10 Best Vans Sneakers in 2021

Judith
Judith on
10 Best Vans Sneakers in 2021

Vans shoes are all over the place, getting much love and attention not only from skaters but anyone who loves sneakers. Most of today’s silhouettes are revamped versions of Vans’ flagship skate shoes and casual styles. 

Whether it’s your first time buying a pair of Vans shoes or you’re building a sneaker caboodle and prefer some classics to add up to your list, our top picks might help you choose which pair (or pairs) to cop (and collect).

We wear-tested over 100 Vans sneakers and pooled the best ones into different categories that will address your need for style and function.

How we review Vans sneakers

To give you an unbiased take on the shoes, save you time and effort, and help you simplify the process of choosing the BEST Vans sneakers, we summarize all verified reviews, eliminate the spam, and rank the shoes.

Each review gets weighed and rated as it goes through our system-generated Corescore tool. Through the same tool, we get to rank the shoes on a scale of 0-100.

It doesn’t stop there. We wear-test each of the best-rated pairs and have carloads of Vans sneakers shipped to us in batches. Every pair is subjected to a month-long, thorough grind test, wherein we dedicate each day of the week wearing Vans for practically multiple activities.

We also do regular rounds of flipping, sliding, grinding, and dropping at the skate parks and rate each Vans sneaker based on durability, support, flexibility, and comfort.

Best overall

Undoubtedly, the Old Skool is that one skate shoe from Vans that’s creating ripples in the fashion world. Already wildly popular among skateboarders, this simplistic shoe with the trademark squiggly leather strips has turned into a sneaker icon. To our discriminating taste buds, it’s simply SWEET!

Maybe you’re wondering too how a humble canvas sneaker like this is one of the hottest lifestyle footwear not only in the mainstream market but among celebrities and A-listers too. We caved in and tried sporting it ourselves. 

“Amazing” was the first word that came to our minds. Vans did a hell of a good job when it comes to comfort. You can forget about other canvas sneakers for now and try this yourself. 

If you’re looking for that one pair of go-to sneakers that will help you get covered with most of your day’s tasks, this could be it. 

Vans Old Skool is a killer in a good sense as it didn’t keep our feet toasty. It is so breathable even when we were all up on our feet the whole day, tossing from one errand to another, under hot weather!

Versatility isn’t a problem. It gave us the satisfaction to be as expressive as we want with our daily garb. It blends perfectly well with jeans and tracksuits to dresses and tuxes!

Our verdict: If you’re looking for a wardrobe staple that trumps in comfort and style, you can’t go wrong with the classic Vans Old Skool!

See our full review and facts

Borrowing the look of the iconic Old Skool is another dynamite sneaker from Vans: the Ultrarange EXO. We chose this among our top picks as it got all the bells and whistles in comfort, function, and durability. 

The Ultracush cushioning is simply divine! Such a padding unit is nearly flawless as it cupped and cradled our feet sublimely! Our feet swelled at the end of the day after pounding on the pavement but this shoe handled all the stress! Comfort-wise, it just blew our minds! It’s simply stellar!

Oh, did we say it got a sockliner that wicks moisture too? That’s a bomb! And we didn’t expect that coming. 

Its one stitchless upper is nowhere near the word flimsy! After killing this on concrete from one city to another, we understand why it’s sensational in skate parks. It's tough and abrasive resistant.

On the flip side, the rubber tread is sensational. And that’s an understatement. The lugs grip on different surfaces and are tough enough. It gets us covered wherever our feet take us. 

Vans is a genius wizard in concealing all the peachy skate-oriented tech-infused into this shoe. Even with a partly beefed-up look, it’s so damn ultralight! 

If you’re an unstoppable bee, always on the go, this shoe from Vans will keep up with your pace.

See our full review and facts

Best slip-on

When it comes to classic, chic, comfy, and easy-to-wear kicks from the well-loved Anaheim-born skate brand, Vans Slip-On is a primo! We won’t say that if we haven’t tried it in gnarly city pavements for almost 24/7.

Right off the bat, it’s timeless! That’s uncontestable. Its style will last even as other top dog players in the sneaker market feed us with futuristic, dad, or chunky shoes. You can never go wrong with the classic Vans Slip-On. We didn’t, that’s why it’s among our top picks. 

Though it’s one of Vans’ vulcanized shoes, meaning it isn’t generously cushioned, it gave our feet much shock-absorption as any cup soled shoes would. That’s radically insane, right?

Its canvas upper and rubber sole didn’t give us a hard time. These are prizewinning when it comes to flexibility. It’s far-out comfy straight from the box. 

We didn’t get tangled with laces and its slip-on opening is stretchy enough that it accommodated even those with broad feet among us. Without overlays, tongues, or laces, it does feel light. It didn't weigh us down when walking miles along city streets. 

Does it get ripped sooner than you can finish your meal? Definitely not! It’s well-stitched that it aces in durability. It’s thick enough minus all the stiffness. 

So if you’re looking for an all-rounder, stylish kick worth adding to your rotation, we definitely recommend you take the Vans Slip-On in. It DEFINITELY doesn’t disappoint at all.

See our full review and facts

Vans Checkerboard Slip-On trails after the classic Slip-On in all angles, so don’t be surprised that it gets a rightful spot among our top choices from Vans. When it comes to the old-school look that’s as jim-dandy then and now, the Vans Checkerboard Slip-On hits the bull right on the eye. 

Straight from the box, we marveled at its blast from the past aesthetic which teased us to be more playful with our everyday wardrobe arsenal. We felt the Spicoli fever when we fused this up with several outfits.Though it gives out a true ‘80s Off the Wall vibe, it blends splendidly with any casual wear. 

Like the Classic Slip-On, this Checkerboard variety doesn’t fail in giving out tip-top comfort. You don’t need to hear us sing praises when we describe how cushy its padded collars are. The canvas upper isn’t a dungeon hole for our feet. We just love how breathable it is. It’s like giving our feet a taste of nirvana! 

After taking this around town for a month, we can say swear by its unsurpassed durability. It may be covered in canvas but it sure does withstand repeated pounding on concrete. Those rubber waffles are dope and peachy!

Vans Checkerboard Slip On ticks all the boxes.It’s as gilt-edged as any Vans shoes born to skate.

See our full review and facts

Best high-top

When it comes to the best high-top Vans shoe, we’re all hands down with this skate brand’s flagship pair, the classic Sk8-Hi, no less. It’s hard not to put a heritage yet VERY MUCH relevant shoe like this one at the topmost of our list. This lone high-top from the brand’s iconic lineup simply stunned us.

These are the closest to the all-time favorite Converse Chucks but way, way more comfortable. After giving this a test run for several weeks, a minimum of 8 hours a day, we could hardly say goodbye to it. 

Those insoles weren't an insult to our feet. We just love, love, love walking on these. Its underfoot support snaps back efficiently so rad that it won’t, even in an instance, bottom out. 

Describe it as you wish, but we’d say it’s synonymous to S.U.P.E.R.I.O.R. comfort better than the standard ones that toughen up through repeated use. To think that this is a vulcanized shoe that is supposed to have less bounce than the cupsoled ones. 

Since these are groomed for harsh grinding and pounding on concrete, vert handrails, quarter pipes, we can’t help but be perplexed still by the toughness of its rubber sole. Those waffles don’t easily get ripped. They’re prepped for serious beating without giving our feet any bruises. 

Styling this up was a lot more fun than we'd imagined. The colors, prints, and graphics available for it made us drool as they do give our usual laidback street clothes a punch of style. It’s really hard to depart from that.

See our full review and facts

After trying several Vans high-top sneakers, we can’t put the Sk8-Hi MTE off the top chart. Vans’ design team are clever clogs coming up with an outdoorsy-inspired version of the best-loved Vans Sk8-Hi. 

If the classic pair is more suitable for spring and summer, Vans Sk8-Hi MTE is the best option for inclement weather. Vans’ rocket skate scientists are so perceptive as they lined this old school high-top with fleece. 

Did we describe that the heat retention layering between the sockliner and the outsole is a hyper-intelligent add-on? It served as insulation for our feet when we tried this during the winter season. 

If we were awestruck by the regular Vans waffle tread, moreso with this modified version. It’s topflight and WICKED as it prevents us from slipping on wet and lightly snowed grounds. It almost mimics the feel we’d usually get with winter-ready sneakerboots. 

If you’re looking for a reliable high-top to add to your rotation during fall and winter, this kick from Vans’ Mountain Edition will send you to happy summits. They don’t only look classy and premium-edged but so ready for slaying it under harsh elements.

See our full review and facts

Best platform

Platform sneakers are poised to take over those wedge kicks, and Vans was bitten by the craze. From the platform kicks that sashayed from this skate brand, we gave a full nod to the Old Skool Platform. Giving eye blinders to the hype, this shoe won our hearts in style, comfort, versatility, and practicality.  

Its thickset sole elevated the already appealing classic guise of the Vans Old Skool. They give a new dimension to the traditional DNA making the Vans Old Skool Platform super luxe and fashionable. To translate that in a single word, it’s FANTABULOUS! 

Without much styling effort on our part, it gave us a runway-ready look with the added height. This shoe with a partly morphed look puts a better meaning to skate fashion. And we don’t need to know how to flip or ollie to wear an Old Skool. 

Even with a fat bottom that appears like a slab of rubber from heel to toe, this shoe is flexible enough, it didn’t weigh us down a bit. It’s surprisingly lightweight!

Durability is not a question. These are as hard-wearing as the Old Skools used for thrashing with the board. Its sole didn’t break away from the upper even when we used this the whole day frequently in a week for month-long. Even its sockliner is adhered well to the base of the shoe. 

Even with a stylish package and a platform sole, the Old Skool is hard to beat.

See our full review and facts

It’s difficult to ignore the most versatile and innately chic Vans Slip-On Platform from our top choices when it comes to sneakers with stacked soles. Even with a pumped up sole, this iconic gem from Vans kept its ageless charm. 

It’s by far refreshingly unadorned, straightforward, and unpretentious -- everything that equates to classic beauty. 

We didn’t just pick this shoe for aesthetic reasons only, we were also swooned by the comfort it gives. After weartesting this for practically all day for an entire month, it gave us the impression that slip-ons are as comfy as any laced-up classics from Vans. 

The padded collar was a treat to our ankles too! 

It didn’t give us heel blisters or arch pain even as we rocked this during the peak of summer. It may be a little element fused into this shoe but the elastic side accents made the opening flexible enough. There was no struggle slipping in and out of this laceless kick. 

The platform sole didn’t give us a hard time. Not a single day! It flexed with our feet no matter which direction we took. 

If you haven’t decided yet which platform sneaker from Vans to bring home, we guarantee you this laceless buddy won’t give you a headache. Vans didn’t just focus on style and comfort but longevity too. It’s simply timeless!

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

If there’s one sneaker from Vans that’s a real bang for the buck we’d say without batting an eyelash it’s the Vans Authentic. This shoe didn’t just placed Vans on the map, but it’s an epitome of how this brand can communicate with anyone.

It sold like pancakes when it was initially introduced to the growing skate communities in California, and there’s no doubt it still fly off the shelves until today with it’s wallet-friendly price tag.

After so many decades, it remains true to its roots so it wasn’t a hard decision on our part to put something as genuine as the Authentic under the most budget friendly sneakers from Vans. Not only does its price won’t cause an arm or a leg, it’s style will survive even as the fashion trends change every now and then.

If Audrey Hepburn skates back in the day, she might have traded Keds Champion with this. Not only is it elegantly classic and chic, it’s long lasting. These are just some of the elements why we’ve fallen for this style.

It’s the most essential style you can get from Vans for an MSRP of $50. You’re even luckier if you can get your preferred color from our site at mega discount.

Speaking of colors, we thought it will give us a headache as the options are abundant but since it’s way cheaper than a box of pizza, we gave it a bite. We enjoyed it so much and bought some more to try. Maybe you would too.

See our full review and facts

Like its almost twin brother Vans Authentic, the Vans Era is another style that we can’t dismiss from our top picks. It’s simply the type of sneaker for every budget that’s worth adding to anyone’s rotation.

We didn’t just imagine how it performs, we tried it for several hours in a week for varied activities. And after a month of giving it some serious pounding on the pavement, it sure was a silent killer. No, we didn’t get any sore feet from this shoe. On the contrary, underneath its simplicity it’s oozing with sterling appeal. 

This second shoe ever produced by Vans isn’t in any rate second best. It’s almost equally topflight as the Authentic that’s made even more cushioned with the added foam inserts around the collar, giving it a partly beefed up look.

If you want to give your feet a taste of heaven without spending a fortune, the Vans Era won’t disappoint. For just $50 you can already get a well-padded shoe supported by hard-wearing elements.

Like it’s siblings, it’s born to skate, so it’s ready for some beating. We’ll never know this and can’t vouch for it if we haven’t tried commuting inter-cities wearing this or haven’t gone through skateparks wearing it. We did share some lasting memories. And it seems like this old joe won’t retire soon as it remains intact throughout the grind test.

For a sneaker that’s stylish (mind you, its colorways are vast), comfy, durable, and absolutely AFFORDABLE as the Vans Era, you’re giving yourself a good treat and great ride by copping it.

See our full review and facts

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Author
Judith
Judith

If Sneakerology exists, Judith’s close to earning her Ph.D. She owns not stacks of kicks, but hundreds of published sneaker content online, headlining grails, greats, GRs from over 30 global brands. She’s a natural creative wordsmith, a hype monster at times, who writes and edits lifestyle articles professionally for over two decades now. If you're lost in a sea of popular or undervalued sneaks fishing for that best catch, she’ll gladly help out between sips of coffee or lemony mojito.