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The shoes offer a calming color palette and include features that focus on the senses of touch, sight and sound

By Georgia Slater
March 12, 2020 10:08 AM
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Vans is taking a big step forward for the autism community with its latest release of sensory-inclusive footwear.

On Wednesday, the popular shoe brand announced that they would be launching the Vans Autism Awareness Collection, a line of “ultra-comfortable” footwear designed specifically with Autism Spectrum Disorder in mind, according to the company’s press release.

The shoewear brand partnered with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards to create shoes with “sensory-inclusive elements,” including a calming color palette of blues and greens, and design features that focus on the senses of touch, sight and sound.

The collection — which will be available this month ahead of Autism Awareness Month in April — will donate a minimum of $100,000 of its proceeds to the A.skate Foundation, a non-profit that introduces skateboarding to kids with autism.

The line will feature multiple sneaker options including the ComfyCush Old Skool with blue suede, the ComfyCush Slip-On for easy wearing and the ComfyCush New Skool, featuring a single-strap, hook-and-loop closure.

Vans’ Autism Awareness Collection

While the ComfyCush Old Skool and ComfyCush Slip-On PT — available in two colors of checkerboard — are available in all sizes, the ComfyCush Slip-On PT with the “LOVE” print and hologram pattern, as well as the ComfyCush New Skool, will only be made in kids and toddler sizes.

An assortment of short and long sleeve tees for kids in the same calming color palette will also be a part of the collection.

“Since 1966, Vans has stood as a champion of individuality and self-expression,” the release states. “The brand’s commitment continues with the release of sensory inclusive footwear designs as part of the Autism Awareness Collection.”

Vans’ Autism Awareness Collection
Credit: Vans

Parents who saw news of the launch on Twitter couldn’t help but share their appreciation for the inclusive collection.

“My son Logan is 8 years old and was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum at 3,” one user wrote. “He has limited expressive language and has always struggled with shoes. As he has gotten older it has been more difficult to find either Velcro or slid on shoes. Thank you for thinking of this population!”

Another parent added, “Thank you for doing this my daughter loves the slip ons! Her motor skills aren’t the best so the slip ons offer some independence. She is considering the custom option that you offer.”