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New Sensory-Inclusive Vans Sneakers for People with Autism

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Earlier this month, Vans released a collection of sneakers specially made for kids and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This launch comes ahead of Autism Awareness Month in April.

The Design

Vans made these intricately and painstakingly designed shoes to have sensory-inclusive elements.  They did this by including calming color palettes, fuzzy textures, as well as features that stimulate the senses. Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization, said that most people on the spectrum have sensory issues. These include hypersensitivities that may be triggered by sound, touch, smell, or light.

According to their press release, “Vans has stood as a champion of individuality and self-expression” since 1996. And with this brand-new footwear collection, Vans is showing the whole world that they are one with the millions of people around the world who have ASD. They want to celebrate everyone’s unique aspects, including those with Autism.

Some of the new features to watch out for include a slip-on PT with soft check upper and heel-pull, special messages on the back of each heel, and rubber-toe cap with pull-tab.  You will also notice a single strap hook-and-loop and foam-paddled collar. There will also be short and long-sleeve t-shirts with awesome graphics that are best paired with these new cool kicks.

Loved By Parents

Today, parents can’t help but appreciate and rejoice over Vans’ new line of shoes.

Connie LaBouff, is a mother to an eight-year-old son, Logan, who was diagnosed with Autism spectrum as young as three years old. She said that Logan has limited language and has always had trouble with shoes. She said that it has been harder to find the right shoes for him as he gets older.  This is especially true since it has always been difficult for him to tie shoelaces.

Thankfully, Vans’ designed their new Autism-friendly sneakers as slip-ons so kids and adults won’t have any problem wearing them. Vans also has versions specifically designed for toddlers that will have a single-strap hook-and-loop closure so they will fit snugly into those little feet. This will also allow the child to adjust the tightness according to his preference.

Another mother, Joyce Skogen, has a daughter on the spectrum. She said that the new Vans’ slip-ons for people with Autism have offered her daughter some independence, which is a breath of fresh air for her and her daughter.

Skogen also said, “I appreciate it when manufacturers bring to light issues that are important to the general public.”

Vans created this new collection of sensory-friendly shoes in partnership with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. This modern footwear collection does not only have sensory-inclusive elements but is also super comfortable, thanks to their ComfyCush technology.

For Charity

Vans announced that a portion of the sales (minimum of $100,000) of their Autism Awareness Collection will go directly to A.skate. This non-profit organization introduces young people on the spectrum to skateboarding.  Vans’ new collection has been met with so much praise online, and this is one of the main reasons.

A bit of Vans’ history

Vans, a California-based footwear and apparel company, has had several collaborations since they first started in 1966. These include Motorhead (1999), Disney (2018), Murakami (2015), Marc Jacobs (2005), Kenzo (2012), Peanuts (1983), Sponge Bob (2018), and Star Wars (2013), to name a few.

When Vans first launched in 1966, the company was named The Van Doren Rubber Company. Doren, an executive at one of the United States’ biggest manufacturer at the time, set up his company’s very first factory. The soles of the shoes they made were twice as thick as regular footwear, and its canvas was the strongest. It was his goal to make shoes that are durable and fashionable.


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