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Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Vans Era Pro Classic ($52)

Vans' Eras have a long and storied history in skateboarding. The shoe has been a staple since 1976 and is regarded as the original skate shoe. The Era Pro Classics have that same classic look and feel as the original Eras but are subtly modified for the needs of modern skateboarding.

The Vans Era Pro Classics. A skateboarding staple infused with some subtle tech for skating in 2011.

When Geoff Rowley joined Vans in 1999 and helped refocus the brand in core skateboarding, all he rode were the original Eras. As simple as it gets, what Rowley may have sacrifice in protection and durability wearing the original Eras, he got back in board feel and grip. The evidence was available for everyone to see in his early vans ads jumping onto 50-50s and noseslides on the infamous Los Angeles Staples Center hubba ledge (one of the biggest even attempted at the time) in the shoe. Few were as willing as Rowley was to skate such big obstacles in such grippy, yet flimsy footwear. With the advent of the Pro Classic series, Vans is striving to strike a better balance taking some of their simple, classic designs and making them more protective and durable for the skating of 2010 and 2011.

Simple. Functional. Classic.

The Era Pro Classics have a PU foam footbed for more durability and cushioning. Essentially this allows skaters to jump down bigger obstacles with less of the repercussions of heel bruising and arch strain that you get trying the same trick in shoes with far less internal padding. Additionally, the Era Pro Classics are built with a thicker "tuff tech" suede for durability as well as a more durable rubber toe cap, the "Duracap," around the front of the shoe's vulcanized sole. This thicker rubber is longer lasting and more resistant to abrasion than the traditional toe cap allowing it to last longer against the wear and tear of flip tricks.

Recently, I tested out the Era Pro Classics with Van's flow team riders and NYC up-and-comers, Dave Willis and Kevin Tierney in Vans' private facility and event space, the House of Vans. Both Willis and Tierney enjoy riding in the Era Pro Classics. Both praised the benefits of a simple, stylish and functional shoe.

"There's not much to it and that's the best part about it," said Willis. "Who wants a crazy tech looking shoe with all these gadgets on it. It's just simple and good, clean, skates good. It's perfect."

Vans Era Pro Classics are available at most discerning skateshops as well directly from the Vans website. You can also get the shoe through reliable online skateshop destinations including Skatepark of Tampa, Kinetic, Active and CCS.