Reviews

The Best Vans Colorways (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Rock a classic American shoe brand with your pair of Vans kicks

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BY Andra DelMonico / LAST UPDATED ON January 15, 2021

You don’t have to be a skater, surfer, or live on the west coast to wear these iconic shoes. Vans sneakers are one of the most recognizable and most loved shoes around the world. They have a lasting appeal due to their high-quality construction, minimalist styling, and rebel attitude.

 

Since their introduction in the 1960s, Vans has been a go-to shoe for their comfort and durability. You’ll love how lightweight and easy to break in they are. The company has been decades ahead of culture by designing unisex shoes, so anyone can wear any shoe that appeals to them. Whether you’re looking to experience your first pair or already have an extensive collection, this guide will help you find the perfect pair of Vans for your style aesthetic.

Best Overall
Vans Classic Slip-On
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Summary
Summary

Slip these classic Vans skate shoes on your feet and enjoy an easy-going kind of style. It comes in several sizes and colors for you to choose from.

Pros
Pros
  • Rubber sole 
  • Cushioned collar
  • Unique styling
Cons
Cons
  • Lacks toe reinforcement 
  • Can cause blisters
Best Overall
Vans Classic Slip-On
Best Value
Vans Authentic Core Classic Sneakers
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Summary
Summary

Wear your Authentic sneakers and look stylish no matter what you’re doing. They feature a canvas upper, rubber sole, and lace-up front.

Pros
Pros
  • Vulcanized construction 
  • Lightweight 
Cons
Cons
  • Lacks cushioning 
  • Flat sole 
Best Value
Vans Authentic Core Classic Sneakers
Honorable Mention
Vans Low-Top Sneakers
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Summary
Summary

Wear this iconic Vans shoe and rock an American classic. These shoes feature a single color with a bold accent line down the side.

Pros
Pros
  • Lace-up front 
  • Vulcanized waffle sole 
  • Padded collar
Cons
Cons
  • Flat sole 
  • Narrow fit
Honorable Mention
Vans Low-Top Sneakers
Beautiful Vans Colorways Close Up
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Benefits of Vans Colorways

  • Style. There are thousands of designs available to choose from. While they have a limited number of shoe types, there are countless options for colors and patterns. You’ll be able to find the perfect pair to match any outfit. 
  • Quality. The reason Vans have remained popular for so many years is the consistency in the quality. You can wear your shoes every day for years before they fall apart. This durability makes them reliable and well worth the cost. 
  • Comfort. These shoes don’t just look cool; they’re comfortable enough to wear all day. Slip a pair on and feel how they effortlessly wrap around your feet. They’re lightweight enough to walk long distances without tiring your legs and back.

Types of Vans Colorways

Slip-On

This laid back shoe is easy to slide onto your feet. It first hit the market in 1977 and has become a staple in surf and skate culture. They’re nice because they don’t have laces that can become untied or get caught in anything. There are two elastic inserts on either side of the tongue for stretch and flexibility. The most well-known style is the black and white checkerboard pattern, but modern designs embrace various colors and patterns. 

Authentic 

This type of shoe was one of the first in the product lineup for Vans in 1966. They feature a low profile design with an upper that wraps around the foot just below the ankle. This gives your feet support and protection without limiting the movement and flexibility of your ankles. They lace up on the front for a classic sneaker feel. 

Old Skool 

This design features the iconic Vans side stripe. It first joined the Vans product line in 1978 after the company’s founder drew what he described as a “Jazz stripe” on the side of the shoe. You’ll notice that this shoe design is similar to the Authentic with a low profile rise. However, the body of the shoe is more substantial, with more structure and cushioning. 

Sk8-Hi

Similar to the Old Skool, the Sk8-Hi features the classic Vans side stripe. Where this shoe stands out is how high it comes up on the foot. The tops of the shoe will cover your ankle for increased support. You may hear these shoes called “high tops” because of this. They also have a longer lacing line to give you a more secure fit. 

Era

This is the first skate shoe style that Vans produced. It features clean styling lines and is built for comfort. The collar sits just below your ankle and has extra padding for comfort. The construction is extra sturdy to give your feet the support they need when being active. You’ll also notice that these shoes are breathable to keep your feet cool. 

Top Brands

Vans 

Founded in California in 1966, Vans began as a shoe company catering to skate and surfing enthusiasts. Throughout the years, the shoes have grown in popularity to become a fashion staple. The company is known for creating innovative designs while staying true to its original construction designs. Check out these fierce  Fuzzy Leopard Print Vans Slip-Ons that combine style and functionality. 

Vans Colorways Pricing

  • Under $50: You’ll find all types of Vans shoes in this price range. The most common sizes and design styles going out of season tend to be in this price range. 
  • $50 to $100: The majority of Vans are in this price range. You can expect to spend this amount on all types of shoes with the current season’s designs in the most common shoe sizes. 
  • $100 and up: Vans in this price range tend to be either limited-edition lines or specialty sizes that are very small or large.

Key Features

Design 

The design of the shoes is the color and pattern of the shoes you choose. This is purely about your style, taste, and sense of fashion. What’s nice about Vans is that they come in several minimalist and subtle colors, making them versatile in how you wear them. There are also several bold designs or those who appreciate a bright color or intricate pattern. 

Type

The type of shoe is the construction of it. The type you choose will depend on what appeals to you visually, what feels most comfortable on your feet, and the activity you plan to do in them. Choose a type of shoe that will adequately support your feet while not restricting your movements. 

Size

Any pair of shoes that you buy needs to fit your feet. Check your shoe size against Van’s size chart to ensure you buy a pair that will fit your feet. It can also help to try them on before you commit to buying them. Your shoes shouldn’t feel tight, but your feet shouldn’t slide around in them either. 

Other Considerations

  • Lacing. Decide whether or not you want your shoes to have lacing. The laces let you tighten your shoes, so they are secure on your feet. However, they require more work to put them on, and you may not need this snug feeling. Slip-ons lack lacing, making them easy to take on and off but aren’t the most secure for athletic activities. 
  • Material. Vans come in a variety of materials. Canvas is the classic material that comes in several colors, is easy to care for, and breathable. Other options are leather and suede for a classier looking shoe. Some shoes combine materials for a textural variety. Leather shoes tend to be more expensive than their canvas counterparts. 
  • Sole. Consider the sole material when buying your Vans. While they’re all high quality, they vary in traction, performance, and durability. If you’re only wearing them for fashion, this isn’t as important. However, if you’re wearing them to skate, you’ll want a pair that will give you the performance abilities you need.

Best Vans Colorways Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Vans Classic Slip-On

These slipper-like shoes will give you that relaxed California surfer style. They come in several colors, including the classic Vans checkerboard pattern. You could stick with the traditional black and white or pick one of the modern variations. This shoe doesn’t have any laces, but there is elastic goring on the midsole to give them some flex and give. The collar has cushioning, so they're comfortable on your feet. You’ll appreciate the rubber sole with its waffle pattern as it gives you traction and flexibility as your foot moves when walking.  


Unfortunately, these shoes lack toe reinforcement, which can make them vulnerable to wear and developing holes. They can also cause you to develop blisters. You can easily avoid this by purchasing the correct size. 

Best Value
Vans Authentic Core Classic Sneakers

The upper of this shoe is made of canvas for a soft, flexible, and lightweight design. The front has a short lace-up feature to secure the shoe to your feet. The rubber sole has a 2-inch platform and a vulcanized rubber outsole. They come in a broad range of sizes and are suitable for both men and women. There are ten classic neutral colors to choose from, letting you dress these shoes up or keep them casual. Each color features contrasting white stitching to give them a subtle accented design throughout the shoe.


The drawback of these shoes is that they lack the cushioning that other Vans shoes have. There’s no cushioning around the collar or on the tongue. However, this also makes them lighter.

Best Classic Design
Vans Low-Top Sneakers

Wear this shoe, and anyone will immediately know you’re wearing Vans. They come in a range of solid colors with a contrasting curved line down the side. You’re sure to find the perfect pair to match any outfit. The upper is a combination of canvas and suede construction. The front has a lace-up closure to secure them onto your feet. The sole is a vulcanized waffle rubber sole for cushion and durability. The collar has subtle cushioning to give them extra comfort around your ankle. 


Unfortunately, these have a flat sole, which can be uncomfortable for some people. You can fix this by adding a sole insert to them. They also have a narrow fit, so people with wider feet will need to size up.

Most Comfortable
Vans Old Skool Classic Skate Shoes

Enjoy the sleek skater style of these shoes. They come in countless color combinations to let you choose the perfect design for your style tastes. There’s also a wide range of sizes to fit all sizes of feet. The side of the shoe features the classic side line detailing in an accent material. There’s cushioning around the collar to increase the shoe’s comfort. The sole is a waffle pattern rubber to give you traction, flexibility, and comfort while walking. It has a vulcanized construction that welds everything together through a double baking process to provide the shoe with durability. 


Unfortunately, the toe of the shoe lacks reinforcement, making this a weak point on the shoe. They also have a long line of lacing on the top, making them require a bit more effort to take on and off.

Honorable Mention
Vans Era Skate Shoes

Choose from 30 colors and designs for your shoes. Each features a canvas upper that comes up to just below your ankle. The style of the shoes is the Vans Era design. There’s additional cushioning at the ankle for increased comfort. The sole is made of rubber and features the iconic waffle pattern for flexibility and traction. It has a lace-up closure to secure them. The simple design of this shoe makes them perfect for both men and women to wear. 


One drawback of these shoes is that they lack toe reinforcement. This can leave them vulnerable to wear and tear. They can also be painful if you order the wrong size, so avoid this and confirm your size. You’ll also want to size up if you have wider feet as they run skinny.

Honorable Mention
Vans Sk8-hi Core Classics Trainers

Show your love for the Vans brand with these bold black and red Sk8-Hi shoes. They have a tall upper that covers your ankle. There’s extra padding throughout to give you cushioned support. If you don’t like the branded design, there are 11 other color options to choose from. Some have a canvas upper construction, and others use a combination of canvas and suede. The sole is rubber, and the heel of the insole has an extra cushion for increased comfort. The reinforced toe is ready to withstand the abuse of daily wear and tear. Secure these shoes with the lace-up feature. 


Unfortunately, these shoes aren’t the most durable. If you’re tough on your shoes or plan on wearing them for lots of walking, then these may not last as long as you’d hope. However, they’re perfect for wearing to the office, running errands, or going out. 

Honorable Mention
Vans Slip On Rainbow Chex Skate Shoe

These slipper-style sneakers are bold and make a colorful statement. They come in an extensive range of sizes, making them perfect for anyone looking to make a statement with their shoes. The checkerboard pattern is a classic Vans design, while the rainbow color is a modern twist. The sole is rubber for plenty of durability and traction. It has the hallmark waffle pattern that Vans uses for the tread to make the shoes flexible and give you more grip. The fabric of the upper is canvas, and there’s extra padding around the collar. Mid-foot on either side of the tongue is elastic goring to give the shoe flex and stretch, making them easier to slide on and off. 


Unfortunately, these shoes can give some people blisters. However, this shouldn’t be an issue if you buy the correct size. You can also wear them with socks to avoid this problem.

Honorable Mention
Vans Atwood Sneaker

These are the shoes you wear when you want to project a sophisticated image yet still feel comfortable. The shoe’s upper is low slung to hit just below the ankle for free movement and flex while you’re walking. Several color and material options are available, including canvas, leather, and suede. The front features a lace-up closure with laces that match the coloring and style of the shoe. The sole is a gum rubber for plenty of traction while also creating a cushioned step. Both men and women can wear these shoes and give their outfit a subtle sense of formality. 


One issue with this shoe is that the sizing runs narrow. Account for this and possibly size up when ordering your pair. You may also find that the upper material stretches and loosens over time. 

Honorable Mention
Vans Bearcat Sneakers Skate Shoes

Put comfort and style on your feet with this skate shoe. There are four colors to choose from, and several sizes to help you get a perfect fit. The shoe’s upper is a combination of canvas and suede. Inside is a die-cut EVA sock liner midsole for improved comfort and breathability. The toe cap has double stitching to give it increased durability. The shoe’s sole is a gum rubber, so it gives you a soft yet springy feel to your steps. These shoes are a part of the Vans performance line and are designed for action. They don’t lack in style, though, with subtle branding details throughout. 


One drawback of this shoe is that the sizing runs smaller than other Vans shoes. Adjust the size you order to ensure your shoes fit. The tongue on these shoes is extra padded, which can cause them to fit differently but also be extra cushioning.

Honorable Mention
Vans Hi-Top Trainers

This classic hi-top sneaker features a tall upper that covers your ankle. This gives you extra support when doing activities that require you to change direction quickly or flex at the ankle. They have a rubber sole for solid traction. There’s a platform of two inches in the sole. To make the shoe durable, vulcanized rubber is used, which means the shoe gets baked twice for a strong construction. To make the shoe more comfortable, the collar around your ankle has padding, the insole has cushioning, and there’s a smooth lining. The styling features eight color options with the classic Vans curved line. 


One drawback of these shoes is that the rubber sole can wear away. This is mainly due to high use or dragging your feet while walking. You may also need to add an insole liner for added support.

Tips

  • Try your shoes on at the end of the day. This is when your feet are at their largest and ensures your Vans will be comfortable anytime you wear them. 
  • If your shoes start to look dirty, you can throw them in the washing machine. This gets the dirt and grime off and helps them to look new again. 
  • Don’t wear the same pair of Vans several days in a row. Your feet sweat throughout the day, and your shoes need time to air out and dry. This keeps the smell and bacteria to a minimum. 

FAQs

Q: Are Vans shoes good quality?

Yes, the shoes’ quality is one of the reasons the company has remained so popular for so many years. The materials and the construction are high quality to create a shoe that’s meant to last. 

Q: Why are Vans bad for your feet?

Sometimes they get a negative reputation because they have flat soles. They lack adequate support for your feet. This isn’t an issue for some people, but for others, this can become painful. However, having flat soles is a common shoe trait and not unique to Vans. 

Q: How do I make my Vans look good?

Just put them on, and your Vans will look good. You can keep your style casual with a pair of shorts or jeans and a T-shirt. Depending on your style, you can wear no socks, neutral, or bold socks. 

Final Thoughts

You can’t go wrong with the Vans Classic Slip-On shoe with its rubber sole, cushioned collar, and unique style. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly shoe, the Vans Authentic Core Classic Sneakers have durable vulcanized construction and are lightweight.