Verdict from +100 user reviews

10 reasons to buy

  • The Vans Old Skool is a revamp of the classic which features an exceptional lightweight model, some reviewers have noted.
  • It is reasonably priced.
  • The cushioning of the sneaker was widely appreciated by a lot of users, which gives that all day comfortable feel.
  • The Vans Old Skool Lite is a staple option for everyday wear, according to several customers.
  • Besides the lightweight update to the Old Skool classic, the sneaker emphasized a stylish look, as praised by users.
  • A handful of users have remarked that the sneaker is perfect for jobs that require standing for long hours.
  • A couple of purchasers have recommended buying more colors of the model.
  • One user has noted that the longer one would wear the sneaker, the more comfortable it gets.
  • The Lite upgrade of the Old Skool was versatile enough to be worn during casual events to rocking out, according to some wearers.
  • Some fans are hoping that Vans would not discontinue producing the shoe for its very satisfactory function and style.

3 reasons not to buy

  • The lining on the back of the shoe would sometimes peel off, others have noted.
  • Some loyalists of the original Old Skool silhouette have disliked the revamped light version of the model.
  • A handful of wearers have stated that the sneaker delivers no traction in wet surfaces, with one user exclaiming that it’s like "ice skating in wet cement."

Bottom line

Addressing issues regarding cushioning and weight, Vans revamps the classic Style 36 into a seemingly cloud-like footwear—namely, the Vans Old Skool Lite. This Lite iteration offers sufficient arch support.

All-day comfort is observed while wearing these sneakers, which are designed to withstand long hours of standing and walking. The sleek impression of the Old Skool was maintained in this silhouette, which enables users to sport the shoe in a vast variety of clothing combinations. 

Tip: see the best sneakers.

Good to know

The sneaker's comfort is exemplified by the UltraCush Lite footbed, which is a custom foam that brings forth supreme comfort and protection in a lighter material. The construction of the shoe is also modified to align with the lightweight bearing of the silhouette. Laces are retained as the system of an enclosure.

For those who want a pair, the sneaker is available in full-size runs for both men and women.

The Vans Old Skool Lite updates the classic waffle-pattern look of Old Skool shoes into a full white sole. All the upper detailing of the low top was loyal to its roots from the eye-catching Sidestripe to the stitching from toe to heel.

The light version of the iconic model maintains the low profile form of its forefather. The low-top sneaker would suffice with pants, shorts, leggings, dresses, and many more outfit combinations. To some extent, these sneakers can also be worn with smart casual wear on certain occasions.

At first glance, the vintage Old Skool and the Lite version would almost look the same. Most users testified the platform appeal of the new improved cushioned sole that for Old Skool loyalists would be easy to decipher. Turning the shoe upside down would unfold a white sole that resembles the traction pattern of the original.

  Vans Old Skool vs. Old Skool Lite

As many of the die-hard Vans experts already know, the Lite version of the coveted sneaker utilizes an EVA sole instead of the standard waffle-pattern rubber outsole. This upgraded tooling hugs the bottom of the foot like a cupsole and features an almost one-piece component from the bottom to the midsole. Though it is lighter, the Vans Lite Old Skool sacrificed the superior grip of the waffle sole.

The roots of the long-upheld skate sneaker brand can be traced back to Anaheim, California where it all started. Vans was a wordplay of the founder's surname, Paul Van Doren. He and his brother, along with two other friends, moved their families from Massachusetts to California in the 60s to aid a failing Randy's factory. At the time, both were working for Randy's, one of the pioneer sneaker companies that embellished the northeastern part of the U.S.

The brothers helped restore the diminishing factory in Gardenvale, California back to its profitable state in eight months. Three months after the recovery, Van Doren decided to start his own shoe company.

The two brothers had situated their house and families in Anaheim, California, a place where surfing and skateboarding were widespread. They decided to call their establishment the Van Doren Rubber Company which specializes in custom manufactured shoes that were sold directly to the public.

On the company's opening day on March 16, 1966, twelve customers came to buy shoes in their store. The selected style and color of each buyer's shoes were assembled on the same day which were picked up later in the afternoon. Realizing that they forgot to maintain a cash reserve for change, they requested the customers to come back tomorrow with the payment. All of them came back the next day.

The shoes that were sold on their opening day were, later on, named as the "Authentic." From its success, subsequent models spontaneously appeared on the company's roster. These include the Style 36 which was now known to be called Old Skool.

The Old Skool was initially introduced in 1977 which was an answer to the growing need for skate shoes. It was the first Vans iteration to feature the so-called "jazz stripe" that would later be coined as the famous sidestripe. It was a padded and more durable update to the authentic which then would allow people to customize their Old Skool.

As the decades passed, the fame of the Old Skool had reached the media with flying colors. Skater and artist collaborations boosted its name into different aspects of fashion trends. Alternative and rock bands started to sport the classics into their concerts which attracted fans into developing a liking for it.

  Introducing the Vans Old Skool Lite

The timeless tale of the vintage style of Old Skool would come at a close with the introduction of a lighter, and more comfortable revamp. The Old Skool Lite, released in 2015, features a new shoe construction to increase flexibility and comfort and decrease the classic model's overall weight. It is also coupled with an UltraCush foam which adds to the lightweight sensation on every stride.

Though the Vans Old Skool Lite was released in 2015, it had not yet achieved its mainstream fame until the following year. The iconic black with white Side Stripe was one of the very first versions to be released which brings in a contemporary twist to the retro colorway. Another addition to the little upgrade is its almost weightless feel which is three times lighter than a traditional sole.

Going tonal was a sure thing for a silhouette like the Vans evident with its Black-in-Black edition which remains perfect for smart-casual gatherings. Other retailers like END Clothing joined in with the bandwagon and released an Ochre and True White colorway of the Vans Old Skool Lite Checkerboard.

These Old Skool Lite Vans also come in a nubuck rendition with brilliantly designed tonal uppers. The seasonal pack was released in October of 2016 in a selection of muted colors including brown, navy, and a Vans Old Skool Lite grey hue. The collection was launched under the Vans Vault subsidiary of the global Cali-based brand.

In August 2017, the Chicago-based tannery named Horween Leather Co. dipped the Vans Old Skool Lite in navy and bright yellow hues. The Horween Pack not only includes two contrasting versions of the OId Skool Lite but also features a peat green colorway of the Vans Sk8-Hi Reissue Lite.

Vans Vault was at it again for yet another timeless classic showcasing the versatility of the Old Skool Lite. The UltraCush-drenched classic skate sneaker revamps the traditional canvas assembly and replaces it with a somewhat hairy suede detailing. Colorways for the Vans Vault x Old Skool Lite LX include grey pinstripe, new wheat, and marshmallow white. The collection was set to release in April 2018.

  • The lining of the Old Skool Lite consists of textile which adds to the overall comfort.
  • Depending on the colorway, the shoe's upper may be composed of suede and canvas or canvas.
  • The last that was used for its construction is the Actionfit™ last that simulates the feel of running footwear.
  • The sockliner and the outsole are both composed of UltraCush technology.


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The current trend of Vans Old Skool Lite.
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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.