10 Best Vans SK8-Hi Sneakers in 2021

Sheena on
10 Best Vans SK8-Hi Sneakers in 2021

Love the SK8-His? Well, we do and we just can’t get enough of it. But with 20+ shoes to choose from, selecting the right one can be tricky. Thankfully, RunRepeat’s shoe-doting nerds are here to try each one out and give you the nitty-gritty details about each shoe.  

Whether you’re into yay-high platform kicks or zip-up sneaks, we got you covered. If none of those matter, but you just want the most comfortable or the most reliable, or just the best overall, we got those as well. So, keep calm and relax and read on.

How we test the best Vans SK8-Hi sneakers

There sure are a lot of Vans SK8-Hi shoes to choose from. So, how do we differentiate the winners from the losers? Check out below:

  • We don’t wait for brands to give us free shoes. We buy them and try them out ourselves. This way, you get unbiased, unfiltered thoughts about the shoe’s performance.
  • Since actual users’ and experts’ opinions matter, we collect all the data available about the shoe and incorporate that in our results.
  • The shoe’s likeability can be easily determined by simply looking at its CoreScore (which we assigned for each shoe).  

Best overall

If you’re on the hunt for the best Vans SK8-Hi sneakers, you need not look far. When it comes to Vans shoes, the classic Vans always tops the list. In this case, it’s the heritage Vans SK8-Hi that steals the spotlight,

Like any classic Vans, this one oozes vintage appeal. And since it’s a high-top, expect this to exude a punk rock, edgy vibe. We picked the all-white version and we knew we just hit the jackpot. Its monotone hue just looks dreamy. It also goes with everything and anything!

And since it’s a classic skate shoe through and through, there’s nothing much to look forward to when it comes to its comfort department. TBH, it could use a bit more cushioning and arch support. Then again, when we bought this we didn’t expect that Boost-like ride since classic skate shoes are often made with non-existent midsoles to enhance boardfeel.

On a more positive note, this one is way more breathable for a high-top, thanks to its all-canvas upper. And while the upper is all-textile, it’s still hard-wearing. Something we didn’t expect from a canvas sneaker. 

On top of that, it’s a shoe that you know would never go out of style. It’s been around for ages! And we’re certain that you’ll still find these kicks on the streets for another decade or even more.

See our full review and facts

Whenever the stores sell out all their classic Vans SK8-His, don’t sulk! Vans made sure that its fans’ needs are always satisfied by churning out a lot of Vans SK8-Hi variations. And if you want something that looks a lot like the classic, go for the Vans SK8-Hi Core Classics! This one looks so much like the original, you can’t even tell the difference. 

Just like the original version, this one emits the same heritage, old-school vibe. And since it’s a high-top, you know for sure that this shoe has got your ankles covered. 

We just had trouble getting our feet into its confines, but that is something we’ve expected since we have to deal with more lace holes. Down under, we didn’t feel the same supportive cushioning that modern sneakers offer. It’s not crazy, comfy, but still comfy nonetheless. 

What we really like about these shoes is their all-rounder look that’s always in style. Mix and match it with any outfit and you’re good to go. Definitely, our go-to kicks when playing outdoors, biking, or lounging around! 

Not just that, you know you’d still look chic and stylish even after a year or two with these bad boys. Good thing, these kicks last for years!

See our full review and facts

Best performance

The classic Vans SK8-His sure looks good. But, the big question is: Does it skate? Well, yeah. It does if you want to, but let’s be honest - it isn’t as GREAT as other modern skate sneakers like the Vans Sk8-Hi Pro.

If you want a high-top that’s actually built to skate today’s city pavements, better turn around and get a good look at the pro version of the SK8-His. Yes, the SK8-Hi is sturdy, good-looking, and all, but when you’re kickflipping like crazy and gliding over staircases without a care, you need a pair of trusty kicks that can save your feet from a sketchy landing.

Enter: Vans SK8-Hi Pro

Yes, we tried it and we sure love hanging out in the park with these kicks. Apart from the usual ankle support that you’ll get from most high-tops, these are engineered with ultra-comfy UltraCush insoles (something that the classics didn’t have). 

This makes these sneaks twice more comfy than the original. It also keeps your feet protected when unwanted falls can’t be avoided.

Apart from the added cushioning (which you can replace in case it’s not working for you), these kicks are more robust. If you think that your classic SK8-His are already sturdy, think again. These are way more hard-wearing! 

So, if you’re a bonafide skater who’s looking for kicks that TRULY perform on and off the board, the SK8-Hi Pros definitely fit the bill. Although it’s $5 more expensive than the regular ones, this will surely get your skate game through the roof!

See our full review and facts

When the temperature drops, most would probably grab their pair of bottom-heavy winter boots. But, you don’t have to. You can still look ruggedly cool during the winter with the help of the SK8-Hi MTEs from Vans!

Still carrying the classic Vans SK8-Hi’s heritage styling, this fall and winter must-have will surely get you through the cold season looking retro and stylish minus the frozen toes. Its fur lining definitely kept our tootsies warm and toasty. 

Unfortunately, it’s best to keep these in your closet when you have to deal with wet snow and slush. Although it’s water-resistant, it isn’t waterproof. Nonetheless, we loved using this when it’s cool and dry. 

From sunup to sundown, these sneaks felt comfy. We survived the whole day (think work, grocery shopping, and even a night out at our local bar) wearing just these kicks and we didn’t look out of place.

And since this bore the same skate styling that other Vans kicks possess, we might as well try it in the park. Surprisingly, its reversed outsole still stuck on the board effortlessly. It also offered an ample amount of boardfeel which was crazy!

Yes, these kicks are pricier than the classics (around $35 more), but the added cost is sure worth it. It performed better than we expected, and that’s a plus in our books!

See our full review and facts

Best comfort

Just love wearing the SK8-Hi but have always wished that the soles are more cushy and supportive? Wish no more because Vans finally came up with a super comfortable version - the Vans ComfyCush SK8-Hi.

Yes, the classics are great. After all, they’re vintage and all. But then again, they’re not perfect. Good thing, Vans came up with a somewhat new tech called ComfyCush that made their classic shoes even more appealing, the Vans SK8-Hi included.

For an additional $10, we got to experience its ultra-plush interior. And yes, it was all worth it! Unlike the original version, this one cradled our feet in pillowy-like comfort. If you think we’re overacting, go ahead and try it out. 

Now, if you’re among the many who've been asking for more arch support, this shoe is the answer! Apart from being plush, the ComfyCush insoles also gave the right amount of support underfoot. For that, this shoe really deserves a two thumbs up. 

Indeed, this one is still the Vans SK8-Hi. You still get the classic’s good looks, all-rounder styling, and durable construction. The added comfort and support just seal the deal!

See our full review and facts

If you’re a big fan of the SK8-Hi but its somewhat wide toe box doesn’t really look great on your beautiful slender feet, you might as well check out the Vans SK8-Hi Slim.

As the name suggests, this kick is engineered with a slimmer toe box. This makes it more sleek and streamlined. So, if you need the added “oomph” style-wise, this might be your best bet (as long as it fits snugly on your toes).

And since this is still a true blue SK8-Hi, you can expect the same retro, sporty charm, solidly-built construction, and enhanced ankle support. It’s also as versatile as the classic. 

Unfortunately, like the original, this could do better with more support underfoot. But, we’re not really complaining. 

We love the classic as-is and our feet are happy even without the added cushioning. As long as we can go throughout the day without sore feet, these kicks rock! We didn’t even have to pay more to get that clean look and glove-like fit. A win-win situation for us!

See our full review and facts

Best with zipper

Vans SK8-Hi Zip
Vans SK8-Hi Zip Vans SK8-Hi Zip

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Top pick

Tying those laces can be a bummer, especially if you’re in a rush. If you’ve stopped wearing your high-tops because of this reason alone, then you may want to consider checking out the Vans SK8-Hi Zip.

Like the classic, this one still looks retro and edgy. The added zipper at the back, though, made slipping these on and off a pleasurable affair. It also added a bit more oomph into its already charming appearance. 

Apart from its zip-up closure system, we also didn’t mind that Vans made this look a bit more slender. Our feet didn’t look humongous, thanks to its slim construction. Those with wide feet might need to size up since it can feel a bit cramped.

When it comes to performance, well, this shoe sure knows what support, comfort, and durability are all about.

Our ankles felt at peace while donning on these sneaks. We didn’t have to worry about twisting it at any time. Also, our feet felt right at home day in and day out. Wearing it out isn’t something we had to worry about because these kicks are unquestionably hard-wearing!

See our full review and facts

The Vans SK8-Hi already looks edgy as is with its high-top construction, but if you think it could use a bit more pizzazz and spice, have a looksy at the SK8-Hi Reissue Cap from Vans.

Vans breathes new life to the classic SK8-His by adding a zipper to its minimalist construction. Not only does this make slipping this kick on and off easy breezy, but it all gives it a rugged look that you won’t find in any other SK8-Hi sneaker. 

Plus, it bears a deconstructed styling that we truly dig! It just gives off an Off-White vibe that is hard to resist.

Looks aside, the Vans SK8-Hi Reissue Cap also boasts a comfy interior and a well-made build. We just found cleaning this up a bit more tiring because of all the added layers. But, that’s just the price we have to pay to get that high-end, disheveled look that Virgil Abloh kicks possess. And for us, it’s an acceptable trade-off.

So, if you like zippers on your high-tops, we definitely recommend these! It’s a real bargain considering its budget-friendly price tag.

See our full review and facts

Best platform

If you’re on the lookout for the best Vans SK8-Hi platform kicks, then the Vans SK8-Hi Platform 2.0 is right up your alley.

It’s the same Vans SK8-Hi you love and adore but with the addition of thick platform soles. We got one and couldn’t resist putting these through the wringer to see how it actually felt. And lo and behold, these sure felt nice and dreamy. The added cushioning and support that its thick soles offered, for us, was a welcoming treat.

Apart from the heightened soles literally boosting these shoe’s comfort levels, it also made us look a bit taller (which we didn’t mind at all). What’s more is that it did all those without packing up pounds. Yes, the classics aren’t the lightest of the bunch but it’s good to know that the added height in these didn’t equate to a bottom-heavy sole.

And since everything else is just like the original, we got to enjoy the same heritage style and versatile construction. The Vans SK8-Hi Platform 2.0 is still the daily beater we can reliably wear in and out of the office or school. It’s just twice more comfortable and height-boosting than it was. For $75, we’re willing to pay the additional $10 anytime to get those added features.

See our full review and facts

Sheena is a wordsmith turned sneaker addict. Her sneaker fixation intensified as her passion for writing grew. A hands-on mom of two sweet yet spunky kids (plus three dogs and two cats), she finds solitude in leafing through shoe catalogs to find the next "it" sneaker. Scrutinizing hugely popular and underrated kicks is her favorite pastime.