Vans Atwood vs Old Skool: Which is Better?

Let’s start with the major difference between the two. When you look at the two Vans models, you notice that the major difference between the two low-top shoes is that the Vans Atwood sports a dual canvas upper with double stitching while Vans Old Skool bears the signature white side stripe.

Vans Atwood vs Old Skool

The two are also made of different materials. Yes, they both have the hallmark rubber waffle outsole but their uppers differ. The Vans Atwood is made of Canvas while Vans Old Skool is made of suede and less often, canvas.

First impressions

Vans Atwood

Vans Atwood vs Old Skool

At first glance we notice the following features:

  • Dual piece canvas upper
  • Metal eyelets
  • Padded tongue and collar
  • Checked rubber waffle outsole
  • Low vamp
  • Double stitching
  • Visible label
  • Lace-up closure

I don’t know about you guys but the Vans Atwood looks like a work of art. Starting from the dual-piece canvas upper down to the signature waffle outsole.

On a mono pair, it is hard to tell but thanks to the red and black colors you can clearly see where the two pieces meet and form the upper.

The fore part of the upper and the heel counter are black while the vamp and quarter are red. The sneakers are designed like derby shoes, meaning that the flaps are joined to the quarter to cover the tongue of the shoes.

The tongue is long and even has a big label that shows the Vans logo. There is also a logo design at the back of the outsole.

The upper is held together by double stitching. This way is sturdy and won’t come loose easily. It also adds to the design of the shoe and gives it a bit of style.

The vamp and the heel counter of the Vans Atwood are low. It exposes the ankle and is great with ankle socks.

The eyelets that are used for lacing are metal. The metal eyelets ensure that the laces are easy to pull through and it is more durable than the plastic ones. At the side of the flaps, there is a small Vans label that is easy to miss.

And finally to the rubber waffle outsole. The Vans Atwood comes with designs on the outsole. Some have “off the wall”, while some like the pair above have the checked pattern.

There are plain ones for those who just want theirs white. The checked design rind from the quarter all around the back and to the other side. Again this makes it very attractive.

Vans Old Skool

Vans Atwood vs Old Skool

From the picture we can pick these features of the Vans Old Skool:

  • Dual piece suede upper
  • Reinforced toe caps
  • Rubber waffle outsole
  • Low vamp
  • Metal eyelets
  • Signature white side stripe

What do you notice from the list above? That’s right, the Vans Atwood and Vans Old Skool have some things in common like the rubber waffle outsole. But then it has its unique features like the suede upper.

Vans Old Skool can be made of suede and canvas material. It gives it that glossy smooth look. You will also notice that the upper has a lot of stitches.

It is not a one-piece piece and so it uses double stitching to hold the multiple pieces in place to form one sturdy suede upper while adding to the aesthetics.

Old Skool is very similar to an oxford shoe. The flaps are smaller even though it is joined to the quarter of the shoe.

The fore part of the upper and the vamp are separated by a double stitch similar to the structure of an oxford pair of shoes. This gives it a very classy look.

The flaps have metal eyelets that are sturdy and durable. They also help your laces go through them easily. These shoes have a low vamp and are also low-top shoes exposing the ankles and allowing free movement.

And now to what makes these Vans Old Skool, Old Skool. No, it is not the reinforced toe caps. Although it is good.

It is great for protecting the toes and the reinforced toe caps will last longer than just a piece of suede material will. Now to what makes these shoes so special. They have a white side stripe.

The side strip or the jazz stripe as it was originally called is. It is not the most beautiful thing about the old Skool. It just makes them special.

The side strip is always white no matter the color of the shoes, mono, or a color combination. It easily distinguishes the Old Skool from other Vans models.

Now, I don’t have to study the intricate pattern of a double stitching to guess the right model.

Vans Atwood vs Vans Old Skool: Let’s get down to the comparison


All Vans models have the same sole. That means that all Vans styles are vulcanized making them flexible and durable.

With these features, they also make Vans soles in different designs depending on the model.

Vans Atwood has the Vans logo on the heel and some of them have off the wall written all around it. Vans Old Skool also has the Vans logo written at the heel with no other design.

The Vans sole has a diamond pattern which gives the shoe traction. Another thing to note is that they have a doubled circle pattern on the footpad so that it is extra grippy.


There is a huge gap between Vans Atwood and Vans Old Skool when it comes to durability. Vans says that their shoes can last for a little over a year and with a lot of care and little use should.

However, Vans Atwood is not durable. They can last for a few months, a maximum of six even without using them for skating and other sporting activities.

The sole can completely detach from the upper. Now while it can easily be reattached, for a skating shoe it is not very durable.

Vans Old Skool on the other hand can last for two or three years. They are skating shoes just like Vans Atwood but with their reinforcements in toe caps, they can withstand way longer than the Vans Atwood can.


There is a bit of a gap between these two. Vans Old Skool comes at $70 maximum and they don’t go below $55. You will see them also in many designs and for each design, the price may differ.

For Vans Atwood, they run in a price range of $70 to $85. They are more expensive than Vans Old Skool and they don’t go higher or lower than that.

Generally, the price may differ depending on where you are buying but you should find both models around the prices above.


All Vans shoes come with the Vans insole. The thing about them is that these Vans insoles are very uncomfortable.

They are not padded, nor do they offer any support nor perform any orthopedic functions. However, they are removable. They come in different colors and you can easily change them or switch them for other insoles.

It is best to take out the Vans insoles before you put in another pair of Insoles so you don’t make the hoes uncomfortable and tight.


Vans Atwood generally runs wide. It is designed this way to accommodate people with wide feet.

They are also not the most comfortable shoes in the world but with the insoles and padded tongue and collar, they are okay.

Vans Old Skool on the other hand runs small. People with narrow feet can wear this but you will have to try them out to determine whether to size up or not.

Why? Remember that the Vans Old Skool is padded and has reinforcements. That means your size may seem.


Vans Atwood is a very stylish shoe the canvas material, together with the double stitching and the waffle outsole all give it an effortless athleisure look.

Vans Old Skool on the other has the same features and while the side stripe is not a particular aesthetic it gives it a unique look. The suede and canvas upper are also smooth and glossy making it more stylish than the Vans Atwood.

Also, you don’t see any obvious labels on the Vans Old Skool which can be a bit of an eyesore for even a proud Vans fan.

Why should you buy Vans Atwood?

Vans Atwood has a more formal look to it. They are cut like derby shoes and if you know your shoes, you will understand that the design will be great anywhere. You can wear it anywhere sneakers can be worn. The signature waffle outsole will distinguish you.

And if you just want to use them for sports and skateboarding, go for it. The soles are designed so that you have that board feel while doing what you love.

They have so much traction, you won’t have the problem of your feet slipping off your board.

The Vans Atwood is also lightweight and breathable. That means you won’t have sweaty feet or have weight as a burden.

Why should you buy Vans Old Skool?

What makes them so great? Vans Old Skool has been described as the skateboarders’ design and best choice. They are Vans’s best skating shoes and I will tell you why.

Where other Vans Atwood fails, Vans Old Skool fills in. Those toe reinforcements keep them for years.

This way they can play along and do whatever tricks you desire without falling apart in months. They are also made of sturdier quality materials so the color doesn’t fade. Durability is a strong point for Vans Old Skool.

Aside from their durability, they are big on comfort. They have a comfortable footbed, the interior is not rough on the feet and with the sizing, they will fit you snugly. You can always size up if you feel they are too small.

They come in many colors and different sizes. This way you can easily be cleaned. With these, you are making an investment.

Which will you go for? Vans Atwood or Old Skool?

Without thinking twice, I am going for Vans Old Skool. Shoes are not just designed for their beauty for a specific purpose. For skate shoes, these are the best in Vans and they will give you what you want.

In other words, if you are willing to forgo board feel and big labels for comfort and durability, then go for these. They are what you need.

Aside from that, the price, appearance, and value, in general, surpasses Atwood. I don’t know about you but if I have to choose between the two again, it is Vans Old Skool all the way.


In overall quality, I will quickly choose Vans Old Skool. They are great both inside and out.

They have a great style and grippy sike just like the Vans Atwood but what Vans Atwood lacks is the reinforcements that make Vans Old Skool a better skating shoe.

The design is slicker when you look at the flaps, double stitching, and pattern. Aside from that, Vans Old Skool has more paddings in not just the tongue and collar but a comfier footbed.

Yes, that is just about it for our comparison today. Thank you for reading. I do hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I loved writing it.

You can drop your questions and comments in the comment section below and till the next article, have a lovely day.


This page may contain affiliate links.

To support the content and the knowledge I share here, I earn from qualifying purchases from Amazon at no extra cost to you.

Leave a Comment