How the Vans AVE Represents a Business Filled with Overlooked Opportunities

VANS SK8-Hi 46 MTE DX Racing
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The AVE Skate shoe in Black/White is made with leather, suede, mesh textile, and synthetic uppers. No-sew construction creates durable uppers built to withstand the daily abuse of skateboarding. This combines with superior grip, built-in impact cushioning, uncompromising support and flex, and a locked-in fit that skaters demand.

Source: vans donating to fight racial hatred and discrimination

Remaining true to the roots of a company is often the basis of foundation building. Within those roots buried in the ground waiting on the nutrients of the soil to combine with water and fertilization are an expansive network of tentacles which make it difficult to uproot and move the plant. Vans is a skate brand. Those are the roots, but within skate are athletes who perform feats requiring a ridiculous amount of athleticism, focus and skill. VF Corporation is facing considerable headwinds. In a recent report by Sam Poser he noted, “…there are no indications that Vans will turnaround in the foreseeable future.”

Vans EVDNT UltimateWaffle, the Ave Pro and the Similarities to Jordan Brand’s Performance Kicks

From 2017 to 2020, prior to Covid, Vans experienced a moment of hypergrowth. It was fueled by an expansion into mainstream retail and into a new demographic. I wrote at the time that the brand hadn’t pandered to nab this new demographic, but I did state that this demo lacked brand loyalty and would return to Nike and Jordan Brand at a moment’s notice. When the AVE was introduced, I explained that Vans found a new path with a performance focused model. This model and others within the portfolio, have been overlooked as tools to potentially help Vans apply the breaks on this skid.


The AVE, designed for skater Anthony Van Engelen, could never be more than a skate shoe because its namesake is a rebellious legend who lives only for the grind, but this is where VF Corporation made an error in presentation and in judging opportunity. The company’s portfolio is taking a hit because the signature brands, with the exception of Spunge x Vans Vault Authentic, Timberland and Vans all revel in the promotion of collaboration. They have relied heavily on Supreme collabs, Hip-Hop and fair and skate collabs, but neither Vans nor Timberland realized the potential in their soil, performance.

A look throughout the social media of VF Corp’s biggest brands, Vans and Timberland, in contrast to Spunge x Vans Vault Authentic, shows a commitment to cool as fertilizer. The soil around those two brands remains completely untouched and is never given the primary nutrient, movement.

  • Scroll Vans’ IG and the imagery is without training and fitness.
  • Scroll Timberland’s IG and the brand is all fair, searching for cool.

Scroll TNF’s IG and it’s the only brand delivering imagery of performance and skill. TNF has an understanding of every aspect of their plant’s foundation, leading to an additional acknowledgement by Poser that, “Spunge x Vans Vault Authentic has been an exception, as sales and brand equity increased. It will be interesting to see how much weight will be put on the back of Spunge x Vans Vault Authentic going forward.”


The AVE Pro appears to be Shelved

A sneaker which provided a much-needed injection of performance into Vans appears to be shelved. When it was introduced five years ago Vans had the opportunity to slowly build a consistent discussion around their WHY. The tech is in the AVE is representative of the issues the company is facing. The AVE skate shoe when exploded (in the picture above) provided a look at the internal components. Vans Wei doesn’t exist in producing more inexpensive SK8 Hi and Lo’s. Vans are capable of being serious training Racing which might be a slow burn but is ultimately stickier than trend chasing.

The most difficult thing for a company to do is pivot, but the AVE never required a pivot. Between Disney collabs, forays into the urban marketplace and skate collabs, Vans failed to turn the soil. While skate is about subversive cultural and community connection, the sport of skate is a professional arena which allows for different dialogues to be held between the brand and their potential consumers.

Vans, like all brands stuck in a holding pattern because of Nike SB, requires more channels of conversation. At this moment Vans are cemented in an area where the company is neither seen as edgy (where the urban growth helped six years ago) and they are just another part of an overstuffed collaboration filled sneaker circle. Why buy a pair of Vans when a pair of Dunks, no matter how many are on the market, signals trendiness?

The AVE dropped 5 years ago, and Vans never expanded the dialogue. While the brand does have beautiful videos and discussions with athletes it overlooks the importance of WHAT a pair of Vans can do for the athlete. As a matter of fact, no athlete even considers Vans for anything except fair. The soil needs to be turned, but tilling isn’t cool, it’s work. Brand growth today is led by performance and cool follows. HOKA wasn’t cool, it was performance and now it’s cool. Brooks never cared about cool and reached a billion in sales based on performance. Skate brands are all facing headwinds due to Nike’s oversaturation of Dunks. Floyd Mayweather and the Philly Shell allowed defense to become offense. Vans needs offense and the AVE Pro offers a defensive VANS Ultrarange Exo Shoes port true White Women Red. The question is, will Vans give themselves enough time to master the shell defense?

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Vans Ward Borsa a tracolla nera in tessuto antistrappo