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Three days ago I set myself a challenge: Find a pair of shoes suitable for work and casual wear, which are comfortable and durable, and don't carry a hefty price-tag. Naturally I looked to Vans early on in my search, as I've been wearing 'Era' shoes for the past 6-12 months. The Era costs around £40-50, and I wanted something cheaper. It wasn't long till I discovered Vans '106 Vulcanized', which are like the Era but with a thicker sole, and a slightly different thread pattern / shape. Only on close inspection can you actually see the pattern on my shoes though, as I got them in 100% black - black sole, canvas, thread, laces and plastic lace hoops - so that they're acceptable for work. The Dooyoo picture above shows the thread pattern clearly enough. I bought my 106's for £33.99 from Amazon.co.uk and they arrived (with free delivery) in 3-days to UK mainland.
Vans "Off The Wall" is sticker-ed across the top of the rectangular red / black shoe box the Vans arrive in - some sort of slogan I don't quite understand. The front side says, "Since 1966" - Vans have a long history linking back to the streets of California when early skaters gave the brand its now internationally recognized 'street cred'. The reasoning behind their decision to wear the shoes was 'solely' functional - yes, I punned. In other words, there was little, 'let's get these 'cus they're cool' going on - because it was before they were considered cool. The shoes come loosely wrapped in filmy paper, there are an extra set of laces (white) and one of those salt pack things to combat moisture during shipping.
(Box dimensions: 335 x 135 x 120)
The general design is very similar to other Van 'Spring range' shoes. The sole is deep, with little pimples across the sides. Its rubber is formed into a diamond hatch on the base, with little ridges of material giving grip, creating friction with the ground surface. At the part of the sole beneath the ball of your foot, the hatching is made more rigid, with a further set of rubber ridges running length ways (bisecting the initial diamond shapes). Does this increase durability? I think it probably does, but only slightly. In general, grip levels are very good for such a flat shoe design, befitting of the skater function. The rubber performs well in cold and warm weather, but it does tend to squeak a bit on unsavory (usually indoor) floors - that probably only happens during the first week. The inside base where your foot rests is a soft, semi-spongy material almost perfectly level from heel to toe - within 5-10 hours of wear however, and the base has already molded its self to the shape of your foot (or where you plant most of your weight - which for me is at the heel). The tongue is relatively short and extends from a flat area of canvas above the toes. This part of the shoe is functional and aesthetically pleasing - where the side canvas parts (which hold the laces) connect they sort of curve away to the sole (where they are fastened), creating that 'iconic' Vans shape. The lip or rim where your foot slides in is relatively soft and compromising to your ankles, as it curves away slightly to stop it digging in. As for logo-ing - Van's "Off The Wall' is tagged at the back / bottom, and there's a little 'Vans' tag at the rim too. A trendy looking 'Vans' logo is also evident inside the shoe beneath your heel - which can only be admired when the shoe is off, rather counter-bothersomely.
What ever way you look at these Vans, from what ever angle, they appear both original and fresh. They make sense as a workable, walk-able shoe, and speak 'cool' in the name of fashion and identity - especially in today's student population. Everyone wears them, and not just for their apparent 'style', but also for their functionality and quality - as outlined. The design is a winner. These shoes really are very comfortable, there's no 'breaking them in' and there's no 'running them down' - they last.
Each section of the shoe is put together with due care, attention and skill. I'm not sure what percentage of the product is hand / machine manufactured, but they certainly feel well-crafted, and seem to hold together well as a solid piece. My Era's lasted well up to a point (when the canvas - at the exact same point on each shoe - started to tear, revealing a white under-canvas) so it will be interesting to see the variation with these ones! The laces are a standard quality and the plastic loops are well connected to the canvas so there shouldn't be any tearing over time there. In general, the quality is excellent.
On Amazon.co.uk (where I bought my pair) there are a grand total of 36 types of 106 Vulcanized - Yes, 36! However, currently only 21 are available (as of 25.03.13). They range in colour (with laces, canvas and soles alternating) - red's, pink's, blue's and green's are common, and all the varieties have a white sole edging apart from my black ones. They range in price from £28.49 - £65.00.
In conclusion, I am (so far) happy with these 106 Vulcanized Vans, they work! They are a 'cool', comfortable, durable design with a simple construction which speaks originality befitting of the Vans brand. They have excellent grip and water-resistance, and mold to the shape of your foot in quick time. I really cannot find anything of any considerable substance with which to 'dis' this rather remarkable little product with. A thoroughly recommendable pair of shoes!
I own a lot of pairs of trainers, I will be the first to admit it. Everyone likes to collect things, and my favourite thing to collect is trainers! However, I feel I can justify this because I actually wear every pair of trainers I've bought and none of them get neglected. I just like to have a choice! Vans are one of my favourite brands to buy and the 106s are an excellent style.
I bought my pair from a Vans outlet store for £20 which I saw as an excellent deal as they normally sell for around £45. When I buy my shoes I always look for a good deal first and the Vans outlet store at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth is always a safe bet. The colour I chose to buy is a very light mint green sort of colour, and the classic waffle sole is a bright lime green. I've never seen this colour in any shop before, and before I started writing this view I had a look on the internet to see if you can still buy them and you can't. I unfortunately couldn't even find a picture of them! Currently you can buy a large range of different colours, from the normal navy blue and black to some really nice looking washed blue canvas ones. As this style isn't the most popular at the moment when compared to the Authentics, you can't get as many different colours but there's still a large range to choose from.
With these shoes, I've found that they don't stretch as much as the Authentics so I bought a size 4.5 instead of my usual size 4. Around the arch of the foot they seem to have a slightly looser fit, which I prefer a little bit as it's more comfortable when you're wearing the shoes all day. In my other reviews of Vans shoes I've also mentioned that the shoes hurt a little at first before the sole begins to get a little more flexible and these are exactly the same. As I said before, they don't take very long to do this, so if you did buy a pair and they hurt just persevere a little bit because it does get better!
I find the shoes to be very well made, but when you've had them for a while the sole at the back starts to wear away a little bit. I usually just fix this by putting a bit of superglue between the sole and the outer sole, and they're absolutely fine for a few months before it needs doing again. This is just normal wear and tear of the shoes and in my opinion, nothing really to worry about. The canvas is thick enough to be sturdy, but thin enough to be breathable. I took these shoes on holiday to Cuba where it was hot and extremely humid, and they were still comfortable and breathable.
Like most other plimsoll style Vans, these shoes are excellent for wearing with casual outfits. There isn't many casual outfits which these don't go with - and if you buy a black and white pair, they'll go with every colour as well!
Vans 106 Vulcanized Shoes Spring 2012. Shoes Casual. Vans 106 Vulcanized Casual Shoes Spring 2012 The Vans 106 Vulcanized Shoes Spring 2012 is your Classic style shoe modeled after the ever popular Chukka Low. Its a look with a lot of personality, skatable and great for casual wear. Get a rock ....