LAST UPDATED: January 29, 2021

The Best Vans for Skating (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021

Best Choice The Best Vans for Skating (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021 Vans Sk9-Hi Skate Shoes
Best Value The Best Vans for Skating (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021 Vans Unisex Classic Skate Shoes
Premium Pick The Best Vans for Skating (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021 Vans Bearcat Sneakers
Few things are more freeing than the act of hitting the road on your skateboard while rocking the perfect gear. Vans for skating continue to grow in popularity due to their unique blend of retro fashion and athletic function. These shoes come in a whole host of designs, each meant for a different approach to skating. You might like relaxed high-tops for cruising along with some hilly royals. Perhaps you prefer slip-ons for quick trips down the street. Maybe it’s all about the weight balance, letting you hit that ollie seamlessly. Whatever your skating personality, you can’t get very far without a good set of kicks. But investing in footwear takes a bit of research. You want them to last — to be comfortable, functional, and stylish — and vans do the trick. To help you track down the best vans for skating, we’ve compiled a list of the top options. 

The Best Vans for Skating

Designed to promote balance for serious skaters, Vans Sk9-Hi Skate Shoes have a strong sole and excellent grip. Rising to above the ankle, these shoes provide good support, regardless of whether you’re crouched or entirely vertical. The waffle structure of the sole provides good traction, which is helpful when you are pushing off the ground or balancing during a cruise. With padding inside of the shoes, the substantial cushioning offers good comfort. By adding an extra layer below the heel, this pair of shoe buffers any shock from bumps on the road. Featuring a toe that is reinforced against impact, the shoes help keep your feet safe from the elements. Warm without being restrictive, these skate shoes are designed to last over the long term.

It’s worth noting that although the high-top design of the shoes is desirable, the laces these Vans come with may need to be replaced if you put a strain on the shoe structure. However, for the low cost of laces and value of the shoes, they remain a worthy investment.

Key Features
  • Comes in seven color options
  • Made out of synthetic material
  • Heavy and flat sole
  • Rises to above the ankles
Specification
  • Brand Vans
  • Model VN-0D5INVY
  • Weight 2.5 pounds
PROS

Well-balanced for doing tricks

Stylish, retro-inspired design

Shoes are true to size

CONS

Laces can wear down easily

Doesn’t have advanced ventilation

Vans logo isn’t very noticeable

Boarding doesn’t need to break the bank, which is why the cost-effective price point of Vans Unisex Classic Skate Shoes is so appealing. Their lightweight and non-restrictive structure is the cherry on the proverbial sundae. It enables you to move freely, making these shoes a viable solution for both performing tricks and long cruises. Featuring a lace-up design and a sleek black look, these low-top shoes come true to size. Emulating a retro look through the signature Vans appearance, these shoes are ideal for riders who demand flexibility. They come with reinforced toes to prevent damage to your feet if you take a tumble. The padding on where the shoes rise to the ankle keeps you protected, making these affordable shoes a great accessory for those learning new tricks.

Bear in mind that while the cost-effective nature of these shoes makes them a fan-favorite, the inner lining is vulnerable to damage. This can lead to your needing to replace the insole, adding to the upkeep costs down the line.

Key Features
  • Touts a sleek black design
  • Incorporates a heavy, flat sole
  • Low-top with toecaps
  • Waffle-pattern sole
Specification
  • Brand Vans
  • Model B07KSMC7FL
  • Weight 1.8 pounds
PROS

Comes at an affordable price point

Features good grip

Doesn’t restrict movement

CONS

Stitching can wear down easily

Interior padding can slip

Laces prone to damage

If skating more than a hobby and boarding is a part of your lifestyle, then it makes sense to invest in shoes that live up to your demands like the Vans Bearcat Sneakers. You can get a pair of these kicks in four colors, ranging from pure black to patterned navy blue. Made to follow the sizing chart, these shoes provide a reliable fit that’s built for the comfort of serious skaters. With a strong base paired with a rigid insole, the shoes help you retain balance while performing more challenging skating feats. While they come at a higher price point, the high-end stitching and iconic design justify the price. With toe protection and flexibility around the ankles, these shoes are ideal for those for whom skating is a major component of their daily routine.

Keep in mind that although the shoes are built to last, they do take a fair bit of time to wear in. Put the shoes on and get used to them before setting out on your premiere boarding adventure to prevent aches in your feet.

Key Features
  • Low-top sneaker design
  • Comes in four colors
  • Displays Vans logo prominently
  • Heavy and flat shoe sole
Specification
  • Brand Vans
  • Model VDT2BZW
  • Weight 2 pounds
PROS

Strong base is good for balance

Lightweight enough to do tricks

Designed for optimal durability

CONS

Lacks ankle protection

Insoles are fairly rigid

Takes a long time to break in

Particularly if you are looking to ride in warmer climates, the Vans Authentic Core Sneakers are worth looking into. They feature an iconically retro design, more prominent in the brightly-colored models than it is in the plain black shoes. The strong base is highly supportive, giving you good balance while riding. Paired with the waffle-texture at the base of the rubber sole, these shoes let you retain a grip on the board regardless of the trick you’re performing. Despite being sturdy, these shoes are surprisingly lightweight. They are excellent for lengthy travels and cruising on your skateboard. Powerful stitching connects the canvas panels, fortifying the textile’s natural water-repellent abilities. With a simple design and durable function, these shoes make leisurely boarding even more enjoyable.

One thing to bear in mind is that the shoes, while lightweight, lack any noteworthy padding. As a result, they can’t buffer you from an impact, nor can they insulate cold environments. Stick to warm-weather riding for best results.

Key Features
  • The main part made out of canvas
  • Synthetic rubber sole
  • Waffle-print texture at the base
  • Comes to just below the ankle
Specification
  • Brand Vans
  • Model VEE3
  • Weight 12 ounces
PROS

Easy to move around in

Promotes traction with board

Canvas resistant to water

CONS

Sole material vulnerable to cold

Lace attachments can break

Lacks substantial insulation

Traditional skateboarding gear is about more than looks — it’s a matter of performance. The Vans Era Skate Shoes take all the favored aspects of classic boarding shoes and pairs them with modern advantages. The shoes feature a lace-up, low-top design, meaning you are free to move around without encumbrance. With a base made out of synthetic rubber, you get the added benefits of durability on top of the waterproof and impact-resistance of the material. Meeting canvas panels, these shoes have two layers of stitching, retaining their structure despite ongoing wear and tear from moving around. The shoes themselves follow the sizing chart accurately, meaning you don’t have to worry about getting the right fit. Marrying vintage styles with current developments, these shoes give you the best of both worlds.

It warrants a mention that, though the shoes are fantastic for skating activities, the flat sole and rigid base makes them less useful for other activities. Stick to boarding to prevent premature damage and make the most of these shoes.

Key Features
  • Blend of modern and vintage styles
  • Blend of modern and vintage styles
  • Made mainly out of canvas
  • Waffle texturing on the base of the sole
  • Incorporates double stitching 
Specification
  • Brand Vans
  • Model VN000EWZBLK
  • Weight 1.68 pounds
PROS

Classic boarding appearance

Encourages free movement

Thick and heavy soles 

CONS

No ankle protection

Only viable for skating

Laces damage easily 

If you are more of a casual rider, then the Vans Embossed Slip-On Skate Shoe is a worthy candidate. Instead of lacing up, these shoes feature a small tongue, connected to the main part of the shoe with small elastic parts. Made out of the canvas, the panels are stitched together durably, helping keep the structure of the shoe intact. The thick and rigid sole of the shoes is crafted using synthetic rubber material, buffering the rider against bumps and bruises in the road. The base of the soles features the classic waffle texturing for which Vans are known. This makes it easier to keep your balance on the board, in addition to helping you grip the ground as you move the board forward. Comfortable to wear and breathing well, these shoes are ideal for those who skateboard once in a while and want gear that will make the activity more enjoyable.

Bear in mind that, because these shoes have no laces, they can fall off relatively easily when performing a trick. As a result, you must consult the sizing chart before making your pick.

Key Features
  • Made entirely of synthetic material
  • Slip-on design for easy wear
  • Lightweight shoe structure
  • Available in multiple patterns
Specification
  • Brand Vans
  • Model B07 BBM7
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Easy to take off and put on

Stylish yet simple design

Flat yet textured base

CONS

Lacks any type of laces

Wears down quicker than other models

Vulnerable to moisture

Ever taken a tumble while trying a new trick and gotten rewarded with a sprained ankle? If you have, then you might want shoes like Vans Core Classic Trainers to protect you during your next ride. These shoes feature a prominent top that’s padded for comfort and support. It connects to a prominent base that features a waffle design on the base. This enables you to easily grip the surface of your board, even after the gritty surface wears down. With well-stitched panels, the shoes can powerfully resist wear and tear from ongoing use. You can use them for tricks and cruising with equal ease, largely thanks to the prominent yet forgiving sole. Paired with ankle protection and extra padding, the shoes are both comfortable and easy to wear for long periods.

It warrants a mention that, while these shoes are protective with a high-top, well-padded design, this can result in moderate overheating. As long as you wear appropriate socks, however, these shoes are a terrific selection for riders growing their catalog of tricks.

Key Features
  • High-top shoes with a retro look
  • Main panels made of canvas
  • Base of the shoes is synthetic rubber
  • Waffle design for added grip
Specification
  • Brand Vans
  • Model B075922F5Y
  • Weight 2.47 pounds
PROS

Well-textured base of soles

Padded for extra comfort

Double-stitching for durability

CONS

Raised ankles restrict movement

Thickness can lead to overheating

Relatively thin soles

Best Vans For Skating Buying Guide & FAQ

When it comes time to pick out your ideal set of Vans for skating, there are a few important things to keep in mind. These ultimately come down to size and style. Even if you find shoes that look great and perform well, it won’t go very far unless they fit your feet. While Vans are well-reputed and known to be true to size, it’s still important to take a gander at the sizing chart (especially if you are a half-size, or have wide feet). 

Once you’ve determined the size you match in the world of Vans footwear, it’s time to push on to the other criteria. What benefits are you looking for? Which features are the most important to you? Are there any other considerations specific to your area like weather or precipitation? The key is figuring out what you want to get out of the shoes. Equipped with those details, you can find the pair of Vans that offer you the most benefits. 

The Advantages of Owning Vans for Skating

There are a whole host of benefits associated with using proper footwear when skateboarding. You wouldn’t wear heels to drive a car, so why wear shoes that aren’t specific to boarding when you next go skating? Especially if you want to work on growing your set of skills in the world of boarding tricks, you need a pair of shoes that are made specifically for the purpose at hand. Vans for skating are one of the best-reputed brands in the industry, simply because they work well. 

Skater boy practicing at skate park
Vans for skating continue to grow in popularity due to their unique blend of retro fashion and athletic function

Getting the right Vans for skating is about finding footwear that is comfortable when used for the task of riding. Any athlete knows that it takes time to master a trick. You didn’t learn to drive a car overnight, and skateboarding won’t be any different. That’s why the comfort value of Vans is so important. The shoes are easy to wear, encouraging you to keep practicing until the trick becomes second nature. Bring them along on your next kayaking trip or keep them in your trunk for whenever the spark of inspiration hits. With the help of a good set of Vans, you’ll nail that ollie before you know it. 

Of course, the iconic style doesn’t hurt either. Once you’ve mastered that trick, you’re going to want to show it off; and, when you do, it can only help to have a pair of iconic shoes on. Vans continue to be popular due to the unique blend of retro aesthetics with current styles. It’s this virtue that keeps the brand relevant, and it’s that same virtue that will make you proud to wear them. Naturally, the advantages don’t stop there. 

  • High-top Vans for skating offer substantial ankle protection. 
  • Versatile enough to ride in and still keep on when using your car jack or doing chores.
  • Waffle-pattern texturing on the base of the shoes gives you a good grip. 
  • The strong rubber base is ideal for all types of skateboarding. 
  • The proper weighting of both high and low-top Vans enables you to perform tricks. 
  • Quality stitching on Vans shoes promotes durability and performance
  • Vans for skating come in all sorts of makes and models for a wide style selection. 

Popular Types of Vans for Skating

While all skating shoes have a few things in common, they are far from being the same. There are many types of skating shoes, each with a different set of benefits and downfalls. Just like driving manual versus automatic, it’s about what fits your riding style best. There are three main types of Vans for skating from which you can choose. 

High-Top

A retro design, high-tops are a popular option for skaters. Per the namesake, the top of these shoes rises to above the ankles. In most cases, this part of the skate shoe is padded to absorb any shock from performing tricks. A key benefit of high-top shoes is that they add stability to your riding experience. 

Useful in all types of weather, the extra coverage adds insulation (especially if there is padding). It works to protect your ankle from impact and stop any issues with sprains if you take a tumble while riding. As with other types of skating shoes, high-top Vans have a flat sole and the iconic waffle texturing. 

Low-Top

This type of skate shoe is ideal for those who want to focus on flexibility while they ride. The main part of the shoe rises to just below the ankles, giving you a full range of motion while you ride. While they lack ankle protection, they compensate in terms of ventilation. Because there is less material, it is easier for your skin to breathe and you are less likely to overheat. 

Some tricks are easier with low-top Vans, particularly those which require you to bend down, things like sliding and carving. Outside of the height, this type of shoe is fairly standard. Lacing up, this type features a heavy, flat sole that facilitates balance while riding. Generally speaking, low-top Vans will come at a lower price point than their higher-top counterparts. 

Slip-On 

The least prevalent type of Vans for skating are slip-on shoes. Featuring a prominent and weighted base, instead of using a tongue and laces to close, the shoes have a simple opening. A petite tongue attaches to the shoe through small elastic attachments. These let you slip your foot in and out of the shoe without damaging the heels. 

In most other ways, this type is a standard skate shoe. It has a flat base that’s textured for grip. Heavy soles keep your balance and assist in doing tricks. Typically, these are cost-effective shoes, due to the lack of bells and whistles. However, since there is less material, they are more prone to wear and tear. This type is best-suited to casual skateboarders. 

What to Look for When Buying Vans for Skating

When assessing the different Vans for skating, there are some key criteria we investigated. The first is whether the shoes are true to size. To be comfortable and usable, the shoe needs to fit properly, without being excessively wide or narrow. The good news is that Vans shoes have cultivated a good reputation for consistent manufacturing, making the sizing chart a reliable metric. 

Next, we looked at the sole of the shoe. There are two aspects to this component. The first is proper weighting, a necessary feature to steady skateboarding and performing tricks. We checked that the soles are designed for balance and then moved on to the next requirement: grip. Vans are famed for an iconic waffle-style grip on the base of the rubber sole, something we ensured was present so you can rely on traction while riding. 

Finally, we took a look at the materials used in construction. After all, what good are shoes if they fall apart right away? While Vans are consistently made out of synthetic material, we took an extra step and made sure that the canvas is durably stitched. Ultimately, to make the cut, the best skate shoes required a quality design that works for skaters, proper materials, and a good reputation on the market. 

Woman skateboarding
Vans for skating come in all sorts of makes and models for a wide style selection

Best Vans for Skating FAQ:

Especially if you’re new to the world of skating, you likely have gear questions. The most important component of success is doing thorough research. Sure, there will be some trial and error while you find your unique riding style, but you should still have a pair of reliable shoes while you learn. To help you along, we’ve addressed some of the most common inquiries below. 

Q: How long do Vans for skating last ?

With regular use, you can expect your Vans to last between four and five months. After this time, holes develop and the heel gets worn down. 

Q: Are Vans good for skating?

Not only are Vans good for skating, but they are also one of the most reputable brands for this activity. Durable, comfortable, and well-balanced footwear, they are ideal for skaters. 

Q: What Vans are best for skating?

The ideal set of Vans depends on your skating style, though a preferred go-to selection is Vans Sk9-Hi Skate Shoes.

Our Top Pick

After careful consideration, we’ve named Vans Sk9-Hi Skate Shoes as our top pick. These high-top skate shoes are built to optimize comfort and durability. The ankle protection improves stability while the sturdy sole is weighted to make skating easier and more enjoyable. From quality stitching to a sleek design, these kicks are suitable for most skateboarding styles. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the nuances of Vans for skating, you can make your selection. It could be the Vans Sk9-Hi Skate Shoes or the cost-effective  Vans Unisex Classic Skate Shoes. There’s a pair of these comfy and stylish shoes for every skateboard enthusiast. Happy riding!