A portion of the proceeds from the collection will go to A.skate Foundation, a non-profit that teaches skateboarding to children with autism.
Taking a giant step in the right direction, Vans has now launched a range of sensory inclusive footwear as part of its new Autism Awareness Collection. The iconic footwear brand unveiled the new collection via its website on Wednesday, revealing a "calming color palette and design features that focus on the senses of touch, sign, and sound." Comprising of a total of 16 items, the Autism Awareness Collection also includes an assortment of short and long sleeve tees for kids. The company also announced that a portion of the proceeds from the collection will go to A.skate Foundation, a non-profit that teaches skateboarding to children with autism.
Introducing the Autism Awareness Collection, an ultra-comfortable footwear pack with sensory-inclusive elements and a calming color palette. Learn more at https://t.co/sbez4xintn pic.twitter.com/mBGXBz8m5v— Vans (@VANS_66) March 11, 2020
"Since 1966, Vans has stood as a champion of individuality and self-expression. The brand’s commitment continues with the release of sensory inclusive footwear designs as part of the Autism Awareness Collection," the press release stated. "With this project, Vans celebrates the unique aspects of all people. Designed specifically with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in mind, the ultra-comfortable footwear collection is offered with sensory-inclusive elements including a calming color palette and design features that focus on the senses of touch, sign, and sound."
vans launched a collection for autism awareness with extra comfy and sensory-inclusive designs and a calming color palette and i think that’s beautiful 🥺👉👈 pic.twitter.com/aFhHwmWOqU— agnes 🗡is listening to walls🥺 (@fondlinson_) March 11, 2020
The company revealed that it collaborated with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, to "be more inclusive to common sensory sensitivities" and "create designs utilizing Vans ComfyCush technology for all-day comfort and ease of wear for adults, kids, and toddlers." Vans will donate a minimum of $100,000 of its proceeds to A.skate, which will no doubt go a long way as the organization holds clinics for children on the spectrum at no cost to the families. It also provides grants to children with autism for skateboarding gear while promoting awareness and educating families about the therapeutic benefits of skateboarding. Vans' donation will reportedly help teach 4,000 children how to skateboard.
According to CNN, the new collection is already a huge hit with parents. Connie LaBouff, whose 8-year-old son Logan was diagnosed on the autism spectrum when he was 3, told the publication that she was almost brought to tears when she saw the new line of shoes. "He has limited expressive language and has always struggled with shoes," she revealed. LaBouff added that it's been hard to find shoes for Logan as he grows up, especially ones without laces as he has great difficulty tying his shoes.
The Vans Autism Awareness collection addresses this common issue as most of the shoes in the new line are designed as slip-ons for easy-on capabilities. One designed exclusively for kids and toddlers offers a single-strap hook-and-loop closure to ensure a secure fit. "The single strap hook and loop will allow him to put his shoes on and adjust them to the tightness he personally needs," said LaBouff. "The reinforced toe means that he will be able to wear a pair he is used to longer without the anxiety of changing shoes."
Joyce Skogen, whose daughter is on the spectrum, expressed similar sentiments about the new collection. "As the mother of a child on the spectrum it has been difficult finding clothes and shoes that meet my daughter's needs," she said, adding that the slip-ons offer her daughter some independence. "I appreciate it when manufacturers bring to light issues that are important to the general public."