Skate Shoes That Left Too Soon: Vans AV3


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.


  1. James

    May 4, 2016 6:56pm

    I had these in plain black and white. Outlet pickup years after their release. They skated great but had a super soft rubber on the toe where you do flip tricks. I burned through it real quick. That was my only gripe with these. Re-release with a duracap would be awesome.

  2. Bigwig

    May 5, 2016 12:31am

    I used to work at a skate shop and I swear these came out at least a year before the busenitz. If anything we thought it was trying to be like the lakai Manchester as that model was still selling like crazy after fully flared. everytime a kid picked it up off the shelf they’d comment on how heavy it was then end up buying some chukka lows

  3. BRUh

    May 5, 2016 2:53am

    The only time i could sw backside flip of off stuff was in white leather av3s. If they brought them back I would wear vans again.

  4. anonymous

    May 5, 2016 5:47pm

    people act like a family member died and cant comeback. shoe companys can make 200,000 more pairs of anything if they wanted too

  5. cyril

    September 9, 2016 6:47pm

    I remember seeing these at Sunday in Buffalo and for sure thinking they were trying to get on the soccer shoe wagon that adidas was pulling along… I thought it was an odd shoe for AVE, but a cool shoe. The funny thing is I do not remember 1 single ad promoting this shoe.
    I really think the AV6 was a shoe that should have been carried over season to season. I really enjoyed that shoe… they way it fit and looked. I actually bought a pair on eBay recently.


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