Vans Era vs Atwood: Which Should I Buy?

The major difference between the Vans Era and Vans Atwood is the added padding in the Vans Atwood and the chunky look. Where the Atwood looks chunky because of the extra padding, the Era looks more streamlined and slim.

Everything else is just like an upgrade of the Vans era. Vans era was first made in 1976 and it was originally called the vans number 95. It was the first shoe from vans to be designed for skateboarding.

Vans Atwood is a more recent addition to Vans family of sneakers. In 2012 it was upgraded again with added finesse. There is some variation to the design of the tongue, heel, and a general mix in the color ply of the uppers.

Vans era vs atwood
Vans Era
Vans era vs atwood
Vans Atwood

Why the need for comparison?

Vans began making these iconic shoes in the 1970s, since then they’ve been relentlessly adding colors, styles to existing designs, making them even more appealing while trying to stay in trend.

A comparison is needed to help you make a choice from the long line of shoes. You need to understand each of their features in order to make a choice that fits your lifestyle. You also need a pair that fits well into your budget.

Vans shoes quickly became adopted by the skating culture of the 70s, since then more skating shoes by other brands have hit the market.

If you are a skateboard sports lover, you definitely are concerned about wearing the right shoes that offer durability. You also want your shoes to be versatile because you want to wear them outside the skate court.

A comparison of the two shoes helps you decide which is best for you, on the court and off it. Or if you should buy both shoes.

What are the pros of Vans Atwood?

Vans Atwood is a collaborative sneaker specially designed for skateboarders. Skating or just casual wearing comes with different utilities and these are the pros of the Atwood:

  • More collar padding
  • Thicker tongue
  • More room

More collar padding

The Vans Atwood shows more noticeable padding in the collar. This gives it a more comfortable fit than Vans Era.

The thick collar also gives the ankle more support on the skateboard making it great footwear for those who engage in the sport.

More outer padding means more comfort in the shoe. Your feet feel more covered and protected.

Thicker tongue

The tongue on the Atwood is thicker than Vans Era styles. The tongue gives more protection to the top of your feet. It’s got the Vans logo on it too.

Skateboarders love tricks. These tricks can sometimes be hazardous which is why they need protection on the top of their feet and ankles. Atwood provides this.

More room

You will enjoy more room with the Atwood in the tow area and heel too. Of course, this also depends on your size and the shape of your feet.

Generally, though, the Atwood is designed to give you room. You will enjoy these pros the most if you are buying the Vans for a casual lifestyle outside the skating court.

What are the cons of Vans Atwood?

As you know, all good things have their weaknesses, and Atwood has its own. The cons are:

  • Less durability for skaters
  • Less inner grip
  • Too chunky

Less durability for skaters

As I have said already, the Atwood was designed as a collaborative effort for skaters. Many skaters who have worn the shoes talk about how it doesn’t have the Vans iconic durability and stability on the board.

Doing tricks with them quickly damaged the rubber soles and the synthetic uppers of some Atwood’s quickly peeled off in the heat.

If you buy the shoes for casual styling this fate may not quickly befall the Atwood though.

Less inner grip

Skateboarders need their shoes to be firm around their feet. The less movement from forefeet to heel, the better their maneuvers.

So if you are buying these shoes for skating be aware of the potential dangers if you size up. To solve this problem you may need to size down, but still, you never know.

Too chunky

I could never imagine a chunky Vans. There were the half cabs to worry about, then this. Well, if you are buying this Vans Atwood for styling, and you expect to get the minimalist look vans shoes are known for, then forget it.

All the padding which is supposed to protect your feet while skating just comes out to throw off the sweet lean figure you get from wearing vans shoes.

What are the pros of the Vans Era?

This old-timer is indeed a beautiful shoe. It is one of Vans most popular sneakers to date. The following pros even though not much should make you buy one of them:

  • The slim, minimalist silhouette
  • Average padding
  • Sturdy soles
  • Inner close fit
  • Flat tongue
  • Extremely durable

Slim minimalist silhouette

The Era is a delight to dress with. You can wear them with whatever is in your wardrobe. And the reason is that they are minimalist sneakers. They give a slim look that makes them fit both baggy and skinny clothes.

They transcend any time. They were the deal in the 70s and still are. So you can be sure that buying them never puts you in the wrong crowd.

Average padding

The padding on the Era is just the right amount. They don’t give a chunky look. The collar is padded but not so much to throw the style off.

Sturdy soles

The rubber soles on the era are the same ones vans always make with the waffle patterns for grip. They are tough and wear beautifully.

They withstand the rigor of skating and also do well on the pavement of the streets.

Inner close fit

The Era is known to give a great fit inside the shoes. Your feet don’t roll around in it. Skateboarders need this fit sizing in order to perform better on the court.

The fine styling the shoes give is also dependent on these pros.

Flat tongue

The minimalist structure of the shoes also makes sure the tongue is flat. It lays on the top of your feet and you can barely feel it.

You really don’t need all that bulk on your feet.

Extreme durability

For a sneaker meant for skateboarding, the era is one hell of a durable shoe.

A vans pair, depending on the barrage of use, can last years. The canvas uppers are tough and the soles are glued on so hard they hardly ever tear off.

Now you wonder why you never find old, torn vans shoes in dumps.

What are the cons of the Vans Era?

Our favorite old-timer has its cons by the way. I know you probably don’t want to hear it too. Sorry. Here are the cons, they aren’t much:

  • Less comfort
  • Inner garment wears out quickly

Less comfort

Yes, here’s where the Atwood is better. Vans era offers less comfort in the shoes. The lining is cotton and can become really uncomfortable after walking or standing in them for a while.

The footbed is not memory foam and keeps your feet cushioned but the issue is your toes chafe against the front side of the shoes and can get blisters.

Inner garments wear out

Yes to this too. This cons follows directly from the previous one. Continuous scraping between your feet and lining soon causes tears in the lining.

Next, your skin begins to grate over the protective material behind the lining in the heel and will cause further blisters. To minimize this occurrence buy a size bigger.

What are the similarities between Vans Atwood and Era?

The two sneakers are basically the same. Like twin children from the same parents with a little difference.

First glance

  • Same silhouette: from the forefoot area to the heel they have the same look.
  • Lace-up closure: they share the same lace-up style, flat or round laces.
  • Collars: the same shape as low-top collars with padding in it.
  • Vans logo: both shoes have the eponymous vans logo written on a patch glued to the heel. They also have it in a small tag on the side of the shoe.
  • Threading: same double threading along with the closure and the collar.
  • Outsole: the same shape of the outsole with the waffle pattern underneath.
Vans era vs atwood
Vans Era
Vans era vs atwood
Vans Atwood

Overall Quality

I’d say on a scale of 1 to 10, the vans era takes a total of 7 while I give the Atwood a 5.

The Atwood quality is not top-notch. The uppers need more strength in the materials.

The vans era can withstand more stress than the Atwood.


Great soles on the vans era but I would say the Atwood may have been so not durable because it has to go through hell on the skate court.

Hence the use you put them through will determine how the soles do. Vans use some of the best rubber sole in the market. And you can trust the soles on these shoes for great grip.

They are skate shoes after all.


Vans era is more durable than the vans Atwood. I can’t say this enough.


Vans shoes are all very affordable. The prices of these ones are alright for skateboard shoes. You can buy the Vans Atwood here on Amazon for $51.95.

The vans era are also available at prices controlled by the particular seller. But here on Amazon you can buy for $81.40.


The shoes have non-removable insoles. You are unable to remove them because they are glued down to the shoe. But they are soft enough not to compromise the stability that a skateboard fan needs to his thing.

Sizing and fit

Sizes vary for the shoes but you can be sure that you will find your own size on the line-up. Measure your feet before buying. If you are buying off the Vans website you will be shown the size chart just before making the purchase.

Vans shoes usually come true to size.

My verdict: which is better between Vans Era and Vans Atwood?

I love the Vans Era better because, well, you have to admit they are better shoes. They have better quality and look better, which are the two things I look for in Vans shoes.


Leave a Comment