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Vans Old Skool vs.Ward vs. Era vs. Authentic: Differences and Reviews 2024

Vans Old Skool vs.Ward vs. Era vs. Authentic: Differences and Reviews 2024

    Vans is a household name when it comes to its shoes.Since their humble beginnings in 1966 they have become hugely popular with skateboarders and fashion-conscious lifestyle customers alike.Vans have been continuously copied but never beaten on their comfort, durability and style.Of the many models that Vans offer, it is their Classics that have the most appeal. These are the Ward,Old Skool,Era and Authentic.They seem to be identical at first sight,which can be a little challenging for people interested in either of them.But still, there exist some noticeable variances that set the four sneakers apart.

    What is the difference between Vans Old Skool and Ward?What's the difference between Vans Old Skool and Era?What's the difference between Vans Old Skool and Authentic? What's the difference between Vans  Authentic and Era?

    Vans Ward vs.Authentic:which is better?What is the difference between Vans Era vs. Authentic?Vans Old Skool vs.Ward vs. Era vs. Authentic: what style of vans is the best?What style of vans are most popular?Which should you buy?In this article,I’m gonna compare some of the similarities and differences in price and design right here, before giving my overall opinion on which of the four I think are some of the best Vans around to help figure out the answer.Eventually, you’ll have the option to pick the better option for you.

Cover Photo:Tim Mossholder on

Vans Old Skool Review

The Old Skool was the first Vans shoe to feature the ‘Side Stripe’, which was a doodle that founder Paul Van Doren did and then incorporated into shoe designs.It is the most iconic and popular line in the Vans brand. After their debut in 1977, they are the most thriving skate sneakers in the footwear field.Old Skool created a huge craze in the 90s for its highlighted stitching.


It’s famous for it’s special leather panel with premium features, giving the most durability. This shoe style is incorporated into the street style design with the top-ranked feature.Old skool remains as iconic as ever, with reinforced toe caps, supportive padded tops, and comes with its signature rubber waffle outsoles.More structured than the rest, the Old Skool has a nice padded sole and bold contrast stitch detailing. The platform Old Skools were even worn by Julia Roberts in Notting Hill, giving us all the 90’s inspiration we need.

Old Skool by Vans has adequate paddings. These plushy parts sit on the collars of the shoe. As several buying guides claim, this feature benefits most people who want optimum comfort and a snug fit.While these shoes belong to the low-top classification, their paddings still give them a slight edge in overall height.Old skool shoes have such a versatile style that can go with any outfit you wear with them. You can wear it with jeans, or skirts that are exclusively casual or you can wear it with formal attire.

Vans Old Skool Pros and Cons

  • Fits almost any occasion.

  • Hands-down best skating shoes.

  • A wide range of color and design patterns.

  • Suede accents for design and durability.

  • Easy to clean.

  • Signature waffle sole.

  • Weatherproof.

  • Fits true to size.

  • Padded collars.

  • Relatively breathable.

  • Parts of it still susceptible to stains.

  • Can be hard to put on.

  • The canvas part feels a bit thin.


Vans Ward Review

Vans Ward is like a twin brother of old skool,but it is an authentic Vans model, published in august 2020.Vans Ward mainly creates a sensational craze in youngsters because they find the same comfort and classy look at a minimum price.It is vulcanized and cushioned to provide as much comfort as possible. Many Vans fans address Vans Ward as low-profile shoes.


The Vans Ward seamlessly blended classic style and comfort, making it an excellent addition to your everyday sneaker rotation. Without hurting your budget, this kick offers durability and versatility essential when looking for a street-style sneaker.Vans Wards has a low-profile design, and flexible vulcanized sneaker construct, together with an original waffle outsole for heightened grip.It is a low-top, lace-up design that is always going to be there appropriate for event attire.Unlike the Vans’ Old Skool, the Vans Ward does not have extra line stitches on the upper.So,the Vans Ward comfortable blend of a skateboarder’s shoe and casual presentation.

The most significant feature of this vulcanized sneaker is its suede and canvas-covered upper portion that has ample cushioning to maximize comfort.What’s even greater about these shoes is how they come in many different colors that you’ll love. The footwear is extremely amazing and you can always be a part of it.You can wear it anywhere you want.

Vans Ward Pros and Cons

  • They come in many different colors.

  • It is very comfortable to wear.

  • Classic look and fashionable style that is wearable on any occasion.

  • Great for different activities.

  • Easy to maintain.

  • Signature waffle sole.

  • Cool vibe.

  • Ample foot support.

  • Durable.

  • Narrow toe.

  • Size run small.

  • Longer break-in period.

  • Difficulty attributed to maintaining the white version’s outsoles.

Vans Era Review

The Vans Era,originally called the Vans #95,was introduced in the 1970’s, and it was the first skate shoe to actually be designed by skateboarders.Because of that, it has one very important design difference when compared to the Authentic: a padded collar area.The Era was redesigned in 2014 and had the original’s classic elements and style. It is a skateboarding style shoe that appeals to many people.


The Era was designed with the help of skate legends Tony Alva and Stacey Peralta. Perfect for the skate park, but also perfect for day-to-day city wandering it provides a more padded upper sole and around the shoe in general. Featuring sturdy canvas uppers in a range of heritage colorways, the Era energizes our timeless low top silhouette with effortless style. In addition to the supportive collar, this classic lace-up shoe comes equipped with metal eyelets and signature rubber waffle outsoles.

Now as easily spotted paired with summer dresses, chinos, or swim shorts, the Eras still hold up on top of a board. Thanks to their versatility and rigorous loyalty to their initial cult following, Vans have superseded California and become one of the most recognizable names in sneaker history. 

Vans Era Pros and Cons

  • A classic silhouette that works with any wardrobe.

  • The shoe comes in 15 special editions.

  • Durable canvas construction.

  • Beautiful shoe that has paddings on the collar and tongue.

  • Comfortable once worn in.

  • Fits true to size.

  • It is made from high-quality material and is very durable.

  • It can withstand harsh conditions.

  • Breathable.

  • Takes time to break in.

  • The shoe has a good fit, but the collar sometimes rubs against the feet and scratches the skin.

  • Hard to clean stains out.

  • Not suitable for winter wear.

  • Narrow for wide feet, so it is better to go for one size up.

Vans Authentic Review

The Authentic, first called the #44 Deck Shoe, was the Vans brand's first sneaker  produced in 1966.And because it was such a popular style, other styles of Vans were birthed from small tweaks made to this original Vans Authentic design.With a retro style and classy look,this shoe got the brand maximum recognition as it was the best for skating.Present day, the Authentics are offered in a wide range of colors and designs.


Vans Authentic has been retaining its reputation for decades, and it is not a surprise if you look at the simple and classy designs from then till now. These versatile designs grant you the versatility to wear your favorite sneakers on many occasions and not only for skating.This low-top sneaker comes with a simple yet stylish lace-up design. The upper portion of Vans authentic is constructed with canvas.Authentic shoes don’t have as much padding and cushioning as Era shoes, though not everyone enjoys padded shoe collars, so it is not too big of a downside for Authentics.

With high-quality materials, Vans Authentics can endure constant usage and unfavorable weather. Therefore, active and sporty people can still put their faith in the original Vans shoes.

Vans Authentic Pros and Cons

  • They're ubiquitous, yet unique.

  • They're comfortable without being bulky.

  • They pair well with everything from a pair of skinny jeans to a summer dress.

  • They required zero breaking in.

  • Good range of motion due to low-top and lace-up design

  • Breathable.

  • Cheap.

  • Durable.

  • Come in lots of colors.

  • Lack arch support.

  • They lack cushioning.

  • Tight for wide feet.

  • The upper portion gets dirty too soon.

Where to Buy Vans Shoes the Cheapest?

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Vans Old Skool vs.Ward vs. Era vs. Authentic: Comparision Side by Side


Actually, the design or outlook is the major difference among these four shoes. According to their outward appearance, they are fairly similar, so if you want to purchase any one of them, you might be confused.But once you are aware of these identical design variations, you can find the ones you want.Here are the major design variations of them:

  • Tongue

There is no distinctive design in the Old Skool,Era and Authentic.Their tongues come with a minimal design. They leave this part blank for a minimalistic look.However,Vans Ward have their own logo in white(a label with their name printed on the small patch) that seems quite stylish to look at. On the other hand,the collar and tongue of the Vans Authentic are not padded. Unlike the Vans Old Skool,Era or Ward which is padded for extra comfort.

  • Seam

The seams on four pairs of Vans skate sneakers also give them different outside appearances. If you look closely, you can easily notice the differences between seams on the front, back, side of both shoes.

  • Jazz Stripe

The jazz stripe is the most iconic and famous difference between Vans Old Skool and Ward. The Old Skool has sewn lines on the upper, a random doodle was drawn by its founder, Paul Van Doren, which was originally referred to as the “Jazz Stripe”,but there are none in the Vans Ward.

The Authentic has less stitching on the upper, which gives it a sleeker, streamlined look. Although this may be an issue for skateboarders, most people will be happy with the Era. The Era has more stitching on the upper, making the shoe look more casual. It is great for people who don’t skateboard.

  • Insole Interior

Vans Ward,Authentic,Era and Old Skool has completely opposite interior in sense of design. For instance, Vans Old Skool,Authentic,Era ave an off-white interior, while the Vans Ward has a black interior. 



Vans Ward and Old Skool have the same branding style along with the materials.Most Vans Authentics features their proprietary UltraCush HD, which is praised for enhanced support. This insole ensures you have the optimum support for jumping downstairs or running off stunts.The midsole of the Vans Era uses EVA foam. This EVA foam is very common and comfortable, and many companies use it. 

2.Outsole Material

Vans Old Skool - Vans Old Skool shoes come with the signature waffle sole. Moreover, the added vertical lines on the outsole provide excellent grip. So, you can skate or perform any athletic activity without the fear of slipping.  

Vans Ward - The waffle sole has new and improved vertical lines which make which offer superior handling. And Vans ward has a darker brown color outsole.

Vans Era - The outsole of the Vans Era is Vans signature rubber outsole that provides a great look while giving a good grip to the skaters.

Vans Authentic - Alongside the signature waffle rubber outsole is quite durable that provides greater traction. This outsole ensures better contact to the skateboard and ground while skating. At present, Vans Authentic has a work shoe that features a lugged vulcanized outsole. 


Vans Old Skool - It use the durable canvas upper that gives these shoes some toughness.Old Skool has suede detailing over the toe box, eyestay (eyelets), and heel

Vans Ward - Van Ward upper is the top part of a shoe that is adhered to the foxing and outsole, it tends to be produced using various types of materials. The upper of these shoes is produced using breathable canvas and softened cowhide materials that consider a lot of wind stream around your feed. This keeps you cool and comfortable while helping to prevent the development of sweat and odor-causing bacteria.

Vans Era - You will see most Era shoes have the upper made of canvas, the design with suede upper is available but in one color only.The stitching is visible as the colour of the thread is prominent. This adds to the look of the shoe. 

Vans Authentic - Vans Authentic shoes are constructed with suede, leather, and canvas. However, there is also a variation, which has a denim fabric upper. There is a specialized model named Vans Authentic Made for Makers, which has been developed for tougher jobs. Consequently, it is more slip-resistant and durable than others. 

4.Ankle Support

Vans Ward has thinner cushioning and provides less ankle support whereas Old Skool has thicker cushioning and therefore, provides more ankle support.If you have the chance to touch or try both shoes, you will feel the thick cushion on the ankle part of the Old Skool. Meanwhile, Vans Ward might be a bit stiff and scratchy at first.

In terms of arch support, there is no as such difference between Vans Authentic and Era shoes. These styles feature a foam rubber sole with the same grip as the standard rubber waffle sole of the original Vans.They both offer comfort in their soles, but the flat bottoms usually provide insufficient arch support. However, they make up for it using the Comfycush styles.Due to this Comfycush sole, these styles of Vans Eras and Authentics have an added arch support that delivers a foam-like feel underneath your feet.As soon as you step into the Vans comfycush Eras or Authentics, the base of the shoes molds to your feet’s arch due to its softness.


Vans is recognized for maintaining a sturdy frame, but on the bright side, one of the benefits of these shoes is that they are easy to break-in. Most of the users find Vans Old Skool more comfortable than Vans Ward. However, after one or two weeks, Ward is also become comfortable to wear.

No matter which model of Vans sneakers you pick- Vans Authentic and Eras are- breaking into them isn’t a problem at all.You can comfortably break into these shoes by wearing thick socks, wearing them more often, and bending them through both edges.And,Vans Authentic and Eras shine during summertime.They are as comfortable as durable for all-day wearables. 

6.Size and Fitting

Vans Old Skool - Despite the comfort and convenience of Vans Old Skool, sizing is a common concern for many people. According to some wearers, Vans Old Skool runs a bit small. That means you should go one size down to ensure proper fitting.

Vans Ward - One and only a handful few drawbacks to these shoes is that they fit a little small. Most wearers find that they need to wear a half to full size up from their normal size in order to feel comfortable. Another downside is that it's quite narrow in the toe. You can try hitting the shoes with a hairdryer for one to two minutes while you're wearing them. Them walk around the house doing various movements to stretch the fabric as much as possi- ble. 

Vans Era - The collar of Vans Era is cushioned, hence it might feel a little tight at first. Either you slowly loosen it up or increase the size.If you want to wear Vans Eras for walking around and street-styling, order your Eras half a size up.

Vans Authentic - Vans Authentics fit like a glove around the ankle as they’re slim and don’t have a padded collar. They have a wide range of sizes. There are multiple size variations for Men, Women, and Kids. Alongside, the convenient lace-up design allows you to wear them according to your preference. 

Comparison Table

Old SkoolWardEraAuthentic
Tongue DesignMinimalisticWhite label with the black logo mark of the brandMinimalisticMinimalistic
Insole InteriorOff-white interiorBlack interiorOff-white interiorOff-white interior
Ankle SupportBetter supportGood supportGood supportGood support
ComfortComfortable right out the boxStiff at first and comfortable after a few wearsNo need break-inNeed a bit break-in
Outsole Signature waffle outsoleSignature waffle outsoleSignature waffle rubber outsoleSignature waffle rubber outsole
UpperCanvas and suedeCanvas and softened cowhide materialsCanvas and suedeSuede, leather,canvas and denim fabric upper
Size and Fit Runs a little smallSize run smallA bit tight at firstStandard size

Conclusion: Which Vans Stye Should You Buy?

It’s hard to select one winner from the Vans Old Skool vs.Ward vs. Era vs. Authentic, as all of them are top of their class.And people have different choices and field of interests as well, so it’s hard to define which one is best.You can select one of them according to the situation and your taste.

There is no doubt, both Vans Ward and Vans Old Skool have emerged their name as masterpieces among young generation. While Vans Old Skool holds a successful history, the Vans Ward comes as a modern revolution.If you want to enjoy both luxury and classical beauty, the Old Skool won’t disappoint you. If you prefer a low profile sneaker with an affordable price, the Vans Ward would be the best option for you.

Vans Era and Vans Authentic are alike with a little difference. Vans Era is preferred to be referred to as the modification of Vans Authentic with padding at the collar and tongue, and a double-stitched vamp at the upper.Vans Era was manufactured for additional cushioning during skating while the Vans Authentic is maintaining its retro style.If you plan skateboarding in them and dislike the padded collar, stick with Authentic because they’re specifically designed for it. However, if you plan on wearing them casually and don’t skateboard, then the Era will be a better fit for your needs.

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2023-03-28 02:142118