As the sneaker brand of choice for cool kids since way back in 1966, Vans has been always been all about self-expression — and now the brand is finding another way to help everyone feel comfortable in their own shoes: The Vans Autism Awareness Collection includes super-comfortable footwear and apparel featuring such "sensory-inclusive" elements as soothing shades and tabs that make it easy to pull shoes on and off.
The new line was made in collaboration with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards and incorporates Vans ComfyCush technology, which basically means that these shoes are extra squishy and super, well, comfy.
As if Vans' efforts to create ASD-friendly designs weren't enough, the company has pledged "a minimum of $100,000 of its proceeds to A.skate, an organization that allows children with autism to be a part of the social world through skateboarding," a press release from the company reports.
The Vans Autism Awareness Collection is available now, and there's something for everybody in the family. For instance, the ComfyCush Old Skool features a positive blue and white checkerboard look with red velvet hearts interspersed and special message on the backs of each heel. The rubber outsoles are great for traction, while the canvas and suede uppers focus on tongue stabilization (a huge plus for kids who struggle with sensory issues). It's available both in adult sizes and "boys" sizes (3.5 and up).
Doubling down on its mission to make its shoes as approachable as possible for people with ASD, the ComfyCush Slip-On is a super puffy sneaker in calming grey hues with added arch support and moisture-wicking lining materials (available in the same range of sizes as the ComfyCush Old Skool).
Perhaps most exciting of all for parents are the little kid versions of the above shoes, like these awesome holographic ComfyCush Slip-Ons with a "new softer, cushiony outsole that feels like walking on a cloud." They're built with foam and rubber to provide a super supportive frame that includes extra arch support.
The ComfyCush Old Skool V takes the same approach but adds a strap hook-and-loop closure to provide a consistent fit. Available in cool tones of Green and Blue, it's a sturdy shoe that's not distracting.
To round out the Autism Awareness campaign, Vans has also released a line of kids' graphic tees in a calming color palette all of which is available now in stores and at vans.com.