Comfort and style stride side by side with Vans’ latest footwear launch. The new ComfyCush Era sneakers, the company says, feel as if “you’re walking on a cloud.” Vans has been working on the new comfort-based technology since 2016, and it’s now finally ready to be shared with the world, starting with the classic Era style.
The original Era sneakers first debuted in 1976, 10 years after the Vans company was founded in Anaheim, Calif. Interestingly, the sneakers were designed by two skateboarders: Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta. The Eras feature a low, top-lace structure, durable double-stitched canvas upper, padded tongue and waffle outsole.
The decision to launch ComfyCush was simple. It’s about diversifying Vans’ available options. “Our consumers make us who we are today, so by listening closely, we built exactly what they were asking for,” Matt Pino, Vans’ global footwear category manager tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “More comfort without sacrificing style, which led to pushing the innovation of the Era to the next level. We’ve been working on this technology since 2016, really focused around a rubber product (foam) that was designed specifically for comfort.”
Aesthetically, the new ComfyCush Era sneakers look exactly like the original. The ComfyCush elements are hidden within the foundation and structure of shoes. They feature new tongue tie-down elastic straps that help “improve the overall fit and feel,” says Pino. “It eliminates the possibility of the tongue sliding to either the medial or lateral side of the foot.” There’s additional arch support and a new foam and rubber cushion and grip that help keep your feet more comfortable all day long.
Bridging the gap between comfort and style seems like a no-brainer, especially for a brand like Vans, which is competing with the juggernauts Adidas, Converse and Nike. “It’s important our consumers know we aren’t asking them to trade off any of our icons, but that we are simply providing them with an option that may meet the need of a particular lifestyle — that doesn’t compromise style,” says Pino.
Three Yahoo Lifestyle editors put the new ComfyCush Era sneakers to the test. Read our firsthand reviews below.
Julie Tong, Yahoo Lifestyle fashion editor
“I’ve been a Vans fan ever since I was a teen. I can still remember walking through my high school hallways, past the rows of burnt-orange lockers, wearing my trusty pair of navy-blue Era sneakers. I wore them until they were smudged with dirt and the blue canvas started to wear away. Still, I didn’t care. I loved them. Now, hearing that Vans is making my favorite sneakers more comfortable? I had to try them out.
“Over the weekend, I tested the new Vans ComfyCush Era sneakers while visiting my boyfriend in upstate New York. At first glance, I loved the off-white and checkered design. I don’t usually wear white sneakers, but the print and Vanilla shade felt refreshing, yet still inherently Vans. The real ‘treat’ came when I placed my feet inside the shoes. On Sunday, I spent the afternoon going to brunch, grocery shopping at Wegmans, and ended the day catching a flight back to Manhattan. There were even times I wore them on the icy snow patches that lined the Syracuse streets. I was surprised to find how well they kept up through it all. No slippage! My feet stayed dry and warm even in these harsh conditions (because let’s be real, they weren’t intended to be worn in the snow).
“Throughout my day, I noticed how consistently sturdy the footbeds felt and how soft the cushions were that supported my ankles. I’m someone who has wide feet, and they never once felt too tight around my toes, which is a big plus. In my experience, they’re perfect for running errands and traveling in, but most importantly — walking in. I think the longer I wear them, the more they will mold to my feet, too. The final verdict? They’re keepers. I now have a reason to bring these beloved sneakers back into my life.”
Dana Oliver, Yahoo Lifestyle beauty director
“This was my first time ever wearing a pair of Vans, and the experience was far from what I had expected. I’d previously had my eye on the brand’s classic slip-on sneakers — as a new mom, I need shoes that are simple to get on and off when taking care of an infant. I gave the ComfyCush Era sneakers a trial run on a busy Saturday: My schedule included a Baby & Me yoga class, shopping at Whole Foods and tidying up at home. With my son all set in his car seat, and the Lyft driver just four minutes away from picking us up, I was surprised at how easy it was to get quickly dressed in the kicks.
“The slender cut fit my narrow feet perfectly. Not to mention, after gaining roughly an extra half size in foot length post-pregnancy, I still managed to have enough toe space in the shoes. As I maneuvered around the grocery store with a stroller and no shopping basket, I soon learned why these sneakers carry the ComfyCush title: They make your feet like you’re gliding on air.
“The thick sole also managed to help with my posture, forcing me to stand straighter and walk with even more confidence. And with all the bending down I had to do to pick up my son or his teething toys, the fabric of the shoe didn’t awkwardly bend or bulk.”
“While I love the subtle checkerboard design of the Marshmallow and True White colorway I tested, I wouldn’t sport these every day, simply because it would be too difficult to keep them pristine. So overall, I’m giving these ComfyCush Era Vans 4 out of 5 stars!”
Adrianna Barrionuevo, Yahoo Lifestyle senior beauty editor
“I’ve been a Vans loyalist for as long as I can remember. I would go as far as to call myself a Vans aficionado. So when I heard about the new Vans ComfyCush Era sneakers, I was beyond excited to slip on a pair of my favorite style. While I wasn’t skateboarding or strolling down to TK Burger in my old home of Newport Beach, Calif., I was navigating the busy streets of Manhattan to make it to Central Park for off-leash hours with my pup.
As soon as I took my first few steps, I noticed a difference in comfort level. From my heel to my toes, I felt much more supported and cozy compared to previous styles I’ve worn. I ended up wearing my sneakers all day long, clocking in a total of about 15,000 steps, and my feet felt comfortable every step of the way (even when I had to chase my pup to get him back on the leash to head home). I would recommend these to anyone looking for a stylish, yet casual shoe, whether they’re skateboarding or strolling around the city.”
You can shop the new ComfyCush Era unisex sneakers below.
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