I've been wearing these sneakers for years and I still love them
Vans Authentics are my all-time favorite shoes.
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My first pair of Vans was a gray set of Authentics. At the time I was in college, and I bought them to go with all the red I’d be wearing as an undergrad at Ohio State. I wore those babies until they were in pieces, which was over two and a half years later. I loved those shoes like a favorite pair of jeans.
Since then, every few months, I buy a new pair of Vans. They're my go-tos no matter the occasion. While I've tried all different styles over the years, the OG Authentics remain my number one.
What are Vans Authentics?
Authentics are one of Vans’ most popular styles, which makes sense, as they're the shoes that started the skateboarding brand in 1966. The low-top skate shoe features a simple, lace-up design and a casual canvas upper. While Authentics have existed for 55 years, Vans releases new colors and patterns several times a year. There are a few classic pairs: black with a white sole, all black, and all white. Then there are the patterned options: patchwork floral, cheetah print, retro mart, and gum sole. And then there are even more options at local skate shops or stores like Journeys that are no longer sold online.
Vans Authentics come in men's whole and half sizes 3.5 to 13, which translate to women's whole and half sizes 5 to 14.5. They start at $50 per pair, which is comparable to other canvas shoes from Converse, Adidas Skateboarding, or Polo Ralph Lauren.
What I like about Vans Authentics
The biggest appeal of Vans Authentics is how dang comfortable they are. Take my OG pair: The more I wore them, the more comfortable they became. None of the pairs I've owned make my feet hurt, even after long days walking around the city or standing for hours at concerts. My Authentics never gave me blisters or cuts—not even on that spot at the back of the heel that tends to chafe—and they required zero breaking in. The canvas fabric breathes well, the laces aren't too long, and the recognizable waffle tread keeps me from slipping on rainy days.
They're comfortable without being bulky, and they pair well with everything from a pair of skinny jeans to a summer dress. I also really like how narrow the shoe fits, which isn't to say that those with wide feet can't wear them. I just prefer a sleeker shoe for my everyday errands and activities.
Since my first pair, I’ve worn through several other pairs of Authentics. I typically wear one pair at a time, but it can be nice to have a go-to shoe in several colors. I like that Vans has a few more environmentally conscious styles, like the Eco Theory Authentic SF and Eco Theory Slip On SF, which the company claims are made with more eco-friendly materials like organic cotton canvas, jute laces, and a natural rubber compound. They cost a little more, but if sustainability is important to you, they could be worth checking out.
What I don't like about Vans Authentics
I have so many good memories wearing my Authentics, but there are a few hiccups in the design. I've kicked through the toe of every pair I've owned—holes in the canvas above my big toes formed after months of wearing the shoes. According to other reviewers, it seems to be a common issue for many Authentics wearers.
I also noticed that the footbed began to fall apart after years of daily wear. While this isn’t ideal, I wear them constantly and walked hundreds of miles in them, so it was bound to happen.
Should you buy Vans Authentics?
As someone who continues to buy, wear, lovingly destroy, and buy Vans again and again, I think you have my answer. They’re a comfortable everyday shoe that matches almost every outfit and every pair has lasted me years.
If the original Authentics feel flat to you, Vans also sells the ComfyCush Authentics for those with higher arches or who spend long periods on their feet. I love all my Vans, and though I own several other styles from the brand, Authentics are the ones that got me hooked and continue to deliver.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.