Vans Era vs Old Skool: Which Is Better?

The main difference between Vans Era and Vans Old Skool is that The Vans Era is more padded at the tongue and collar areas than the old skool.

This makes Vans Era more preferable for skating than Vans Oldskool.

Aside from the tongue and collar construction, another area of distinction that differentiates both Vans models is the design.

While the Vans Era is available usually in plain black and white, the Vans Old Skool is offered in many colors and a signature side stripe which is not present in the Era, making the latter more unique.

The leather panel in Vans old Skool shoes is also a feature to consider that sets it apart from the Vans Era.

The overall shoe construction of both the Vans Old Skool and Vans Era have a great appeal to skateboarders. It is very easy to be conflicted between both models when picking a skateboard shoe from Vans.

This article will place both shoes side by side to see which one is better for you, identifying their pros, cons, and level of performance across various crucial features.

Why the need for this comparison?

What model of Vans shoes should I buy?” is among the frequently asked question that Vans fans ask.

This is not because one of the models is a bad investment, but because one of the models better suits some particular purpose than others.

If you want to get the best out of Vans shoes, you’d want to learn how to compare the options you have in mind, not only based on price but also on other considerations, features, and specifications that make up for shoes.

Suppose you have narrowed down your choice of Vans shoes to either Era or Old Skool.

In that case, you’d want to go through a detailed comparison like this guide that places both shoes on the side and review them to reveal the one that is a better match for your skateboarding needs.

Vans Era was introduced in 1976, while Vans Old skool was introduced in 1977. They are closely related, especially in functional utility.

A regular Vans lover might find it hard to distinguish between both, beyond the obvious, let alone figure out what makes one better than the other.

However, we can establish the best option drawn from a detailed review with comparisons like this.

What are the Pros and Cons of the Vans Era?

Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta are the two brains behind the Era footwear innovations of Vans. The two legendary skateboarders initially named the shoe style #95 before it got its name as Vans Era.

Era models are loved for their extra padded tongue and collar. However, anyone buying from this production line should be aware of the following pros and cons:

Pros of Vans Era

  • It is aesthetically pleasing with impressive paddings on the collar and tongue.
  • Ranked among the top comfortable sneakers, Vans has produced
  • There is an Era offer in 15 special editions.
  • A good match for casual outfits like jeans and shorts, given the low-top design of the sneaker.
  • Ability to withstand harsh conditions due to the high-quality material it is made with
  • Vans Era has great versatility in terms of look.

Cons of Vans Era

  • The problem with Vans Era sneakers is that they often rub against the feet and scratch the skin due to the collar construction.
  • Not always a good pick for Vans fans who have an especially wide foot. Most Vans Era appears quite narrow, necessitating shoppers to go for one size up.
  • The Canvas of the shoe is hard to clean with a hand.

Across the pros and cons, the best thing about Vans Era is that they can be worn all day long without having foot fatigue, thanks to the lightweight waffle sole of the Vans Era that particularly allows skateboarders to skate with more grip and consistency.

What are the Pros and Cons of Vans Old Skool?

The brand introduced the Vans old skool a year after the Vans Era. The original name for the style was #36, and it became famous for its “jazz stripe” design by the side, which eventually became the flagship of the company.

Anyone looking to buy Oldskools should be ready to identify with the following pros and cons:

Pros of Vans Old Skool

  • A durable and classy-looking complete suede covers the upper.
  • Admirable bold contrast stitch detailing
  • Pretty affordable pair of Vans shoes compared to some other lineup
  • Ideal for everyday use, besides skating, due to its flexibility.
  • Significantly available in a wide range of colors and design patterns

Cons of Vans Old Skool

  • It does not measure up to the Era or pro version for durability, especially when used roughly.
  • Not as comfortable as the Era or pro version.

It is worth noting that the pro version of Vans Oldskool has the padded tongue and padded footbed present in Era models to make it comfortable.  

Pro versions have also been equipped with removable inlets for easier cleaning, additional pro-Vulc lite, and the Vans ultra cush HD polyurethane-based soft sock liner.

The only thing is that they are more expensive than the classic Old skool. Well, the latter is our main focus for this article and not their pro versions.

Vans Era and Oldskool may share similar demographics for the target market. Still, the most likely buyers for the Vans classic Old Skools are fashionable youths and teens and skateboarders between the ages of 10 to 24 (Unisex)

What similarities do both Vans models share?

It has been cited earlier that Vans Era and Oldskool have a great similarity in functional utility and demographics of the target market. This is because they have both been constructed with pretty much the same intention in mind.

So, it is entirely not out of place if they share many similarities, especially in the interior part of the shoes.

Knowing some of these similarities will help you filter what you shouldn’t base your comparison on, to get a real answer on which one among the two models suits you best.

Vans Era and Vans Old Skool share similarities which are:

  • They both feature suede and leather upper materials
  • They are both made exclusively as Vans Low-top designs, offering a variety of casual outfits.
  • Both Vans Era and Oldskool feature the signature waffle rubber outsole of the Vans brand
  • We see the constructive integration of the lace-up method of closure in both the Era and Oldskool styles
  • They may be a difference in both models’ tongue and collar construction, but they are both padded. Only that the Era does it better than the Oldskool (Meanwhile, the pro version of Old Skool is an impressive step up)
  • Both the Vans Era and Old Skool are ranked among the best shoes for skating.

Vans Era vs Vans Old Skool: Comparison

Now that we have seen the areas where both models share similarities, it will be a waste of time to base our comparison on that aspect to determine which models are better.

So for clarity, I will be reviewing both brands based on certain features, including overall quality, the material used, Soles, Durability, Price, Insoles, and Sizing.

Overall Quality

The leather panel in Old Skool styles makes the shoe more durable than Vans Era. Since durability is an indispensable yardstick for overall quality, this fact should not be ignored.

The rough handling of skating makes durability a dream for most skate shoes, so having an Oldskool with the overall quality in mind is not a bad choice.

Although Vans Era is an upgrade of Vans Authentic, retaining the retro vibe that assures better stability and comfort, it still does not measure up to the classic old skools styles.

Material Used

There is not much of a contrast between both shoe models in terms of material used. So this does not speak volumes on which supersedes the other.

Both Old Skool and Era Vans use suede and leather upper materials in their low-top design. Still, the Era has been featured in countless material combinations, including premium leather, flannel, and mesh.

But on other material-related areas like re-enforced toe caps, supportive padded collars, and signature rubber waffle outsoles.


Generally speaking, all Vans are made with a vulcanized rubber sole. And both the Era and Old Skool are no exception.

The Vulcanized sole construction of both shoe models makes them feel slightly lighter and a bit slimmer and offers a more board feel.

This is why both styles rank along with Converse CONS Louie Lopez Pro and Nike SB Zoom Blazer Mid, among others, as shoes great for skaters who prefer a lot of board feel.

If the sole design of both Vans models is what you primarily have in mind as a determinant of what you will go for in the end, then none of them will disappoint you.


It is rare to come across Vans styles of sneakers that will have inconsistent sizing.

Based on personal experience and the average review of other users, Vans sneakers usually come true to size, and the Era and Old Skool versions are no exception.

However, the Era version does have a certain degree of more snug fit reviews because it is not really great for those with especially wide feet.

Nevertheless, these are low-top sneakers you can wear right out of the box, and they become more friendly as you break in.

In other words, when ordering Vans Era or Vans Old Skool, it is better to stick with your normal.


Vans launched ComfyCush sneakers, a new line that took its classic designs, including Authentics, Eras, Old Skools, Slip-Ons, Sk8-His, and Zushi SFs, and re-engineered them for comfort.

This is why both the Era and Oldskool share a similarity in the offerings of their insoles. For example, both styles cushioned foam midsoles, padded insoles with added arch support, and one-piece interiors.

This is an improvement in comfort compared to the original Core Classics Vans, which explains why they cost about $10 more.


There is not much difference between both styles as they range between $60 to $100.

However, you can find Vans Old Skool in different variations, especially with a distinctive upper material that makes them cost slightly differently.

This includes the Pig suede old skool, Vans checkerboard old skool, Woven old school stackform, and Matte Shine old skool, all of which do not cost less than $65 and not more than $80.

On the other hand, the price of Era varies as per the different styles based on upper materials and pattern.

This includes the Custom tiger stripe ComfyCush era, Custom checkerboard roses era, Zap era, and Customs leopard era – all of which do not cost less than $60 and not more than $90.

Why you should buy Vans Era

Being an update of the Vans Authentic, Vans Era still has the retro feel, plus the padded collar and tongue, which makes it ideal for skating than old skool

This style’s comfort and stability level is unmatched, so it will work great for someone who is buying a Vans shoe strictly to enhance their performance on the board.

Why you should buy Vans Old Skool

While the Old Skool style has decent durability and conduciveness for skating, it features many colorways versatile for more outdoor activities.

The jazz stripe further reveals this, making the style better and more attractive than Vans Era. So, it is a great choice for those buying Vans with the mindset of having something good both on and off the board.

Final Verdict: Which Is Better?

All things being considered, Vans Era wins the belt as the best for performance shoe over Vans old skool. However, the latter model is better as one for casual inclusive.

But since most people will pick good performance over good looks, Vans Era has the floor.

Nevertheless, both styles are great for both skating and off-board activities; only that one does it better than the other.

This is my position.

What do you think?


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