Hey, Elder Millenials! Do you remember the Vans vs. Airwalks fights we used to have at the mall in the ’90s? Which was the more “legit” sneaker (I was a Converse girl)? Well, right now it looks like Vans has won the battle—but for a really good reason. The shoe company just announced they would be launching a line of sensory-inclusive footwear for the autism community. Called the Vans Autism Awareness Collection, this “ultra-comfortable” footwear is designed specifically with Autism Spectrum Disorder in mind, according to the company’s press release.
“Since 1966, Vans has stood as a champion of individuality and self-expression,” the press release states. “The brand’s commitment continues with the release of sensory inclusive footwear designs as part of the Autism Awareness Collection.”
Introducing the Autism Awareness Collection, an ultra-comfortable footwear pack with sensory-inclusive elements and a calming color palette. Learn more at https://t.co/sbez4xintn pic.twitter.com/mBGXBz8m5v
— Vans (@VANS_66) March 11, 2020
Vans partnered with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards to craft shoes with “sensory-inclusive elements” including “a calming color palette of blues and greens, and design features that focus on the senses of touch, sight and sound.”
There will also be multiple sneaker options such as the ComfyCush Old Skool with blue suede, the ComfyCush Slip-On for easy wearing, and the ComfyCush New Skool, featuring a single-strap, hook-and-loop closure. While the ComfyCush Old Skool and ComfyCush Slip-On PT—available in two colors of checkerboard—are available in all sizes, the ComfyCush Slip-On PT with the “LOVE” print and hologram pattern, as well as the ComfyCush New Skool, will only be made in kids and toddler sizes.
Folks were thrilled to see the launch of the super-stylish shoes. On Twitter, they had lots of positive things to say:
My son Logan is 8 years old and was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum at 3. He has limited expressive language and has always struggled with shoes. As he has gotten older it has been more difficult to find either Velcro or slid on shoes. Thank you for thinking of this population!
— Conpediem (@conpediem) March 11, 2020
Thank you for doing https://t.co/7gQHpC6Eg4 daughter loves the slip ons! Her motor skills aren’t the best so the slip ons offer some independence. She is considering the custom option that you offer.
— Joyce Skogen (@radtechar) March 11, 2020
Um…best idea ever. Going to try out a few pairs with my kids. 32 years with vans and still love them!
— JT (@jctretelt) March 11, 2020
The collection will be available this month ahead of Autism Awareness Month. A minimum of $100,000 of its proceeds will be donated to the A.skate Foundation, which is a non-profit that introduces kids with autism to skateboarding.