Product Type: Vans shoes
Newest Review: ... a distinction there - 'Don't bite the hand that feeds you!'. But seriously, why do I have a pair of Era, Vans? Quality - From first pi... more
The Era Is Now
Member Name: bilbobaginz
Date: 26/01/13, updated on 28/01/13 (93 review reads)
Advantages: Comfortable, good looking, differing styles, price.
Disadvantages: Material canvas seems to stretch and break in places.
The UK story is slightly different, but what has been most interesting in this country is the integration of Vans' into mainstream crowds; an altogether more recent occurrence, and most probably the result of a joint boost from both marketing experts in America and fashion trend setters in London. By my estimates, at least half the student population of Nottingham (male and female) wear Vans. I'm sure this correlates with other cities in the UK, showing the wide acceptability of the brand, moving away from the 'skater boy' image - though I'm sure the somewhat dying breed of skater still flocks to the Van store queue when their soles eventually wear away... I said SOLES, not SOULS, calm down!!!
What is the big attraction with these shoes though? With requirement for the practical elements of the shoe numbing - gripping soles, flatness, etc - is this not just another stylistic item ready/willing to melt into the consumerist, stylistic world we find ourselves? If so, why the hell do I have a pair? I'm morally obliged to despise this way of living - despite my rather contradictory lapping up of it whenever I enter a shopping centre, e-commerce site, or... dooyoo.co.uk. Ahh hold on, there's a distinction there - 'Don't bite the hand that feeds you!'. But seriously, why do I have a pair of Era, Vans?
Quality - From first picking them up, I could tell these shoes were made from properly sourced, and properly put together materials. I later discovered they were manufactured in China (to a high quality) like a lot of new products. Material wise: cotton canvas for the majority of the shoe, and rubber/plastic combinations for the sole and lace fixings. The glue and thread they use to form the shoe is high quality and guaranteed to last a period of months. One hiccup here though - for some reason my Vans material canvas above the toes, near the laces, has torn slightly (in exactly the same place on both shoes). I've heard of other people's shoes doing this as well, and despite the tear not reaching through to my socks, it does rather spoil the look of them (if you're attempting to maintain a 'clean and shiny' vibe). White inner-thread can be seen poking upwards.
Comfort - A spongy base, fusing foot with sole and ground. Comfort is perhaps my biggest criterion when shoe buying. I expect comfort for 6-months or more, and the Era has responded to that expectation brilliantly. 8-months down the line and my foot has sunk no more than a centimeter or two into the fabric at the base, meaning I've retained a full-ish level of comfort. Around the lip, the hole you place your foot through, is a ring of further spongy material wrapped in fabric. This piece of crucial, as it stops any rubbing against the underside of the ankle bone (something I experience sometimes with shoes). The laces are positioned at the right level and angle so that when tide up tightly, the shoe feels firmly placed, tucked to every inch of sock/skin neatly... this is how I like my shoes!
Fit - As mentioned in the comfort section, they fit me excellently, but others may differ. The main point to mention is that these Vans can be bought in half-sizes, but not all stores stock a large range of half-sizes. Also, your size in these might differ from your size in formal shoes or even other 'trainers'.
Style - The make-up of the shoe (its form), and the colour-combinations available, mean that this product can be worn with anything - it works with all outfits. My pair are black with white rims, and they suit all the clothes I have in my wardrobe. It's not just the colour that you can customize though, the patterns you can get are extremely diverse. There are different depths of sole, different thickness and style of laces, different internal finishes. The range of Era shoes has exploded into a fountain of dazzling choice, capped by a period of dazzling decision.
Price - www.endclothing.co.uk seems like a reasonable place to buy a pair. Depending on style, the Era ranges from £25 - £60, and the shoe can often be found in sales - if you go into a high-street store and route through their reduced section.
All in all I'm happy with my Vans. I feel I've properly proven my reasons for buying a pair. It was not, as one might have prejudged, as a method of 'showing off' to friends, but more as a means of gaining reliable, long-lasting, out-fit compatible, water-resistant, insulating comfort for my feet. A thoroughly recommended pair of shoes here (4-stars because of the torn canvas), especially for the price - as these things can cost a lot these days.
Summary: Vans are here to stay.