OBJECTIVE The preliminary classification criteria for SSc lack sensitivity for mild/early SSc patients, therefore, the new ACR/EULAR classification criteria for SSc were developed. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of the new classification criteria for SSc in clinical practice in a cohort of mild/early patients. METHODS Consecutive patients with a clinical diagnosis of SSc, based on expert opinion, were prospectively recruited and assessed according to the EULAR Scleroderma Trials and Research group (EUSTAR) and very early diagnosis of SSc (VEDOSS) recommendations. In some patients, missing values were retrieved retrospectively from the patient's records. Patients were grouped into established SSc (fulfilling the old ACR criteria) and mild/early SSc (not fulfilling the old ACR criteria). The new ACR/EULAR criteria were applied to all patients. RESULTS Of the 304 patients available for the final analysis, 162/304 (53.3%) had established SSc and 142/304 (46.7%) had mild/early SSc. All 162 established SSc patients fulfilled the new ACR/EULAR classification criteria. The remaining 142 patients had mild/early SSc. Eighty of these 142 patients (56.3%) fulfilled the new ACR/EULAR classification criteria. Patients with mild/early SSc not fulfilling the new classification criteria were most often suffering from RP, had SSc-characteristic autoantibodies and had an SSc pattern on nailfold capillaroscopy. Taken together, the sensitivity of the new ACR/EULAR classification criteria for the overall cohort was 242/304 (79.6%) compared with 162/304 (53.3%) for the ACR criteria. CONCLUSION In this cohort with a focus on mild/early SSc, the new ACR/EULAR classification criteria showed higher sensitivity and classified more patients as definite SSc patients than the ACR criteria.