If you have wide feet it can be a concern when shopping for shoe brands that you haven’t tried on before. Knowing whether or not Vans will be good for your wide feet before taking the plunge and purchasing a pair is key to making sure your money won’t be wasted.
A good fit is super important to avoid blisters, toe cramping, numbing, pain and discomfort for your arches.
As a long term fan and customer of the Vans brand (and with a slightly wide instep myself), I have put together this guide filled with frequently asked questions and answers for those with wide feet. Make sure to get all the information, before you open your wallet.
I have also included individual Vans style break downs and how they fare on wide feet, plus which is the overall best vans style for wide feet.
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Are Vans Good For Wide Feet?
Vans are good for those with wide feet as they offer a custom wide fit range. The wide fit range features a larger upper and midsole volume, allowing more room for a wider step.
Many people don’t actually know that Vans offer a custom wide fit range for those with wide feet. In my opinion the brand are pretty awesome for being so inclusive and catering to everyone.
Here’s what Vans have to say about their wide fit range:
‘Our Customs wide fit collection features our most popular styles including checkerboard slip-on shoes and Vans authentic trainers, allowing you to find the perfect wide fit shoes without sacrificing style.
With more volume in the upper and midsole due to the larger shape, and an outsole consistent with our regular width shoe, the Vans Customs wide fit collection gives you even more choice; pick your shoe, pick your colour & pattern, and pick your fit. Wide sizes are equivalent to an EE.’
Check out the custom wide fit range here on vans.com.
It’s worth noting that the custom wide range take 2 to 3 weeks to ship (source). Vans also offer extended sizes in the customer wide fitting range, from 3.5 to 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.
The main differences between the Vans wide vs normal range are:
- A bigger overall shape.
- The upper has more material, making the shoe slightly taller than the regular fit. This won’t affect the height of the shoe when worn however, as the sole is still the same depth as the regular fit.
- The rubber trim midsole is larger, to accommodate a wider foot shape.
A lot of advice online will suggest that you simply size up in Vans if you have wide feet, without pointing you to the custom wide range the brand has to offer. Whilst sizing up is a good bet if you have wide feet, I think it makes a lot more sense to purchase a pair of Vans from the wide range.
If you like, you could also check out the Comfycush range Vans have to offer if you have wide feet AND need arch support. I would suggest sizing up in this range though, as it focuses on comfort, not a wide step. It depends on what your needs are.
I also highly recommend learning how to properly break in a pair of Vans, especially if you have wide feet. I have a full Vans break in guide to help you here: How To Break In Vans (7 FAST and Painless Ways).
How To Measure Your Feet For Vans Wide Sizing
Making sure you get your foot measurements right before purchasing a pair of wide fitting Vans is important. Nobody likes the hassle of returns!
Here’s how to properly measure you wide feet, plus a Vans sizing chart to help.
What you will need:
- A pencil
- A piece of paper
- A tape measure or ruler
- Lay the piece of paper on a flat surface.
- Place your largest foot onto the paper.
- Using the pencil mark the point of your longest toe and the back of your heel.
- Remove your foot from the paper. Take the tape measure or ruler and use it to measure the distance between the two pencil marks. Make sure to take the measurement in both cm and inches, and note it down.
- Compare your measurement to the below Vans size chart to find your correct wide size.
Vans sizing chart:
|Men’s/Boy’s||Women’s||EU Size||Foot Length (cm)|
It’s important to look at the Vans sneaker design and understand how each part feels on wide feet. I’m going to break it down for you, and include my own personal experience from wearing Vans for over 15 years.
The Vans toe box is designed to provide enough wiggle room for the toes, whilst having a good fit. Feet don’t slide around in Vans, making them ideal sneakers for skating, or even boating.
The toe box is wide and feels comfortable overall. It’s plush and well supported by the insole.
Instep and Arch Support
The Vans instep is quite large, especially on the custom wide fit designs. On wide feet it provides enough material upper to cover the feet without squashing or numbing them.
As someone with a slightly wide instep myself, I find the Vans instep space to be comfortable. Personally I find the Vans Old Skool style has the roomiest fit and most arch support.
The Vans insole is plush and high quality across all of their ranges.
Vans sneakers feature a nice padded sneaker collar that supports the ankle. I find on wide feet this stretches nicely to accommodate. The sneaker collar feels really comfy when walking.
With the Vans custom wide fit range there is extra room in the heel to accommodate bigger feet. You won’t need to worry about tightness or rubbing on the heel.
My Personal Experience
In my experience, as someone with a slightly wide step, I find Vans to fit nicely. Old Skools are definitely roomier than slip ons, so they are my go-tos. Sk8 His I find to feel a bit more snug.
Here are what my Old Skool and slip on Vans look like side by side:
As you can see they both have a pretty wide toe box, but the Old Skools are slightly bigger in this area.
Are Vans Old Skool Good For Wide Feet?
Old Skool Vans are good for wide feet as they have a roomy toe box and generous, flexible suede material upper. The Old Skool Vans style also comes in a custom wide fit option. Old Skool Vans are often considered the best Vans style for those with wide feet.
Are Vans Sk8 Hi Good For Wide Feet?
Sk8 Hi Vans are good for wide feet if they are purchased in the custom wide fit option. In the standard size they may feel a little snug.
Here’s what Vans have to say about the sizing of their Sk8 Hi range, and how they fare for those with wide feet:
‘Please note, by design, our high performance skate shoes tend to fit snug, so you may want to select a half size larger. Alternatively, if you have a wide foot, you may purchase one size larger to compensate for the width or check out designing your own pair of wide Customs!‘
Are Slip On Vans Good For Wide Feet?
Slip On Vans are good for those with wide feet as they feature stretchy side panels that allow the canvas upper to accommodate larger feet. The Slip On Vans style also comes in a custom wide fit, making them a great match for those with a wide step.
Do Vans Stretch over time?
Vans do stretch over time, during the break in process. Most Vans are made with either canvas upper or suede upper, both materials that will stretch out a bit with wear.
I find my Vans take a couple of weeks to stretch out and break in, making them even more comfortable for my slightly wide feet.
How To Make Vans More Comfortable For Wide Feet
There are a few ways you can make a pair of Vans that you already own more comfortable for your wide feet.
- Use a shoe stretcher overnight to gently stretch out the canvas or suede upper. Don’t leave a shoe stretcher in your Vans for more than 24hrs at a time. Shoe stretchers are a great way to widen out Vans whilst you aren’t wearing them.
- If you do not wish to purchase a shoe stretcher you can simply stuff your Vans with rolled up old socks or t-shirts and leave them like this when they are in storage. Tightly stuffing Vans with clothing is a free way to stretch them, however it won’t be as effective as a proper shoe stretcher.
- Use a heel pad to protect your heel when wearing Vans if they feel uncomfortable and start to rub.
It’s best to properly break in Vans before you wear them. For help with this read my guide here: How To Break In Vans (7 FAST and Painless Ways).
Extra Things To Consider
There are a few things to consider before purchasing a pair of Vans if you have wide feet. Let’s take a look at them here.
What do you intend to wear your Vans for?
If it’s for something high impact like skating, Vans are a great choice. They are also a nice choice for those who work on their feet all day. However it is worth considering whether your wide feet require extra arch support, as you may need to purchase an insole to wear with your Vans.
If you intend to wear Vans for jogging or hiking, then they aren’t the best choice. It’s best to go for some wide fit running trainers or wide fit hiking boots in this case.
Are Vans Wider Than Converse
Vans are wider than Converse, as they feature a broader toe box. The Converse toe box is a little narrow. Overall Vans and Converse fit the same in length.
I find that my Vans feel wider and fit slightly more comfortably than my Converse.
I have a wide step, and prefer Vans for this reason.
Are Vans Good For Toddlers With Wide Feet?
Vans aren’t the best brand for toddlers and children with wide feet as they do not offer a custom wide fit range for kids.
You could try sizing up your kids Vans to see if they fit better, however you may be better off with a different brand that accommodates children’s wide feet.
You child’s comfort should take priority of course, so whatever feels most comfortable for them should take precedent.
I would recommend trying on children’s Vans in a store, to check how they fit. A store employee will be able to help you with sizing up, if your child needs a wider fit. Vans offer a super cute kid’s range of sneakers, so if you really enjoy the styles for your child, it’s best to give it a go in person.
Thank you for reading this post on how well Vans fit and feel for those with wide feet.
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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).