keep the feet firmly planted and a canvas upper that encouraged all manner of customisation from the notoriously creative skating community.
Based in Southern California among a burgeoning counterculture movement, it was impossible for the founders of the Vans trainers brand to miss the explosion in popularity of skating in the mid-60s. The company knew they were on to a winner when their first 12 customers returned not once, but twice to complete the eventual purchase of their skate shoes (the first time to pick up the newly made shoes - the second time to pay, after the owners realised they weren’t able to provide change), the very same style that would become known as “Authentics”.
The style has been virtually untouched since (save for the inclusion of Vans’ patented "waffle sole"), and is still to this day the shoe of choice for millions of boarders the world over along with Vans Eras, which feature the same sole and silhouette as the Authentics but with a slightly more padded upper.
1. The main selling point - at least early on - of the Vans Authentics was what the company later patented as the "waffle sole". A series of interconnecting geometric shapes offered incredible grip while also being highly resistant to splitting as the foot shifted weight in order to remain balanced.
2. To counteract the thick soles, the upper of the Authentic is made from a soft canvas that allows for any number of customisations.
3. The minimalist lacing system allows wearers to tighten the shoes as they wish, but also means that the foot can be easily slipped in and out at will.
Where Converse have been a common site from hanging around the high street right up to walking down the aisle, Authentics have largely remained an icon of laid back, leisurely style, with a strong strain of skating culture running through. They’re best worn alongside clothes of a similar ilk - t-shirts, jeans, hoodies, caps and beanies.
We stock a huge range of Vans’ Authentic range for men, women and kids in a massive selection of colours, including the block colour “mono” ranges. We also stock the Authentic’s sister style, the Era, and Vans slip ons.
Here’s some of our favourite styles and colours:
Photos courtesy of Cool Spotters.