Vans Era vs Authentic

Image of a black and white Vans Era above a black and white Vans Authentic.

Image of a black and white Vans Era above a black and white Vans Authentic.

Vans is a household name when it comes to its shoes, but what you may not know are some of the differences between two of the brand's most popular models - the Vans Eras vs Authentics.

Fortunately, we've compared some of the similarities and differences in price and design right here, before giving our overall opinion on which of the two we think are some of the best sneakers around to help figure out the answer.

With new designs regularly being released as well, like these "Friar Brown" Taka Hayashi Eras and "Swimming" Mac Miller Authentics, we feel it's definitely worth knowing a little bit about them if you're trying to work out which of the two amazing Vans to add to your collection.

But first, let's go back to the beginning and discuss the history behind these two iconic Vans trainers and how they came to be some of the best skate shoes in existence...


Way before Nike came around to create some of the best basketball shoes on the market, Brothers Paul and Jim Van Doren, along with partners Gordon Lee and Serge Delia, founded Vans or, as it was known in 1966, The Van Doren Rubber Company.

Vans began by making the Vans #44 deck shoes, more commonly known as the Authentics, which, as evidenced by these "Black Canvas" Authentics, are still being made to this day.

Vans Era vs Authentic - Vans product image of an all-black pair of canvas Authentics.
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Credit: Schuh

During the 1970s, skateboarders took a liking to their rugged outsoles and rugged construction, so began wearing them all over southern California.

This then led the company to release a new, more colourful range of deck shoes known as the #95s, now known as the Eras which, unsurprisingly, are also still being made thanks to their timeless design.

For example, you can pick up Eras in an array of different colours and patterns, evidenced by these "Grey" NEIGHBORHOOD x Vans, for more of a standout look, whether that's for skating or simply for everyday wear.

Vans Era vs Authentic - NEIGHBORHOOD x Vans product image of a pair of all-grey sneakers.
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Credit: Vans

Vans has gone on to create several excellent sneakers since, like the Old Skools and Sk8-His, but the Eras and the Authentics were where it all began for the small-time shoe company.


With their histories covered, you may now be considering picking up a pair. if so, then you'll no doubt be wondering which is the cheaper of the two models.

Generally speaking, both sneakers are equally priced. This can be seen by the price tags of these comparable "Black and White" Eras and Authentics.

Vans product image of a classic pair of white and black Authentic's.
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Credit: Schuh

This is most likely due to their incredibly similar aesthetics, although it's worth noting there are a few exceptions to this. Most notably, these Sailor Moon Custom Eras are a little more than the most expensive Authentics available right now.


As touched on above, the Eras and Authentics are two very similarly designed shoes; however, there are a few subtle differences to be aware of if you're looking to purchase your own pair.

Perhaps the biggest difference is the additional padding that comes with a pair of Eras, particularly around the collars and tongues.

The extra padding should be especially beneficial when skating since it's designed to give you a more secure and comfortable fit, as well as a bit of protection if you are hit by your board.

Vans render image of a black and white Authentic next to a grey Era.
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Credit: Wear Enthusiast

It's also worth noting that the Eras come in a wider variety of styles and materials such as leather and suede, whereas Authentic's tend to stick to the original cotton canvas construction.

As an aside, check out our list of the best suede and sneaker protector sprays if you're looking to keep your Eras and Vans in great condition.

Read More: Best places to buy sneakers

Vans Era vs Authentic: Which should you buy?

Deciding which of the two models you should buy is a tricky one for us to answer as the final decision will come down to your own personal preference.

That said, the additional padding that comes with a pair of Eras helps make them the ideal choice for skateboarding.

Moreover, the wider variety of styles and materials on offer means there's more likely to be a pair of Eras out there that suit your taste.

Ultimately though, we'd recommend finding both sneakers in a store and trying them on to see which of the two feels and suits you best, particularly if you're completely undecided between them.

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