Finally, Vans have mated their famous ‘waffle’ sole to some sticky rubber. The Gravels have a lighter feel than other flat pedal specialists and the fit is exactly like a typical Vans trainer. That winning formula has been beefed up, with the entire upper being wrapped in abrasion- and water-resistant synthetics and an Impactsorb heel insert.
Our only complaint was when a corner of the bumper at the front of the shoe peeled away slightly, although that’s something that was quickly remedied with some grip glue.
Our favourite part of the Gravels was definitely that sole. The TRAX sticky rubber doesn’t have the outright vice-like grip of some but that’s not a bad thing. There’s more than enough grip to hold you on but if you need to shuffle your feet about a bit, you still can. The stiffness is spot-on too, the Gravels let you get the power down while remaining comfy all day.