Vans Rowley Pro – First Look Review

Vans Rowley Pro Vegan Skateboard Shoe

photo:Tyler Howell

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.)

Vans Rowley Pro Vegan Skateboard shoesFresh 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.

Vans Rowely Pro Vegan Skateboard shoesThe 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.

Vans Rowely Pro Vegan Skateboard shoesHere 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 Rowely Pro Vegan Skateboard shoes 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.

Vans Rowely Pro Vegan Skateboard shoesLast 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)

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12 Responses to Vans Rowley Pro – First Look Review

  1. veganshawn says:

    Isn’t it the same shoe from the early 2000’s?? I would skate them if I got them for free but there is no way in hell I am giving money to Geoff so he can murder more animals!!

    • jez says:

      Too right dude! why the fuck would any vegan want to buy these! Rowley is a massive sell out who shoots animals for fun. fuck him! and his shitty shoes.

      • Edward says:

        Sucks that the only new vegan shoe available in size 16 in the last year or so has to come from the guy who said this:

        “I do mostly predator hunting; coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions – your apex predators. I really enjoy hunting them on foot or with dogs, calling them in, trying to get really close. I’ve been lion hunting every year for ten years.”

  2. Andrew says:

    Had a black pair of these when they first came out and they were super light and comfy. Might have to get some of the new ones.

  3. Martín says:

    Nice Model!

  4. Thomas Harding says:

    These aren’t inspired by the first Rowley Pro- they are the first Rowley Pro. Ordering a pair this afternoon as soon the paycheck hits the bank!

    I got a pair for kicking around in when they re-issued them in 2005 that held up pretty good and would probably still be in ok had they not been left on the back patio for a year. Sounds like they’ve updated the insoles and not much else, though the older ones came with those early 2000’s oval laces as I recall. They also really stank after a while which was a problem I had with other Vans synthetics that came out around the same time (the Cab 8 and Rowley XL3 and these all shared the same signature funk that no other pair of shoes I ever owned could create)

  5. Bender B. says:

    I am glad Vans made three vegan colorways. When I saw these on a few months ago I was worried there wouldn’t be any vegan options.

    • Mr Fakie says:

      It is nice to see a Pro model have a Vegan option. Especially considering how many adds in the mags have featured the Vegan colorway and all local shops that are stocking them.

    • Bender B. says:

      In case anyone cares, I got mine in the mail. I wound up exchanging them for a half size smaller than I usually get.

      • GraveDirtman says:

        I can vouch for this guy, I got them instore at vans and needed a half size smaller as well. Im always a 9.5 in every shoe, vans included. However when it came to these rowleys it was absolutely necessary i purchased a 9. hopefully this helps someone.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yeah had a pair of these from the early-mid 2000s in grey. The upper was made of very poor materials, like almost cardboard that shredded. The double panelling barely made any difference to the durability. Your mileage may vary.

    Given Rowley’s suede and leather shoes of recent years I find it hard to trust in his “label” if you can even call it that.

  7. Justin Bowen says:

    awesome! I remember having a pair of the original ones in red when I was a teen. Im gonna have to snag these for the young me that should’ve been vegan back then too.

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