Vans has a new line of ‘sensory-inclusive’ sneakers to raise awareness of autism

Instagram | @kimmclelland

According to estimates by the CDC‘s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, approximately 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). National Autism Awareness Month is in April, and World Autism Awareness Day takes place on April 2.

Vans, a brand that prides itself on standing up for individuality and self-expression, has released an Autism Awareness Collection that includes and celebrates kids on the autism spectrum.

Sensory issues often accompany ASD. Taking this into account, Vans worked with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards and created a line of comfortable, sensory-inclusive footwear that is now available.

The Autism Awareness Shoe Line

The collection includes ultra-comfortable shoe designs and shirts. The shoes incorporate numerous sensory characteristics, from calming color palettes and easy slip-on designs to simple closures and extra padding in all the right places.

One shoe has a holographic water-printed upper; another is a blue suede checkerboard version with red velvet hearts and a message on the backs of each heel. All styles include Vans’ ComfyCush technology for comfort. The shoes come in toddler, child and adult sizes and range in price from $45-$65.

The brand posted these images on Instagram, writing, “Introducing the Autism Awareness Collection, an ultra-comfortable footwear pack with sensory-inclusive elements and a calming color palette.”

Proceeds Will Benefit The A.skate Foundation

Not only are the shoes designed to appeal to kids (and adults) on the autism spectrum, but they also support the A.skate Foundation, an organization that introduces children with autism to skateboarding. Vans will donate a minimum of $100,000 of its proceeds from the sales of this line to the organization.

A.skate holds clinics across the U.S. at no cost for children with autism, provides grants for skateboard gear, and promotes awareness and education about the skateboard industry.

“The proceeds from this collection enables A.skate to teach 4,000 children with autism how to skateboard and further builds on the inclusive and creative culture of skateboarding,” Vans said on its news page about the collection.


People Are Excited

Fans of the shoes are sharing their excitement about the shoes, which are each designed to stimulate the senses of sight and touch.

“Omg! @vans — thank you!!! When Charlie was little, we couldn’t get him to wear shoes, socks or boots,” wrote Kim McLelland in an Instagram post. “So to say I’m excited for a slip-on comfy and stylish shoe for Charlie is an understatement!!”

@fondlinson_ tweeted, “vans launched a collection for autism awareness with extra comfy and sensory-inclusive designs and a calming color palette and i think that’s beautiful.”

The shoes debuted in March and are available at and in select stores. Are you interested in getting some for a person with ASD in your life?

Family & Parenting, News, Products, Style & Beauty

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Tricia Goss
Tricia Goss is a Texas-based writer and editor with nearly two decades of experience. She is passionate about helping readers improve their skills, gain knowledge and attain more happiness in life. When she’s not working, Tricia enjoys traveling with her husband and their dog, especially to visit their five grandchildren.

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