Vans [Rowley] Pro inspired by Geoff Roweley’s first pro shoe on Vans is back and available in 3 synthetic colorways. Black, Navy, and Red (pictured) all using a really nice looking synthetic-nubuck upper! Vans sent a pair to VSB for a First Look Review and skate test. We are super excited to dive in to such a high profile skate shoe produced without the use of animals! (For full disclosure, the PR Coordinator for Vans could not confirm the origins of the glues. We will update if we get more information on this.)
Fresh out of the box, The Rowley Pro pops in red synthetic-nubuck leather. The shoe is inspired by some of the older Rowley models combining some classic styling with modern skate conventions. The shoe looks like it has some significant bulk. However synthetics have come a long way since the 90s/early 2000s and it certainly feels lighter then it looks.
The toe box is noticeably tapered on the outer edges. This gives the look of a narrow or pointed toe but this is also a bit deceptive. The shoe felt neither restrictive nor loose in the toe and the vent holes are plentiful which is really important for a synthetic shoe.
Here is a close look at right toe. Fresh and clean with no wear. The double stitching is slightly higher then normal and has an extra layer of silver synthetic-leather for some stylish contrast. Flying in the face of the solid toe cap trend, the layers go back enough to extend the ollie wear and hide a critical break point under the bottom of the lace cage.
Laces have no eyelets. This would be nice for fast lacing and would maybe provide some extra life. Though we’ll see if the synthetic-nubuck can hold up or tear under stress.
Vans Pro Vulc and Waffle pattern soles are typically thinner then the average Vans which means you can get right on the board. We took them to Cream City Skatepark near Milwaukee, Wisconsin and had little to no break-in time needed before bringing to the ramps. The “ImpactSorb® gel” heels are a nice little feature too. Decent board feel and after some warm up time the Rowleys’ feel like an old comfortable sneaker.
Last but not least the collar. The cut is low with a fairly mellow ankle line. Stiff heal caps with a bit of mesh cushioning; soft and don’t dig into the ankle. The shoe doesn’t cup the heal so the foot raises a bit. This might be a let down for some older skaters who want the extra padding in the ankles or a tight cup on the heal but your foot is free to move with out restriction. You can jam your feet in and never unlace the Rowleys but watch those flying boards. Embossed on the back is 66/99 for Vans founding and the year Geoff Rowley went Pro for vans!
First impression, the shoe looks great and feels really nice. It has been a long time since Vans has released a synthetic skate shoe with a Pro name as respected as Geoff Rowley. While some of the canvas models are perfectly good for cruising around, the Rowley Pro is a serious contender. We’ll provide some updates in the review over the next few weeks. If you want to check out the shoe for yourself, they are available at the Vans site and at a bunch of retailers.
Vans size 6.5-16 $65.00 (synthetic in Black, Navy, and Red)