Verdict from +100 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • Skaters who tried doing numerous kickflips using this shoe are amazed at the durability of Vans Old Skool.   
  • A considerable number of reviewers went for this sneaker for its pocket-friendly price tag.
  • The upper allows ample circulation which makes the feet cozy inside, according to few wearers.
  • A sleek and stylish go-to sneaker, a few buyers have said.
  • Reviewers have said that, like most Vans shoes, this sneaker requires a short break-in period. 
  • Few buyers like the padded collar won’t rub against the ankles.
  • Reviewers particularly like the fact that the color of the Vans Old Skool advertised online and the actual shoe is the same.
  • The rubber waffle tread pattern underneath the shoe is very grippy, many buyers have attested.

2 reasons not to buy

  • A reviewer with flat feet mentions getting foot aches when wearing this sneaker.
  • Some skaters have mentioned they need a more supportive sneaker than this one when flying off the ramp.

Bottom line

They say that the vulc sole of the Vans Old Skool is equipped with the essential elements of a skate shoe that keeps the feet supported while maneuvering on the board and doing basic board tricks. It is a versatile, bang for the buck classic that continues to be a star in the skate and streetwear communities.

Tip: see the best sneakers.

Good to know

The low-top Vans Old Skool sneaker has a classic lace-up front that allows users to cinch down this shoe according to one’s preferred fit. This sneaker is available to both genders. 

The Vans Old Skool’s simple silhouette, which comes in a variety of colors, attracts a wide spectrum of users, from the conservative to the extremely fashionable. It has ventured out of its primary scope -- the skateboarders -- and migrated into the sneaker-loving society.

Its modest design takes on the basic composition of a skate shoe as it is fortified with a durable canvas and suede upper and a padded collar which offers quality ankle protection. Skaters said its thin tongue and basic footbed construction offer a remarkable boardfeel. On the flip side, the outsole is made of super grippy rubber in a waffle pattern which apparently offers superlative traction and keeps the feet stable even on slippery surfaces.

This vulcanized low-top Old Skool sneaker is versatile and said to be comfortable the longer one uses it, which makes it a go-to sneaker for skaters and casual wearers and a practical all-year-round footwear preference. Its unisex design creates no boundaries, be it in style or usage, as it can be paired up with a wide gamut of clothing for any season.

Vans’ Old Skool low-top sneaker has a modest construction yet loaded with key features that it naturally blends into anybody’s sneaker closet. Versatility is one. Its unrestricted design promotes boundless possibilities in the areas of style and function. Marked with a simple Sidestripe on the medial and lateral panels, this classic unisex sneaker allows users to be playful and stylish with their wardrobe selection.

Durability is another asset of the low-top Vans Old Skool since it is reinforced by a thick textile upper, assembled using strong double stitches. This apparently allows skateboarders to do simple board tricks without getting their sneakers beaten up immediately.

Underneath the shoe is a hard-wearing rubber in waffle tread pattern which offers traction, preventing users from slipping on wet grounds. Apart from these, the Vans Old Skool offers support on the toe, heel, and lace loop areas with the added suede protection.

Vans Old Skool is today’s much-favored sneaker worldwide, adored by a broad spectrum of users for its simplicity, style versatility, and affordability – a fashionable sneaker with a $60 price tag.  Some even predict this fast-growing crowd favorite might take the throne of the widely sought-after classic Adidas Stan Smith.

Initially created for skateboarders in the mid-1970s, the Old Skool was introduced by brothers Paul Van Doren and Jim Van Doren under its original name Style 36. Little did the Van Doren brothers know this skateboarding low-top would later become steady a wardrobe staple for men and women.

Vans Old Skool came from modest beginnings and was not Van’s first foray into skate shoes. Skateboarding was spiking a fever in the mid-1970s in California, and this prompted Vans to come up with their very first skate shoe called Vans #95 in 1976.

After dropping the Vans Era, the brand introduced Vans Old Skool which appeared a year later in 1977. The Old Skool is the first shoe that bears the instantly recognizable strip of leather stitched on its outer panels that developed into a famous symbol of Vans in the coming years.

Initially called the “Jazz Stripe,” the design of the Sidestripe popped as an accidental discovery by Paul which led to the creation of this skate shoe. He was scribbling away when he absentmindedly came up with this simple streak motif to go on the sides of the shoe. The Sidestripe, first seen on the Old Skool, is an essential part of what would later be deemed as Vans’s iconic sneaker.

Apart from aesthetics and identification, the Sidestripe functions as an added protection to the sides of the sneaker. Since the Old Skool was crafted primarily for the adventurous and daring skaters and it is highly vulnerable to wear and tear, the extra strip of leather that snakes on the sides helps extend the lifespan of the shoe.

Skaters at that time marveled at the Old Skool due to its sticky sole. Back then decks are made of plain wooden boards without the abrasive grip tapes seen in most skateboards today. Vans Old Skool’s outsole is made of durable rubber that grips well on the wood board.

  The Old Skool - from skating to lifestyle

The low-top Vans Old Skool survived the vibrant era of the 1980s. In fact, its versatile upper design became a canvass for creativity by its loyal followers as a personalized pair of kicks was in style at that time. In some way, customization has been a central aspect of Vans’ tradition.

Since the brand started, Vans has been custom-building shoes out of fabrics chosen by customers who walk into its modest store in Anaheim, California. This practice was partly carried on in 2004 when Vans officially launched its custom segment that allows consumers to design their sneakers by uploading images and choosing from a variety of materials offered by the brand.

Vans Old Skool low-top sneaker reached its celebrity status during the 1990s when it became an integral part of the grunge era and hip-hop culture. At that the time, Vans Old Skool’s rise to popularity was unstoppable. It became a sneaker of choice of virtually anyone, from avid skaters, sneaker enthusiasts, rockers, to pop artists and fashion influencers.

Vans further played a significant part in the growth of sneaker and skate cultures when it inked a long-term partnership with off-the-wall skateboarding shop Supreme. Their team-up gave birth to the very first collaborative project for the Old Skool in 1996. And their offspring, Supreme x Vans Old Skool, was considered a holy grail by die-hard sneaker fans while this movement additionally validates the Old Skool’s iconic status in the market.

In the coming years, the Vans Old Skool is continuously revamped into seemingly countless versions of casual footwear to address the needs of just about every potential sneaker wearer thinkable. Collaborations grew massively as the brand continuously hooked up with various retailers, designers, artists from the fashion, sporting goods, entertainment, and music industries.

  • After Vans teamed-up with American fashion designer Marc Jacobs and fashion boutique Opening Ceremony for collaborative works on the Vans Old Skool, this simple sneaker catapulted to a higher fashion profile.
  • Vans reissued some of its classic silhouettes on its 50th Anniversary in 2016, which includes the low-top Vans Old Skool. 
  •  In 2017 alone, the brand hooked up with legendary skater Daniel Lutheran, fashion retailer Opening Ceremony, outdoor brand North Face, plus many others giving consumers a shower of Vans Old Skool styles.
  • One of the limited-edition releases of the Vans Old Skool falls under the Bodega x Van Vault Sub Rosa Pack. 


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Top 9% sneakers
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The current trend of Vans Old Skool.
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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny McLoughlin is a researcher for RunRepeat covering football, sneakers and running. After graduating with a degree in computer science from The University of Strathclyde, Danny makes sure never to miss a game of his beloved Glasgow Rangers or the Scotland national football team. He has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.