You don’t need to be a sneakerhead to recognize that, in 2019, athletic brands are now fashion brands and vice versa. This crossover has fueled massive growth in the sneaker industry. Today, sneakers are so much more than what you wear while working out. Vans, a brand created by and for skateboarders, hasn’t had much trouble convincing consumers its sneakers are cool. While they’ve experimented with fresh designs and buzzy collaborations to fuel interest from fashion-conscious consumers over the last several years, they haven’t had to push against the same perception challenges as some other sneaker labels (see: Puma, Reebok and ASICS). This presumably frees Vans up to focus on other things—like comfort. Yes, skateboarders and the stylish people that want to look like them care about arch support too.
To that end, last week Vans introduced a new version of its iconic Era sneaker that looks exactly the same on the outside but is markedly more comfortable on the inside. The technology, which the brand has dubbed the ComfyCush (say it in a SoCal surfer voice for extra points), features a foam-and-rubber interior and a smooth tongue for added comfort and arch support. In a press release, Matthew Pino, Vans’ Global Product Merchandising Manager, points out that “from five feet away, no one is going to question that it is different from our beloved Classic silhouettes.” Of course, at $60-$65 per pair, ComfyCush Eras do cost a little bit more than the original foam-free version. Still, compared to most “cool” sneakers on the market today, they’re a steal. Style, comfort and affordability—that’s the 2019 sneaker trifecta right there.