Which Vans shoes are best?

It can be hard to find comfortable and fashionable shoes. Most of the time, you’re forced to choose between comfy sneakers and dressy shoes. Vans makes shoes that offer a great balance of comfort and style.

If you’re looking for shoes to wear with most of your favorite casual and business-casual outfits, the Vans Unisex Authentic Core Classics are excellent. They were the first Vans shoes ever made, but they’ve never declined in quality and are still popular, thanks to their stylish design.

What to know before you buy Vans shoes

Size and fit

Unlike most other shoes, nearly all Vans shoes are gender-neutral, so you don’t have to worry about your foot shape and the fit as much. However, there is a distinction between adult and kid sizes. If you’re thinking of getting your child a pair, be sure to get them the correct size.

Versatile

Vans shoes are famous for skateboarding because of their low-cut, flat-sole design. However, they’re some of the most versatile shoes as many like using them as everyday footwear or for completing stylish outfits.

Types of Vans shoes

There are many different Vans shoe styles, the most popular being the Authentic, Old Skool, Slip-on, Sk8-Hi and Ultrarange models.

  • Authentic is the original Vans shoe style and is designed for comfort. It has a traditional look, a canvas upper and usually has a uniform or dual color pattern. Some models have bright sides or uppers.
  • Old Skool shoes are more robust than Authentic-style Vans and feature a padded collar for comfort. They’re one of the most popular skateboarding shoes.
  • Slip-on Vans are low-cut and ideal for everyday or business casual attire.
  • Sk8-Hi Vans are similar to Old Skool Vans, but they’re high-cut, providing more ankle support.
  • Ultrarange shoes look like traditional athletic shoes and offer the same kind of arch support and breathability.

What to look for in quality Vans shoes

Upper material

High-quality Vans shoes usually have uppers made of suede, leather or canvas. Canvas uppers are breathable and easy to clean, but many prefer the quality and look of Vans shoes with leather or suede uppers. However, suede and leather uppers are more difficult to clean than canvas.

Cushioning technology

Vans shoes are comfortable, and a big reason is that they’re packed with soft cushioning. There are three primary cushioning technologies used in Vans shoes: UltraCush, PopCush and ComfyCush.

  • UltraCush shoes have an insole with lots of soft foam cushioning, making them ideal for skateboarding or everyday wear.
  • PopCush is more commonly found in the more fashionable Vans shoes. The insole is comfortable but noticeably thinner.
  • ComfyCush models are more flexible, making them excellent for those who find traditional Vans shoes too stiff in the heel.

Duracap

Duracap refers to rubber underlays in the toe box underneath the upper. They provide durability so that when the suede or canvas wears out, there is still a layer of protection over your toes. Duracap is found in most Vans but is more pronounced in Authentic and Old Skool styles since skateboarders are more aggressive with their shoes and likely to wear them out faster than casual wearers.

How much you can expect to spend on Vans shoes

Vans shoes are relatively inexpensive as you can find a new pair for $50-$80. Models with premium designs or materials can cost $80-$120.

Vans shoes FAQ

Can Vans shoes be worn without socks?

A. Yes, but it’s best to wear thin ankle socks. The insole can get dirty and wear out faster due to excessive sweat and friction.

How can you tell the difference between authentic Vans shoes and knockoffs?

A. Knockoff Vans are usually flimsier, and many of them don’t have a waffle-tread pattern on the outsole. If in doubt, always purchase from a reliable retailer.

What are the best Vans shoes to buy?

Top Vans shoes

Vans Unisex Authentic Core Classics

Vans Unisex Authentic Core Classics

What you need to know: These shoes were the first Vans ever made and remain its most popular thanks to their versatility.

What you’ll love: These shoes have a durable canvas upper and a stiff rubber outsole with a waffle-tread pattern for superior grip. They’re fashionable as casual wear as they can complement various outfits and feature a Vans flag label on each side. Also, they come in four stylish colors.

What you should consider: They’re not as comfortable as some other models, as some customers found them stiff in the heels.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top Vans shoes for the money

Vans Old Skool Zip Shoes

Vans Old Skool Zip Shoes

What you need to know: These shoes have a classic look but have a caveat that gives them a modern look.

What you’ll love: The suede canvas on the heels and toe caps gives these shoes a sophisticated look, and the rubber outsole makes them convenient for skateboarding and casual wear. The zipper adds style to the classic Vans design and makes them easy to slip on and take off.

What you should consider: Some users reported an uncomfortable heel, and they only come in gray.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Worth checking out

Vans Unisex Old Skool Skate Shoes

Vans Unisex Old Skool Skate Shoes

What you need to know: These retro-style shoes are crowd-favorite and suitable for skateboarding and casual streetwear.

What you’ll love: These low-cut shoes have a suede and canvas upper and feature the trademark Vans stripes on the sides. They have a padded tongue and lining for all-day comfort and a durable, waffle-pattern rubber outsole that provides excellent traction on various surfaces.

What you should consider: Some customers complained about the lack of sufficient arch support and a tight toe box, so purchasing a half size may be ideal for some.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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