Vans Old Skool vs Authentic Shoes [My Comparison w/ Photos]


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The Vans Old Skool and Authentic are both low-top performance shoes, but if you take a closer look at Vans Old Skool vs Authentic shoes, you find several differences in design that may affect which style is best for you. Quickly, this is what jumps out the most to me:

  • Both styles were originally designed to be low-top performance skate shoes. The Vans Authentic debuted successfully in the 1960’s. The Vans Old Skool debuted later in the 1970’s, and rose to popularity in the 1990’s.
  • Perhaps the biggest difference in design is the fact that the Vans Old Skool has padding around the collar and tongue, and the Vans Authentic does not have padding.
  • The Vans Old Skool has the iconic “Sidestripe” logo on each side of the shoe. The Vans Authentic does not have a side logo of any kind.
  • Despite both being low-top, the Vans Old Skool fits a bit higher on the foot (pictures in article) and has more eyelets for lacing. These extra eyelets can lead to a more secure fit.
  • I found the sizing to be very similar. If you scroll down, later in the article I use my side-by-side comparison photos to compare the sizing of these Vans shoes to other popular brands (and to other types of Vans shoes).
  • Both styles have the waffle rubber outsole with backside heel tab logo. The Vans Authentic is made with a canvas upper. The Vans Old Skool also uses the canvas material, but has extra suede detailing over the toe box, eyestay (eyelets), and the heel.
  • These two styles have a very similar total weight. My Vans Authentic Shoes weigh 0.98 pounds per shoe and my Vans Old Skool weigh 1.03 pounds per shoe (based on a size 12 men’s shoe).

I recently tried six different types of Vans shoes. Just to give you an idea where the Vans Authentic and Vans Old Skool compare to other styles regarding weight, I listed all of the weights below (weights based off one size 12 men’s shoe):

ShoeWeight (lbs)Photo
Vans UltraRange 0.63click here to view
Vans EVDNT UW0.87click here to view
Vans Authentic 0.98click here to view
Vans Slip On0.99click here to view
Vans Old Skool 1.03click here to view
Vans Sk8-Hi1.15click here to view

In this article let’s take a closer look at the Vans Old Skool vs Authentic so you can decide which style might be best for you. I will use specific sizing photos that I have comparing these styles to other popular types of shoes so you can feel more confident you are ordering the right size.

Table of Contents

Vans Old Skool vs Authentic Shoes

Vans Authentic Shoes

The Vans Authentic is the most original design. This was the first Vans heritage silhouette to feature the iconic waffle outsole. Present day, the Authentics are offered in a wide range of colors and designs.

This shoe was originally introduced in the 1960’s (it was first known as “style 44”), and because it was such a popular style, other styles of Vans were birthed from small tweaks made to this original Vans Authentic design.

vans-authentics-sizing
vans-authentics
vans-authentics-outsole

This shoe is a standard low-top design, but here are the three things to know about this style:

  • No padding — The Vans Authentic does not have padding on the tongue and collar.
  • No sidestripe — This style does not have the iconic sidestripe Vans logo.
  • Narrow design — This is a performance shoe made to fit snug for dependable grip.

The Vans Authentic shoes use a canvas upper that makes it durable, but it does not have the suede detailing over the toe and heel like the Vans Old Skool.

One of the biggest differences in design when comparing the Vans Old Skool vs Authentic is the fact that these Vans Old Skool has padding around the collar and tongue, and the Vans Authentic does not have padding.

Here’s a close-up look at the the collar of the Vans Old Skool vs Authentic shoes (Authentic is black):

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-padding

The Vans Authentic shoes also don’t fit as high on the foot, and have less eyelets when compared to the Vans Old Skool:

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-laces

The Vans Authentic is made with a durable canvas upper. The Vans Old Skool is also made with canvas, but the Old Skool features suede detailing on the toe, heel, and eyelets.

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-toe
vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-heel

The Vans Authentic shoes do not have any logos on the sides of the shoe (the Vans Old Skool shoes do have the sidestripe side logo).

side-vans-authentic

This style presents a clean, retro low-top that Vans offers in many different styles and colors.

This is where you can view the entire selection of Vans Authentic shoes available at Vans.com (paid affiliate link takes you to Vans.com). I personally have found the Vans Authentic shoes to fit true to size with a snug design. They are sized consistently with other popular types of Vans shoes.


Vans Old Skool Shoes

The Vans Old Skool shoes are another popular low-top design.

The Old Skool was made in the 1970’s, but rose to popularity in the 1990’s. One distinct difference it has from the Vans Authentic shoes from above, is the Vans Old Skool has the iconic ‘sidestripe’ logo.

vans-old-skool-shoes-side
vans-old-skool-logo

Here are the four things to know about the Vans Old Skool shoe:

  • Padding — The Vans Old Skool has padding around the collar of the shoe.
  • Sidestripe — This style does have the iconic sidestripe Vans logo.
  • Reinforced Toe – The toe box area on this shoe is reinforced.
  • Narrow design — This is a performance shoe made to fit snug for dependable grip.

Just like the Vans Authentic shoes, these Old Skool shoes use a canvas upper that makes it durable, but these Old Skool shoes have the suede detailing over the toe and heel that the Authentic shoes do not have.

Again, the most important difference in design when comparing the Vans Old Skool vs Authentic is the fact that these Vans Old Skool shoes have padding around the collar and tongue, and the Vans Authentic shoes do not have padding.

Here’s a close-up look at the the collar of the Vans Old Skool vs Authentic shoes (Authentic is black):

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-padding

The Vans Old Skool shoes fit higher on the foot than the Vans Authentic shoes. This means more laces, which means more control passed over to your foot (a more secure fit).

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-laces

The Vans Old Skool is made with a durable canvas upper (just like the Authentics), but the Vans Old Skool has suede detailing on the toe, heel, and eyelets.

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-toe
vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-heel

The Vans Old Skool shoes have the iconic sidestripe logo on both sides of the shoe (the Vans Authentic do not have side logos):

logo-vans-old-skool-sidestripe

This style presents a retro low-top that Vans offers in many different styles and colors.

This is where you can view the entire selection of Vans Old Skool shoes available at Vans.com (paid affiliate link takes you to Vans.com). This shoe was originally known as “style 36”. It has the popular heel tab logo on the back.


Vans Old Skool vs Authentic Shoe Sizing

In my experience regarding Vans sizing, all classic types of Vans shoes have a narrow, snug design. I order my normal sizing, but if you prefer a looser fit, you may need to size up.

Because they were originally built to be low-top performance shoes, both the Vans Old Skool and Vans Authentic have this narrow, snug fit. I found the sizing of these two styles to be practically the same.

Here is my side-by-side comparison photo of my Vans Old Skool vs Authentic sizing (Old Skool on left):

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic

Again, I ordered my normal sizing, but don’t expect a loose fit. It might be best to verify your sizing using the link below that takes you to Vans.com sizing tutorial which which matches your foot size to a Vans shoe size.

***Verify Your Size***: Vans.com now has its own sizing tutorial which matches your foot size to a Vans shoe size. Click here to view it at Vans.com (paid affiliate link takes you to Vans.com).

Also, if you are looking for quick Vans sizing advice and don’t want to browse through all the comparison photos on this page, then this quick video below just summarizes my thoughts regarding how Vans fit:


Vans Authentic Sizing Comparison Photos

Below are the sizing photos I took for the Vans Authentic shoes compared to other brands (all shoes are size 12 men’s). I personally have found the Vans Authentic shoes to fit true to size with a snug design. They are sized consistently with other popular types of Vans shoes.

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Converse Chucks

vans-authentic-shoe-vs-converse-chucks

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Converse Pro Leather

pro-leather-converse-sizing-vs-vans-authentic

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Converse One Stars

one-star-converse-sizing-vs-vans-authentic

Vans Authentic Sizing vs New Balance 574

vans-authentic-shoe-vs-new-balance

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Adidas Superstars

vans-authentic-vs-adidas-superstar-sizing

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Adidas Gazelles

vans-authentic-vs-adidas-gazelle-sizing

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Adidas Busenitz

vans-authentic-sizing-vs-adidas-busenitz

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Adidas Samba

vans-authentic-sizing-vs-adidas-samba

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Adidas Nizza

vans-authentic-sizing-vs-adidas-nizza

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Crocs

vans-authentic-shoe-vs-crocs

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Nike Cortez

vans-authentic-sizing-vs-nike-cortez

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Nike Blazer

vans-authentic-sizing-vs-nike-blazer

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Nike Air Max

vans-authentic-shoe-vs-nike-air-max

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Under Armour

vans-authentic-shoe-vs-under-armour-sizing

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Adidas 2k Boost

vans-authentic-shoe-vs-adidas-boost

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Vans Slip On

vans-authentic-shoe-vs-slip-on

Vans Authentic Sizing vs Hey Dude Wally

vans-authentic-shoe-vs-hey-dude

Vans Old Skool Sizing Comparison Photos

Below are the sizing photos I took for the Vans Old Skool shoes compared to other brands (all shoes are size 12 men’s). I personally have found the Vans Old Skool shoes to fit true to size with a snug design. They are sized consistently with other popular types of Vans shoes (Vans Old Skool vs Authentic sizing is basically the same).

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Converse Chucks

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-converse-chucks

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Converse Pro Leather

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-converse-pro-leathers

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Converse One Stars

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-converse-one-stars

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Adidas Superstars

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-adidas-superstars

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Adidas Gazelles

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-adidas-gazelle

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Adidas Busenitz

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-adidas-busenitz

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Adidas Samba

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-adidas-samba

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Adidas Nizza

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-adidas-nizza

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Hey Dude Wally

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-hey-dude

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Nike Cortez

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-nike-cortez

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Nike Blazer

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-nike-blazer

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Nike Air Max

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-nike-air-max

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Crocs

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-crocs-sizing

Vans Old Skool vs New Balance 574 Sizing

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-new-balance-sizing

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Under Armour

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-under-armour-sizing

Vans Old Skool vs Vans Slip On Sizing

vans-old-skool-vs-slip-on-shoes

Vans Old Skool vs Adidas 2k Boost

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-adidas-boost-sizing

Vans Old Skool vs Authentic Design

Side Logo

Both styles are retro style Vans. The Vans Authentic debuted successfully in the 1960’s. The Vans Old Skool debuted later in the 1970’s, and rose to popularity in the 1990’s.

The Vans Old Skool has the iconic “Sidestripe” logo on each side of the shoe. The Vans Authentic does not have a side logo of any kind.

Here’s a look at the side of my Vans Authentic:

side-vans-authentic

Here’s a look at the side of my Vans Old Skool:

logo-vans-old-skool-sidestripe

Padded Collar

Perhaps the biggest difference in design is the fact that the Vans Old Skool has padding around the collar and tongue, and the Vans Authentic does not have padding.

Here’s a close-up look at the padding around the collar of one of my Vans Old Skool shoes:

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-padding

Waffle Outsole

Both styles have the waffle rubber outsole with the iconic backside heel tab logo.

vans-authentics-outsole
vans-authentics-heel
vans-old-skool-shoes-outsole
vans-old-skool-logo

Upper Material

When comparing the Vans Old Skool vs Authentic, the upper material is slightly different. Yes, both styles use the durable canvas upper that gives these shoes some toughness.

But the Old Skool has suede detailing over the toe box, eyestay (eyelets), and heel that the Authentic does not have. Below is a look at the toe box and the heel on my Vans Old Skool vs Authentic shoes (Authentic black):

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-laces
vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-toe
vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-heel

Performance Shoes

Both styles were originally designed to be low-top performance skate shoes. The Vans Authentic debuted successfully in the 1960’s. The Vans Old Skool debuted later in the 1970’s, and rose to popularity in the 1990’s.

Because they were originally built to be low-top performance shoes, both the Vans Old Skool and Vans Authentic have this narrow, snug fit. I found the sizing of these two styles to be practically the same.

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic

Laces

Not only do the Vans Old Skool shoes have the suede detailing over the eyelets (which we just discussed above), but the Vans Old Skool also fit higher than the Vans Authentic shoes, and have extra eyelets.

In the photo below, I tried to capture how the Vans Old Skool shoes fit a bit higher, even though both styles are low-top shoes:

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-laces

Weight

The Old Skool has a few extra design details, which adds a tiny bit of weight. Overall, I found the weight of the Vans Old Skool vs Authentic to be almost the same. My Vans Authentic Shoes weigh 0.98 pounds per shoe and my Vans Old Skool weigh 1.03 pounds per shoe (based on a size 12 men’s shoe).

To see how these shoes compared to other styles of Vans shoes regarding weight, visit my article about how much Vans shoes weigh.

Other Vans Shoes to Consider

In this article we compared the Vans Old Skool vs Authentic shoes. If you want to read about other Vans shoes, visit our articles linked below:


My Vans Old Skool vs Authentic Conclusion

Ultimately, these two styles are very similar. The Vans Authentic is the companies most original design. The Authentic was the first Vans heritage silhouette to feature the iconic waffle outsole. Present day, the Authentics are offered in a wide range of colors and designs.

The Vans Old Skool debuted later in the 1970’s, and rose to popularity in the 1990’s. Although it has a similar snug, low-top design built with a durable canvas upper, it features a padded collar and tongue for comfort, and the iconic sidestripe logo that many people love.

The Vans Old Skool also has suede detailing over the toe, heel and eyestay (eyelets). And the Vans Old Skool actually sits just a bit higher on the foot, and has more eyelets. This might be important if you need a more secure fit.

Regarding sizing, my recommendation is to order your normal shoe size, but do not expect a loose fit. If you prefer a loose fit, you may need to size up. These shoes have a narrow, snug design.

To order wide Vans sizing, you actually need to go to the Vans “Custom” page, where you can make custom changes which include ordering custom wide shoes. Click here to view the custom wides available at Vans.com (affiliate link takes you to Vans.com).

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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