Are Vans Good Skateboarding Shoes? (The Truth)

Explore why Vans Pro models are the top choice for skateboarding. Learn about their features, styles, and impact on your skate game.

Did you know when Vans first opened their doors back in ’66 they weren’t even about the skateboarding scene? It’s true! If you’re wondering if Vans are a solid choice for skateboarding now, the answer is definitely yes! But don’t just grab any model. Vans rapidly evolved to offer a killer variety of skate shoes, ramping up their game to seismically shift from a casual clothing brand to a skateboarding legend. In this skate trip down history lane, you’ll discover why and how Vans emerged as a mainstay in skateboarding footwear manufacture and which skate shoes can make hitting your tricks feel just like walking on clouds… or maybe even better.

Why choose Vans as your skateboarding shoe?

Despite the countless brands of skateboarding shoes on the market, there’s something unique about Vans’ Pro model skate shoes. They’ve got this insane combination of comfort, durability, and a killer design, making them the perfect skate shoes for novice to pro skateboarders.

Image of a person holding vans skate shoes in his arms. Source: unsplash
Image of a person holding vans skate shoes in his arms. Source: unsplash

Vans weren’t always synonymous with skateboarding, though. When Van Doren opened the doors in ’66, skating was the furthest thing from their repertoire. That’s changed massively over the last few decades, with Vans now dedicating itself exclusively to producing skateboarding shoes.

Alright, I hear you say, “Not all shoes tagged as ‘skate’ shoes are up to the game, though, right?” Absolutely! You need skate shoes sturdy enough to withstand your kickflips, pop shuvits, and ollie attempts without giving in to the grip tape’s abrasive nature.

My favorite shoes (at the moment):

DC Cure Casual High-top Skate Shoes

Are vans good skateboarding shoes? (the truth) | 71 8annbgbl. Ac ux695 | skateboard salad
My favorite shoes (at the moment):

DC Cure Casual High-top Skate Shoes

These have lasted me probably the longest of any skate shoe I’ve had. I love high-tops because they protect my ankles. I got the gray ones, but they get dirty quickly. If you care about that, you might want to invest in a darker tone version.

What makes Vans Pro models stand out?

Vans Pro models are simply the best Vans skate shoes around. They offer great padding and durability, all while maintaining a solid grip and flexibility. Upon wearing them, you can feel the reinforcement seamlessly tucked into the high-wear areas, offering you beauty and brawn rolled into one pair of shoes. Plus, these things break in within an hour. How’s that for comfort?

A key feature of the Pro model is the Vans POPCUSH insoles. Imagine having one of those falls, you know, where your board decides it’d rather be airborne and sends you down, crashing. The POPCUSH insoles absorb impacts, cushioning your fall and making the difference between a bruised ego and a bruised heel!

There’s more! The grip is pretty mind-blowing. Thanks to the Vans waffle thread, your feet stick to your board, allowing you to adjust your foot position while remaining securely gripped. Clever, eh?

Vans vs. Nike, who wins?

It’s not just Vans that offer specialized insoles, though. Nike does, too. The tricky part comes if you’re blessed (or cursed) with wider feet. Nike’s shoes might feel a bit snug for you. In this case, Vans gives you the upper hand with a more accommodating fit.

Image of a skater going down a skating bowl while wearing vans skate shoes. Source: unsplash
Image of a skater going down a skating bowl while wearing vans skate shoes. Source: unsplash

What different styles of Vans skate shoes are available?

Life’s about choices, and Vans doesn’t disappoint in variety, either. From their classic Old School to Sk8-Hi, Vans has got you covered.

  • Vans Low Tops: They offer maximum freedom and a feathery feel. That’s a tradeoff for less ankle protection, though.
  • Vans Mid Tops: They’re the middle ground, more stable around the ankles while still offering enough freedom to shred.
  • Vans High Tops: These are for park and vert skaters, offering more ankle protection. On the flip side, they might feel a bit warm on a hot day.

You can also choose between cupsoles for more arch support and vulcanized shoes for a thinner sole. Personally, I’ve had a pretty solid experience with the low TNT pro model (cupsole), which may give you an insight into the best skateboard setup for parks.

How long do vans last?

Unfortunately, that’s the catch: Vans aren’t always the most durable skate shoes. Depending on your skate style and frequency, you might be looking at replacements sooner than you’d prefer. Quality comes at a cost, but you can make things a bit easier on your wallet by checking for sales or buying in bulk.

Pro tip: If you’re ollieing onto fresh grip tape, opt for the suede Vans canvas models for a better lifespan.

Why I like Vans skate shoes

As a skater who’s been riding Vans Pro models for quite some time now, I’d vouch for their comfort and performance. Even though they’re a bit pricey compared to other brands, the experience they offer is definitely worth every penny. They might not provide the same boardfeel you get from Nike Janoskis, but the overall experience package makes them a solid choice.

“The transformation of Vans from a casual-clothing brand to a skateboarding legend proves that with the right tweaks and relentless focus, even the mundane can turn extraordinary. Now, just grab your Vans, and let’s hit the pavement!”

Do’s and don’ts of choosing vans shoes

Choosing the right skateboarding shoes can sometimes feel as tricky as landing the perfect ollie. But we’re here to make it simpler. Rooting for the right shoes could massively change the game for you. So, before hitting the pavement with Vans on, let’s cruise through the do’s and don’ts:

Pick the pro models from Vans for actual skateboardingBuy regular Vans if you ride cruiser or longboards
Go for suede Vans for better durabilityOverlook the importance of the special insoles
Opt for models offering the POPCUSH insolesIgnore the difference between cupsoles and vulcanized shoes
Notice the difference waffle thread can makeAssume they’ll last longer than other brands
Choosing the right Vans for skateboarding is an art in itself. Make the right choice for an excellent skating experience.

Advantages and disadvantages of using vans for skateboarding

Switching your skating game up a notch often starts with the right shoes. But are Vans the ones to choose? Here are the pros and cons of using Vans for skateboarding:

Pros of using vans for skateboarding

The satisfaction you get from your Vans depends heavily on making savvy choices around the model type, materials, and so on. Here are a few benefits you stand to enjoy:

  • Incredible comfort right out of the box.
  • POPCUSH insoles provide great support.
  • The waffle thread patent offers superior grip.

Cons of using vans for skateboarding

Every coin has two sides, and Vans are no exception. Here are some of the drawbacks you might face using Vans for skateboarding:

  • Durability is often a concern with Vans.
  • Some find the cost can be on the higher side compared to other brands.
  • The boardfeel might not match up to the likes of Nike Janoski’s.

If you are a visual learner, check out the video below from YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

You’re probably sitting there with a couple of questions burning through your mind. We understand skateboarding isn’t just a sport—it’s a culture, a lifestyle. And choosing the right skating gear is no small feat. Here are a few questions you might be mulling over:

How long does it take to break in Vans skate shoes?

Most Vans Pro skate shoes break in within an hour. The swift acclimatization is one of the many reasons skateboarding enthusiasts love them! With this shorter break-in period, you can jump on your board and start shredding without the discomfort of stiff shoes.

Do Vans skate shoes offer good heel support?

Yes, they do. The Pro model Vans shoes, in particular, come with specialized insoles known as POPCUSH. They offer excellent arch and heel support, absorbing impacts effectively. This feature contributes to a more pleasant skating experience, especially for those with persistent heel bruises.

What type of skateboarding is best suited for Vans skate shoes?

Vans makes a pretty solid choice for street, park, and vert skating. However, the type of Vans you choose significantly influences the skateboarding style they complement best. For instance, Vans Low tops offer great freedom of movement, making them suitable for street skating. Vans High tops are typically better for park and vert skating, as they offer a bit more ankle protection. For more on this, check out our post on longboard vs skateboard.

Can I use regular vans for skateboarding?

Regular Vans are generally not recommended for serious skateboarding. While they might be good for casual riders or cruisers, they won’t withstand the wear and tear that comes with aggressive skating. It’s always better to go with the Pro models when skateboarding.

Final thoughts

At its core, skateboarding is a reflection of style, personality, and grit, and your choice of gear plays a huge role. With a heritage grounded in skating culture and a non-stop commitment to improving their skate shoes, Vans has skated to the top to deliver some of the best skateboarding shoes on the market. Whether you’re new to the skateboard or you’re grinding your way to the pro level, Vans offers diversity, style, and functionality that stand out from the pack.

Which Vans model do you think suits your skateboarding style the best? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below. I read and reply to every comment. Sharing is caring. If you found this piece helpful, spread the word by sharing it with your skate pals, and take a spin around my blog for more tips and tricks about all things skateboarding. Thanks for reading, and remember to always skate safely.

Key takeaways

This article covered the ins and outs of Vans as a solid choice for skateboarding shoes. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Vans’ journey to becoming a skateboarding shoe legend started in 1966.
  • The Vans Pro models are the most suitable for skateboarding.
  • Vans shoes offer POPCUSH insoles for superior support and an innovative waffle thread for excellent grip.
  • Despite offering high-quality shoes, Vans skateboarding shoes may not be as durable as other brands.
  • Vans offers different types of shoes suitable for various skate styles: low tops for street style, high tops for park style, and vert skating.
  • It’s critical to choose suede Vans for long-term use, especially when ollieing onto fresh grip tape.

Helpful resources

Steven Portrate
Written by Steven Sadder, Staff Writer

Hey! I'm Steven, a lifelong skater, and proud New Yorker. I’ve been skating since I was a teenager. I may be a bit older now, but I'm not slowing down. Follow me for skating tips and latest gear reviews.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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