There’s no question that the Vans AV 3 left too soon. Hoping to follow the success of the soccer-inspired Busenitz Pro, Vans released the AVE3 in 2008-2009. Although the whole soccer shoe aesthetic never really meshed with Mind Field-era AVE, the AV3 stood out among the standard vulc offerings at the time.
Our nostalgia for the AV3 lies with Vans constructing this vulc model while still maintaining the appearance of a cupsole. Both the padded tongue and heel collar provided the kind of stability lacking in the regular vulcs of this era (and potentially today’s), and gave you an almost glove-like fit. Unfortunately, for most, the mere appearance of a cupsole was not enough to keep the shoe on shelves. Sadly, the aesthetic alone of the AV3 would have a huge impact on today’s market. It’s somewhat athletic look and playful colorways would undoubtedly do well. Moreover, the stubby/short toe comeback is more prevalent than ever.
Although Vans did add some minor technical details to the shoe with the Micro-Waffle Sole, we wonder if the shoe would have survived longer if it were equipped with today’s waffle-cup sole, or even a Vans Ultra Cush Insole, and provided some extra padding and support in the forefoot. While it’s hard to pin the shoe’s lack of success on any one factor, the questionable dog-bone pattern on the sole, and leading with the royal-blue colorway, may have helped lead the AV3 to its early grave. Here’s hoping the Kyle Walker shoe will pick up where the AV3 left off.
Some other shoes that have left too soon.