Before wearing Vans outdoors many footwear enthusiasts wonder if Vans are waterproof. It’s super important to know whether or not water will damage your Vans before taking the risk.
In this guide I’ll be covering which Vans styles are waterproof and which aren’t so you have all of the information without having to test them out yourself.
I’ll also be covering how they fare in both snow and rain in this post. I’ve been wearing Vans myself for over 10 years and I’ve learnt a few things the hard way, so I’ll be including my best advice.
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Are Vans Waterproof?
Vans are not fully waterproof however they are water resistant. Avoid submerging or fully saturating your Vans with water and take care to apply a proper waterproofing product to the Vans before use outdoors.
The rubber outsole and midsole are waterproof however, meaning water will not seep up into your shoe from the ground. They will just get wet from the top down through the upper.
In my personal experience wearing all different styles of Vans I find that they are water resistant when properly taken care of. Using a weather proofing spray or wax product is key.
The most popular styles of Vans are made with canvas and suede upper. Both of these materials are not waterproof, meaning water will soak through them after continued exposure.
I have included some great info on how to waterproof Vans later in the post (just keep scrolling!) which you can read to help keep your feet dry AND prolong the life of your Vans.
Can You Wear Vans In The Rain?
Vans can be worn in the rain, however care should be taken to properly waterproof the upper first. Whilst the rubber outsole and midsole will keep the suede or canvas upper off the wet ground quite well, some water still may seep into the material from the falling rain above.
Personally I will wear both my Old Skool and slip on Vans out in a light rain for short periods of time.
If I’m running to my car or needing to take out the trash, I find a little bit of rain on them is okay. I would take care not to wear Vans out in heavy rainfall and avoid big puddles.
Saturating suede Vans may cause the dye on the suede to run and fade, overall depreciating your Vans and making them look less good. The same does go for canvas Vans that are dyed.
On top of that your feet will become wet quite quickly in canvas Vans, if the canvas hasn’t be waterproofed thoroughly. Check out the next section of this post for a Vans waterproofing guide.
It’s also worth noting that wearing your Vans out in the rain may increase the chances of dirt and stains messing up your Vans. Rain water is generally quite mucky, and mud will clog the outsoles. When I wear my Vans out in the rain I make sure to stick to tarmac or concrete surfaces and will never wear them on a dirt path for this reason.
If you need help with cleaning dirty Vans I have a great guide here for you: How To Clean Vans (EASY, FREE Ways For All Styles).
Are Vans MTE Waterproof?
Vans MTEs are much more water resistant than the standard Vans range, but they are not fully waterproof. They are designed with water resistance in mind, however after several months to a year of heavy wear they will need to be waterproofed again.
The suede and leather is treated to be hydrophobic, however suede is ultimately not a completely waterproof material, and the water guard will wear off with time.
The MTE collection is great for resisting the elements, and are great Vans shoes for the wet autumn months. They feature HydroGuard™ wrap waterproofing on the lower sections of the upper to prevent water from the ground seeping into the shoes. Check them out on vans.com.
Vans MTEs are designed with a gusseted tongue to keep water out of the shoe. This design feature is great and helps keep your socks dry in rainy conditions.
They are a great shoe for use in a light rain, however heavy rain and snow should still be avoided. Make sure they don’t become saturated with water and avoid puddles.
How To Make Vans Waterproof
There are a few great ways to waterproof your Vans including sprays and waxes.
Depending on the material, the following steps should be followed for best results.
- First your canvas Vans should be thoroughly cleaned and dried before waterproofing is applied. Wash the canvas upper with a mild liquid soap and water solution to remove dirt. Take an old toothbrush and scrub any debris from the outsole also. Wipe clean with fresh cold water and allow to dry fully for at least 24 hours.
- Vans have a specially formulated product for use with Vans shoes called ‘Water & Stain Shield spray’ which you can purchase here (it works great for Vans made of canvas, cotton, suede, nubuck, leather, mesh, or nylon). I would recommend this product as it’s unlikely to damage or fade your Vans. However if you would like to use a waterproofing spray that is safe for use on Canvas that you already own, you can do that instead. Personally I use an all-purpose shoe waterproofing spray and it’s fine.
- Apply the waterproofing spray at a safe distance from the Vans (20cm – 30cm) and allow to fully dry before wearing outdoors. Reapply every 6 weeks or so, depending on the instructions on your individual spray bottle.
Suede or Leather Vans:
- Clean the suede Vans using a speciality suede cleaner for best results. Alternatively you can use a mild liquid soap and water solution, however be aware that the suede may not come up as soft. Make sure to remove the cleaning solution from the Vans and allow to dry fully for 24hrs.
- Before applying the waterproofing spray you can use a suede brush to restore softness to the nap.
- Next apply a waterproofing spray to your Vans that is specially formulated for use with suede. Make sure to carefully choose the product as you don’t want to suede to become damaged. Allow the spray to dry fully before wearing outdoors, then you are done!
Thank you for reading this post on the water resistance of Vans shoes. For more Vans related content, check out:
Fake Vans vs Real Vans: 15 Ways To Spot Fake Vans (Photos)
How To Break In Vans (7 FAST and Painless Ways)
Are Vans Non Slip? A Test on 4 Surfaces (FAQ Guide)
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).