A sneaker brand that has withstood the test of time is the well-known and ‘cooler-than-cool’ sneaker label, Vans. No longer are Vans solely found among skateboarders. Since the 1980s, they have become a sneaker brand proudly worn by many from all different walks of life. Vans are not only stylish and functional, but they are also super comfy.
Vans sneakers are comfortable, with some more suited to specific physical activities, like walking, running, working, etc. They are made comfortable by padded collars, waffle-design outer soles, and foam insoles. Vans are also typically accurate in size and require hardly any break-in time.
Owning any pair of Vans will be an investment (personally I’ve owned many pairs over the years and love them – read on for my review, with photos and a video!).
Yet it is worth exploring the various styles of Vans to select those more suited to your daily activities to get the maximum comfort, feel, and longevity out of them. If you want a super comfortable option from Vans, you can try out their Comfycush™ range.
Comfycush™ is an upgraded range of their classic designs that feature better padding, more arch support and super soft outsoles. Here’s what Vans themselves have to say about the benefits of the more comfortable range:
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My Experience With The Comfort Of Vans
I am a long term customer and fan of the Vans brand, so I wanted to give my personal review of their comfort. I’ve been wearing them for over 10 years!
I’ve owned many pairs over the years, but my favourite for comfort are the Old Skools. They’re known for their comfort and feature a nice thick sole that feels springy but light.
There’s a lot of room in the toe box in Old Skool Vans too which I really like. Wiggle room is a must for me as I hate cramped toes!
Personally I wear Vans for all sorts of daily activities, from dog walking to running errands, and I’ve never had an issue with their comfort. I also really like slip on Vans, as they’re easy to get on and off (obviously) and feel comfortable for everything I do.
All Vans feature a really nice padded sneaker collar, which feels comfortable around the ankle. It’s plush and well made. I love this feature as it also provides some extra ankle support.
Of course, I wouldn’t suggest doing anything challenging, like hiking on uneven terrain in your Vans, as they aren’t made for that and won’t feel comfy enough when compared to proper hiking boots.
The waffle style soles are ideal for walking on sidewalks, for the skate park or your back yard.
Here’s my video review of the comfort of Vans, if you want to get a good look at them:
To see how they fare for walking, work and more, read on.
Are Vans Comfortable For Walking?
It might seem like a bold statement, but it must be said: all Vans shoes are comfortable. How comfortable, will depend on your level of physical activity. For example, using your Vans for everyday walking will provide great comfort while looking incredibly stylish.
Vans shoes have vulcanized rubber soles that help absorb impact and give you a good grip on wet and dry surfaces. They also have a decent amount of padding on the inside of the shoe and the collar for support; plus, they are pretty breathable. These features make them a superb option if you are looking for practicality and comfort.
However, if your idea of walking is a four-hour hike, then you will have to be a little more strategic in which pair of Vans you wear. As great as they are, the standard Vans are typically designed for something other than hardcore hiking and climbing on rough terrains.
If you want durability and comfort on your long-distance walks, you can opt for the Vans UltraRange Rapidweld. It is an incredibly versatile sneaker that feels light on your feet and has breathable mesh on the shoe’s upper part. If that wasn’t enough, the shoe also has an UltraCush Lite midsole that offers support and comfort for your feet.
If you plan an outdoor trek with significantly harsher elements, choose a pair of Vans Skate High MTE2.
These shoes provide maximum comfort during the cold winter season. The upper includes water-repellent treated leather, and the added insulation keeps your feet warm. The abbreviation MTE2 stands for ‘made for the elements.’ These Vans promise to keep you comfortable while trudging and exploring the outdoors with a ComfyCush midsole and all-track outsole suitable for rugged terrains.
Are Vans Comfortable For Training?
Vans were initially designed with skateboarders in mind. You can see this in their low-profile comfort and waffle-design soles, which provide excellent traction. Yet, you will be forgiven for initially considering other sneaker brands first to assist you in the gym or basketball court.
Vans might not rule the trainer market, but they are, in fact, comfortable and durable enough for low-key training. If the classic Vans’ flatter insole is not ideal for your workout, pick a pair of Vans with a softer, more absorbent insole that provides better arch support.
One pair of Vans that are perfect for daily wear and recreational training is the Vans UltraRange EXO shoes. They support your feet with an UltraCush Lite midsole and are more durable and lightweight. The shoe’s upper part is also designed to give you more breathability while training. This makes them very comfortable as trainers or even for work if you are constantly on your feet.
Stepping up your game from recreational training to something more intense, like running? Then the Vans Mesh Iso 1.5 will provide you excellent comfort. The material uppers are made from breathable mesh fabric, which allows your feet to air while on a run. They are also incredibly lightweight and have a durable, yet flexible rubber sole.
Suppose you are an avid skater or BMX rider (or even if you’re neither!). The Vans Pro or BMX Pro versions are a superb alternative to the classics. The pro series has specific skating and riding features that the normal range does not have. For example, the Vans BMX Pro has a new, revolutionary WAFFLECUP™ sole that gives you unmatched support and durability, yet riders will still feel the pedal.
Are Vans Comfortable For Work?
It does not matter if you work from behind a desk or stand on your feet the entire day. Chances are, you need comfort for at least 8-10 hours. Vans are perfectly suitable to stand up to the test. However, ensure that you pick a style designed to give you that comfort for longer.
The ComfyCush Vans are the answer to your feet solutions at work. They look the part if you’re rocking smart-casual and are super comfy, even after wearing them the whole day.
At only $5 extra, you can get the ComfyCush version of your preferred Vans, like Slip-On, Era, Old Skool, etc. These Vans boast a ComfyCush foam midsole, added arch support in the midfoot, and a padded tongue and collar. The longevity of the ComfyCush Vans might not be exceptional, but if comfort is your main aim, then you can’t go wrong.
Assuming you like sporting something a little more unique to work. In that case, you can rest assured that the Vans Kyle Walker Pro 2 will provide you with the ultimate style, durability, and comfort. They come with WAFFLECUP™ construction and PopCush foam insoles, which give your feet more cushioning and support.
Are Vans Comfortable For Wider Feet?
Typically, most Vans sneakers accommodate slightly wider feet well because of the broader shoe silhouette. However, it is designed to fit snugly. So, if this is different from the feel you are comfortable with, they recommend buying your Vans half a size larger.
For a more in-depth guide, read: Are Vans Good For Wide Feet? (Size Guide FAQs)
Customizing them is an even better solution if you are looking for a significantly wider shoe than the standard range. Vans gives you the option to customize your sneakers online. You are thus able to purchase a pair that has a larger width to accommodate wider feet. Go onto the Vans website, access the ‘customs’ drop-down, and choose the relevant shoe category to browse all the available options.
Are Vans Old Skool Comfortable?
The classic Vans Old Skool debuted in 1977 and was initially called Vans Style #36, designed to be a comfortable sneaker to wear while skateboarding. It proved timeless. Today, many people wear them proudly, from youngsters that hang around the skatepark to pro athletes, celebrities, and fashionistas.
Apart from the ComfyCush version, which is marketed for its comfort, the standard Old School style is also very comfortable. They are true to size, comfortable to wear and walk in, and require no real break-in time because of the use of canvas material.
Many appreciate the thought that went into the details of the Vans shoe design, like the padded collar that enhances comfort. Other standout design features are the WAFFLECUP™ outer sole and the fact that it is a good fit even if you are flat-footed.
Are Slip-On Vans Comfortable?
The Vans Classic Slip-On with the checkered motif is one of the most iconic Vans shoe styles, apart from the Old Skool and Era designs. Like the Old Skool, it was introduced in 1977 and was initially called Vans Style #98.
The classic Slip-Ons also have padded collar areas, making them very comfortable to wear. The fact that the sneakers slip on enhances the comfort even more since you don’t have to crouch down to tie laces. This design feature also makes it perfect for younger kids struggling with the shoelace dilemma.
Like the Vans Old Skool, the Slip-On also comes in a ComfyCush version, providing even more comfort than it already does. Perfect if you are required to be on your feet the whole day at work or walk long distances.
Do Vans Hurt Your Feet?
Vans are supposed to fit snuggly, but they will not hurt your feet. Even though Vans generally don’t require a significant break-in time, if you are not entirely comfortable in your new Vans, you might have to try the following:
- Wear your Vans with a pair of thick socks or two pairs of regular, everyday socks.
- Wear them for 1-2 hours every day around the house.
- Bend your Vans by pulling the toe part towards the heel part.
- Stuff your Vans with a thick ball of socks or a t-shirt every night for a couple of weeks.
- Use a shoe stretcher overnight to stretch your Vans.
For more on breaking in Vans, check out my guide: How To Break In Vans (7 FAST and Painless Ways)
If these steps do not solve the tightness of your Vans, you might have to consider whether they are too small. Although they are typically accurate in size, you must buy your Vans one size bigger if you prefer a more relaxed and flexible fit.
It would also help if you tried a range of different Vans styles. For example, the original Vans Old Skool and Slip-Ons are made for durability. They, therefore, have a rigid sole that is not to everyone’s taste. Try the ComfyCush versions or the Vans UltraRange series for a lightweight, more flexible shoe.
Vans have been around for a while and are popular with young and old alike. They offer stylish brands, which you can customize to your liking, and offer practicality and comfort all in one. Vans are true to size, require very little break-in time, and are made comfortable by design.
For more Vans content, check out:
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).