Photography Courtesy of Vans

Vans Has Finally Invented a Sneaker That’s Actually Comfortable

No shade! I swear!

I remember my first pair of Vans. It was the summer of 2014 and the now-ubiquitous sneaker craze was just beginning to take hold. I decided to dip my toes into the trend with a pair of crisp; white Eras, so fresh and full of promise. I loved the chunkiness of the platform sole — an adult version of the Keds I kicked around in as a kid – and couldn’t wait to defile their blinding whiteness with layers of grime. How punk rock.

So imagine my disappointment when I unboxed the shoes, so fresh and full of promise, to discover they were not actually that comfortable. I was used to mincing around in leather-soled Victorian booties and was hugely surprised that a pair of sneakers could somehow be less comfortable than my everyday fussy footwear. Wasn’t that, like, the point of sneakers? To provide the maximum amount comfort this cruel world can afford? And yet, these shoes were stiff as a board. I begrudgingly wore them for a few months until realizing they made me look like a total poser and I decided to give them away to a friend.

My youthful disappointment has now been made redundant with the drop of Vans’ new ComfyCush technology. Vans styles can now be purchased with the regular stiff sole or ComfyCush, which replaces the insole with proprietary foam that provides extra cushioning and arch support. In addition, the shoe’s upper has been redesigned to stabilize the tongue and the inside of the shoe is lined with moisture-wicking material. All of this technology comes together to create a shoe that looks like a regular pair of Vans, but feels like walking on a bed of puffy marshmallows.

Vans developed ComfyCush as part of their status as a growing lifestyle brand, explains Rian Pozzebon, the brand’s Director of Global Footwear Design. The technology isn’t aimed at core customers, it was created to attract a different cohort: “People who don’t want to sacrifice their identity by going out and buying an old man shoe somewhere else,” Pozzebon says. In other words, ComfyCush are perfect for the aging skater looking for more arch support, or the dad who still wants to look punk rock while taking his kids to Disneyland. “You don’t f*ck with a classic,” he says. “We’re still producing a classic heritage piece, but in an evolved manner.”

I had the opportunity to test out a pair at the global launch event in Bushwick, Brooklyn last Thursday and can confirm that ComfyCush feels like walking on earthy pillows. With each step, a baby cherub plays a note on his tiny bugle, celebrating how good it feels to walk in these shoes. Hardcore Vans traditionalists can stick with their stiff skate shoes, I’ll be over here feeling like I’m wearing barely any shoes at all.