Vans Era vs. Authentic: What’s the Difference?

by jacky chou
Updated on

Vans shoes are hugely popular, and although their origin is embedded in the Californian skate and surf culture, they are now also used by fashion-conscious individuals. Since their humble invention in 1966, they have become a household name for athleisure and retro style. Of the classic models Vans offers, most customers like to compare Vans Era vs. Authentic.

These are the two most popular models, with the Vans Authentic being the first to debut. It was produced in 1966 as skateboarding shoes and was initially called Style 44. The M4 Sherman tank inspired it.

Vans Era was released in 1976 and was initially called Style 95. It was produced by Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta, who were legendary skateboarders. 

These shoes are produced using Vans Technology, designed specifically for skateboarding to improve comfort and durability.  

What Is Vans Authentic?

Vans Authentic

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Vans Authentic shoes started the Van Skateboarding brand and are also the most popular. Low-top skate shoes feature a simple lace-up design and a casual canvas upper. Although Authentic has existed for over 55 years, new colors and patterns are released several times yearly to make them more appealing to customers. 

Some colors include black with a white sole, all white, and all black. The patterned options include Patchwork floral, gum sole, Cheetah print, and retro mart. You will also find more options at local skate shops.

Vans Authentic with print

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Vans Authentic comes in men’s sizes ranging from 3.5 to 13 and women’s sizes ranging from 5 to 14.5. Their prices start from $50.

The most significant benefit of Van Authentic is its comfort. They will not hurt your feet even after long walks or sporting days. You will not get cuts or blisters. Their canvas fabric breathes well, and their laces are not too long. Due to their waffle tread, they do not slip on rainy days. 

The Vans Authentic shoes are comfortable without being bulky and pair well with any outfit, whether skinny jeans or a summer dress. They can be worn by kids, women, and men.

However, these shoes develop holes in the canvas above the big toes after months of wearing them. 

What Is Vans Era?

Vans Era

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Vans Era was designed in 1976 after the Vans Authentic for skating. However, it is now used by both men and women in sports and daily wear. It is an attractive and comfortable shoe that fits and matches any outfit. 

These shoes are made with high-quality material, making them quite durable. Its design has been unchanged for years, and customers love it. However, it comes in various colors and prints, including black, white, floral, etc.

Vans Era is made of a lightweight waffle sole that provides good traction to the customer and helps them skate with more grip and consistency. You can wear this shoe all day without getting tired or developing fatigue. That’s why Basketballers like Mikey Williams love to wear them.

Different colors of Vans Era

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Vans Era has metal eyelets for securing laces and adding to their appearance. However, it is hard to clean with your hands. It is also a little narrow at the toe-end.

Differences Between Vans Authentic and Era

Vans Era and Authentic

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Although Authentic and Era shoe styles look similar outwardly, they are pretty different. That is why most people confuse them when they are picking either. However, there are some notable differences between these two shoes, as discussed in this article. 

The main differences between Vans Era and Vans Authentic include the following:

1. Year of Production

The Vans Authentic was the first shoe released by the Vans brand then Vans Era followed. Authentic was produced in 1966, and Era was created in 1976. Vans Era was the first Vans skating board shoe. Hence, it was the logical transition of Vans Authentic. 

2. Design

Vans Authentic

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a) Upper Portion

The Vans Authentic has a sturdy canvas upper, and the Vans Era features a durable double-stitched tri-color canvas upper. This makes Vans Era stronger and more durable than Vans Authentic. 

b) Collar and Tongue

Vans Authentic and Era’s color and tongue padding present one of the significant differences between the two. Vans Authentic collar and tongue are not padded. Vans Era, on the other side, has a large cushioned collar that wraps around the ankle of the wearer for extra comfort. 

This cushion makes people with shorter legs dislike the Vans Era and tend to choose Vans Authentic, which has a modern appearance. 

c) Materials

Vans Era shoe uppers are mostly made using suede, canvas, and leather uppers. They are also presently available in denim, the most robust cotton fabric. Vans Authentic is made using simple materials for the part of the shoe.

3. Style

Stylish Vans Era

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The Vans Authentic shoes are available in more than 30 designs and colors. Their variations include solid color, rainbow, skull, and checkerboard. Their minimal stitching gives them a clean appearance. These shoes have a traditional design that makes people prefer wearing them with shorts, especially during summer.

The Vans Era shoes are constructed with a distinctive blended design with a two-tone scheme that makes them eye-catching. This design and the double-stitching are what distinguishes them from Vans Authentic. 

The Vans Era has vibrant shades not present in the Vans Authentic shoe. They also have canvas upper that runs the entire length of the shoe. 

Similarities Between Vans Authentic and Vans Era

Vans Era shoes

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    • Both shoes have a low-top design

    • Both shoes feature metal eyelets and lace-up closure

    • They are both excellent for skating

    • They both have Vans’ distinctive waffle rubber outsole

Vans Era vs. Authentic – Which One Is Better?

Although Vans has other shoes like Vans Old Skool and Ward, which are also popular among its customers, Authentic and Era are among the best in their collection. However, these two shoes are not the same. But the decision of whether one is better than the other is a matter of personal preferences. 

Vans Era

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While some people prefer the stuffed tongue and collar of the Vans Era, others love the simplicity of Vans Authentic, which does not have any padding. 

Vans Authentic is simple and has a traditional style that brings the retro design to the modern days. This makes it ideal for skating and casual occasions. It can also withstand any weather without wearing off. 

Vans Authentic is not selective and can be worn by adults and children. 

The Vans Era is a modification of Vans Authentic. It features a padded collar and tongue for additional comfort. It is better in skating than the Vans Authentic. People loved it after its production due to its convenience compared to Vans Authentic. 

Vans Era shoes

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However, some people still prefer the Vans Authentic to Vans Era because of less foam around the ankle. This is because they give them freedom and offer less stuffing.

Skate lovers will find Vans Era more appealing because of the extra padding that makes them comfortable while skating. But those who are after flexibility, versatility, and simplicity will prefer Vans Authentic.

You can also check out if there’s a possibility of putting Vans in the washer as a method for maintaining their cleanliness.


Vans Era and Vans Authentic are similar shoes with very little difference. Vans Era is the modification of Vans Authentic and was made for skateboarding. It has extra padding at the collar and tongue and a double-stitched upper for extra cushioning during skating. 

On the other hand, Vans Authentic has maintained its retro style, versatility, and simplicity. You could choose either of them depending on your preferences.

Vans Authentic Vs. Vans Era – Fun Facts

1. Did you know that The Van Doren Rubber Company was the company’s actual name when it started its operations? Vans was a nickname, but the company decided it sounded snappier, and that’s how it came to be called Vans.

2. When they started their operation, Vans had shoe numbers, not names. The first Vans shoe, the Vans Authentic, was Style #44. The Vans Era shoe that was next to produce was Style #95, and The Slip On was Style #36.

3. The US Air Force wore Vans!In the 1970s, the US Defense Forces asked Vans to make shoes for them. They made canvas boots with a wool lining.

4. Did you know that Vans filed for bankruptcy in 1984? Yes, they did. They grew too fast, making them produce too many models of shoes, which caused a mess. However, they got off the hook due to the courts’ protection. But the original owners sold the company to the present owners.

Frequently Asked Question

1. Between Vans Era and Authentic, which one is more durable?

The upper of Vans Era is double stitched to make them robust and more durable. Therefore, the Vans Era is more durable than the Vans Authentic shoes.

2. Between Vans Era and Authentic, which one is true to size?

Vans Authentic and Vans Era’s size varies from person to person. Therefore, trying them on your feet before purchasing is advisable. 

If you compare them, Vans Authentic is more true to size. Due to the cushioning of the collar of the Vans Era, you may need to buy half a size up. 

3. Between Vans Era and Authentic, which one is the skater’s favorite?

Vans Authentic and Vans Era have pro versions that are more rigid, stiffer, and thicker than their classic versions. Of these two shoes, most skaters prefer Vans Era Pro because of their support and comfort.

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jacky chou


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