With the Vans AVE Pro, Vans is not only introducing the new pro skate shoe from Anthony van Engelen, but also the new Vans UltimateWaffle sole. So testing the Vans AVE Pro for us was a no brainer.
The new AVE Pro breathes life into the Vans Pro assortment in many ways: According to van Engelen, this new shoe is the first cupsole model with his name on it since his shift from DC Shoes to Vans 2005. Without a doubt, the silhouette with the new UltimateWaffle construction is meant to keep up with the advantages of vulcanized shoes. But first, let’s take a look at the Vans AVE Pro’s technology.
Vans AVE Pro – TechTalk
The Vans AVE Pro is a skate shoe with a lot of technical features. The new UltimateWaffle sole has a built-in shank that should provide flexibility. The proven ULTRACUSH footbed ensures impact protection. The AVE Pro also comes with DURACAP reinforcements to improve durability and LuxLiner technology should see to an optimal fit.
What’s more, the new Pro model by Anthony van Engelen, like its predecessors uses the RapidWeld process. This method connects the upper’s panels by applying heat instead of using seams. Sounds good to me because when there are no seams then they can’t rip. Bottom line, the AVE Pro is equipped with pretty much any skate shoe technology Vans has to offer.
Unboxing | First impression
Despite the simple silhouette, the AVE Pro is eye-candy material. The translucent UltimateWaffle outsole reveals some of the shoe’s technicalities. In the AVE, the ULTRACUSH footbed divides into a connected midsole and a removable insole. The insole might give a rather thin impression, but the real impact protection seems to come from the midsole.
For me, the highlight of the shoe are the upper’s side panels which are mostly mesh. Optically, the AVE Pro might offer good breathability.
In my eyes, the Vans AVE Pro fits true to size. Nevertheless, the toe box is a little bit narrow – but my regular shoe size fit perfectly. Thanks to the LuxLiner and the padded heel area, you won’t need a break-in period. Apart from that, the padding is rather minimal, only the tongue has a little bit more padding. This explains the AVE Pro’s narrow look.
Performance | Boardfeel, Grip & Support
My expectations of the AVE Pro were high, still the shoe managed to surprise me throughout my first sessions. Right from the start, the boardfeel is ideal and definitely comparable to vulcanized shoes. For me, the padding is right on point and even hours later the model still fit like a glove. Plus the grip from the UltimateWaffle sole met all my needs.
You might not walk on clouds in the AVE Pro in comparison to other skate shoes, but while you’re skateboarding it will provide you with exactly the degree of dampening and boardfeel you want and need. I couldn’t determine if the shank in the UltimateWaffle sole contributes to the cupsole’s flexibility, but it does pretty well on Primos. I do think that you can conquer one gap or another with the Vans AVE Pro.
If you’re lucky, you might catch a fresh breeze through the mesh panels of the shoe. However, since the LuxLiner covers the entire front of your foot, breathability is limited. Looking at the shoe’s perfect fit, this was a compromise I was willing to take.
Vans managed to set a new durability standard for their pro models with the AVE Pro. After about 25 hours of intensively skating the Vans AVE Pro, there were hardly any signs of wear on the shoe. The suede on the toe box became a bit rougher while holes and ripped seams were virtually absent – courtesy of RapidWeld technology. Even the mesh material on the side held up with griptape. Just the hem around the ankle got frayed – a rather optical downside if you ask me.
At last: the UltimateWaffle sole. Besides the outstanding performance, the sole is damn strong. The sole tread’s profile almost completely survived the test and will continue to provide grip for a while. However there is a tiny downside with the Vans AVE Pro in white: the upper is pretty likely to get dirty. If you want to keep the colorway “blanc de blanc black” fresh, you should stay away from crusty ditches and so on – I wasn’t able to get the shoe clean again.
The new Vans AVE Pro skate shoe is a true all-arounder with barely any weak points. In my opinion, the model’s boardfeel, grip and durability are extraordinary. In fact, I’ve never had a shoe that I felt so certain and confident in while riding my board. Of course, all this comes at a price – AVE’s signature silhouette is far from cheap. But considering the performance of the AVE Pro, turning a blind eye on this one might not be such a bad thing after all.
- low weight
- improvable breathability
- gets dirty easily (white colorway)