Earlier this week, Vans dropped a collection of sneakers geared toward both kids and adults with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Designers consulted with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, an institution that creates standardized programs in a variety of industries for people with sensory disorders and other special needs, to develop extra-comfortable, sensory-inclusive shoes that focus on touch, sight, and sound.
The sneakers, which come in a palette of cool, calming shades of blue and gray, include additional padding for maximum comfort and loops on the back that make them easy to pull on. One version of the ComfyCush Slip-On PT features a textured, checkered pattern, while another is topped with a polychromatic holograph of water.
According to CNN, many parents with children on the autism spectrum are enthusiastic about the new kicks, which will help their kids feel more independent and less frustrated. Connie LaBouff told CNN that her 8-year-old son Logan was diagnosed with ASD at age 3 and “has always struggled with shoes,” which he can’t yet tie.
"The single strap hook and loop will allow him to put his shoes on and adjust them to the tightness he personally needs," LaBouff said. "The reinforced toe means that he will be able to wear a pair he is used to longer without the anxiety of changing shoes."
Vans will donate at least $100,000 of its earnings from the collection to The A.skate Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the therapeutic benefits of skateboarding by holding free skateboarding clinics and providing gear to children on the spectrum.
“Since 1966, Vans has stood as a champion of individuality and self-expression,” the company said in a press release. “With this project, Vans celebrates the unique aspects of all people.”
You can shop the collection here.
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