(Featured: Welcome Skate Store blog, 27th July 2015.)
The second delivery of what has been by far one of this year’s best shoe collaborations recently landed on our shelf. As the Chris Pfanner Era Pro was a favourite at the shop, it will probably come as no surprise the Julien Stranger’s colourway of the Authentic Pro has received just as warm welcome. While, obviously, suede versions of the Era vastly surpass the durable capabilities of any canvas models; canvas does have certain traits that are preferable to suede. Namely, it holds it’s shape better. Though recently there have been certain attempts to re-enforce canvas for it be better utilised as a suitable upper material for skate shoes and Vans have got on board too.
The basis of this focuses around the Duracap toe box technology Vans have been implementing for some time now. The Stranger Authentic pro’s durable capabilities lie with this feature as the toe area is lined with said Duracap whilst the outer layer is made up of rubber infused canvas that seems to be exclusive to this model out of Vans’ entire range, for now…
To keep inline with the slim feel of Vans’ heritage model, the extra Duracap vulc bumper has been removed. However, the vulc wrap reaches slightly higher up than it would on that of a standard pair of Eras or Authentics with the sole more closely resembling that of the Rowley [SOLOS]. As you can see on the above image, this wrap goes slightly over the toe creating a lip, directing griptape wear to the vulc rather than the canvas upper as much as possible. The vulc wrap also appears to be slightly thicker than that of a standard Vans, again as a means to improve durability whilst maintaining as much of a slimmed down profile as possible. The Waffle tread is also slightly deeper to help prolong the shoes lifespan and as this may be a ‘cruising/transition only’ for those purchasing, this subtle design feature is wise move on Vans behalf.
With that in mind, this model is definitely catered towards die hard fans of the Vans Authentic that have been yearning for a more skateable version without having to plaster the shoes side panel and toe cap in shoe good. While it lacks the extra padding around the collar the Era hosts, built in is a supportive heel counter to help reinforce the shape of the shoe and prevent any heel slips which could leave to injury along with the Ultracush HD insole (another favourite feature of all at the shop) to maximise comfort and prevent heel bruises.
The inner lining of the shoe contains the aforementioned sturdy heel counter made from the same used for the Duracap lined toe, allowing the shoe to grip to also grip to your foot, whilst this is enforced from on the outside with an extra, triple stitched layer of canvas. While the rest of shoes inner lining consists of a rubbery, synthetic material to aid in comfort and ensuring the Authentic holds it shape. Finally, classic Vans branding is consistent with the Pro tag and top engraved top lace loop, heel bumper along Anti Hero art decorating both insoles.