Vans is an American-based shoe company that makes shoes primarily for the skate, casual, beach, snowboarding, BMX and urban casual market. The company has its roots in the 1960s and grew through the 70s to become a major presence in the action sports market. In its lineup of Classic shoes, there are over a dozen different titles, two of which are the Authentic and the Era. While they may seem somewhat similar from the outside, there are several differences in construction, design, layout and style.
The Era has added padding around the back of the shoe in the heel area that the Authentic, according to product descriptions on the Vans website, doesn't have. In addition, it has a slightly more padded upper sole area, and a slightly higher amount of padding around the shoe in general. The Era also tends to have a slightly narrower, skinnier profile than the Authentic. Due to the padding, the Era is preferred by skateboarders who need a little extra protection.
The Era is available in a wider variety of styles than the Authentic. The Era is featured in 22 different styles, from a simple canvas Era to an Era with a combination of suede and denim. The Authentic, on the other hand, is only available in 12 different styles, from a simple checkerboard style to the multi pinstripe variety. The Era tends to represent new technology available to Vans whereas the Authentic tends to stick to the classic look and feel of a simple skate shoe. For example, the Era is available in leather and suede options, where the Authentic uses more classic and simple materials.
Canvas Model Comparison
The oldest style in both models is the canvas model and several key differences lie within the construction of these shoes. The Era features a soft and padded footbed with a double-stitched vamp, a tongue and lining with reinforced padding, and the Vans' signature waffle sole for great traction and increased comfort. The Authentic strives to remain simple. The Authentic is built with a low-top lace profile with sturdy and reliable canvas uppers, as well as solid color patterns. The Authentic shares the same signature waffle sole.
The Authentic was the first show that Vans produced, according to the Vans website, and is what hundreds of products grew from. While the Era has similar properties, it is not the original, and is one of the many products that stemmed from the Authentic.