Our verdict

We are thrilled to wear the Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 because it is our chunky pal for long days when we want to stay comfortable and stylish. Giving us the best of both worlds, these hiking-inspired trainers make sure our feet are dry, warm, and more importantly, happy. If the forecast on your phone says one thing but you look at the sky and it's telling you something else... this pair is always a safe bet. Who said being cool and protected from the elements was an incompatible pair?

Pros

  • Top-notch weatherproofing
  • Supportive foothold
  • Real suede
  • More flexible than it seems
  • Grippy
  • Super plush insole
  • More than 10 colorways

Cons

  • Heavier than average
  • Not for wide feet

Audience verdict

94
Superb!

Who should buy

You should definitely level up your style game with these baddies if you...

  • want to add an styslih all-weather pair to your collection.
  • are looking for all-rounder boots that make your feet feel safe and stable.
  • are looking for something fairly pliable that keeps your feet locked down.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2

Who should NOT buy

If you love Vans and you're looking for a breathable and suitable pair for your adventures on the skate, forget about this one and have a look at the Vans Old Skool. Additionally, it's a low-top kick, so you will definitely love it if you're all about ankle mobility.

If you hate when shoes make you feel like you can't lift your feet from the floor, we are convinced that this model is definitely not what you're looking for. We think that the Vans Sk8-Hi is another stylish high top that might be spot on if you're not looking for something that can protect your feet from the elements.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2

Breathability

Just by having a look at these big boys, your brain will most likely go: "If it's hot, DON'T!". Yeah, we totally understand! But hey, didn't you know appearances can be deceptive?

We definitely can't say this shoe lets the air go in and out like its Old Skool pal, but it's not as bad as we thought.

See, it does let some smoke out... Kinda. In this video we're comparing it with the Reebok Classic Leather (on the right), which is clearly losing this battle!

We also checked for perforations using a bright light. Did you see any? Because we didn't either!

So we already know that its material is gonna be densely woven. Let's see what our microscope says!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Breathability

Not a single ventilation hole, but we're not surprised. Check these two close-ups of the black and beige parts. Nothing is coming through these materials!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Breathability

It's just like an armour!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Breathability

So, all in all, we've decided that it deserves a 3 out of 5 in our breathability test. Even though this shoe could fight in the Crusades with all that protection, it does let out some air.

Still, it is not suitable for summer. Our feet felt super toasty, and even though it looks really cool... we had to save it for colder months!

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 3
Average 2.9
Compared to 51 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Waterproofing

One of the key points of this pair is its ability to fight bad weather with all its might!

Holding its banner high, just like its top, your feet will be protected from the elements. Featuring the brand's HydroGuard waterproof protection, these kicks will make sure you can go and have fun with your friends around town no matter what. Puddles? Easy. Rain? Peasy. Snow? Lemon. Sleet? Squeezy.

Thermoregulation

But there's more!

The zonal Primaloft insulation of this shoe uses a high-quality microfiber that keeps your feet warm even when winter is not coming anymore... because it's already here! This system gives extra points to the overall breathability of the MTE-2, as it does not retain internal moisture.

Could you see the silver part of this shoe's upper in the video? Yeah? That's its reflective lining, which makes sure your feet won't freeze with its 100 grammes of insulation.

Bad weather, begone!

Durability

Leather/Suede quality

These kicks are fire and... may we say that in this case it's okay to fight fire with fire?

Weapons, on! We took our butane torch and burned its upper materials for a few seconds to see if they were authentic. Then, we started attacking the burnt parts with our scratch awl.

This sounds rough, we know... But we did mention a Crusade, right? This pair was a born fighter!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Leather/Suede quality

We just go further and beyond to give you the most detailed and objective reviews. So, this time, it turns out the suede parts are real, but the white jazz stripe is synthetic/fake.

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Real suede

Toebox durability

Once we had finished this test, we did regret a little bit saying that this fighter's got an armour.

But don't get us wrong, we're not trying to say it is a flimsy pair! After all, it's built to withstand the elements. Yet, trainers with an authentic suede upper are usually very durable, so what happened here?

The white rubber protection literally flies away once our Dremel touches it! The black suede part doesn't do very well either. The damage was quite significant, so we've given this soldier a 3 out 5. We can't say it's weak, but it's definitely not the strongest sneaker warrior out there!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Toebox durability

If you want a pair made of real suede that is actually resistant, have a look at the Adidas Gazelle. It's also stylish as heck!

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 3
Average 3.8
Compared to 51 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Another lost fight in the heel!

We moved all the way there, but we kept our Dremel at a consistent speed (5K RPM) and force (3.2N). We never change these parameters, as we want every single shoe to have a fair and equal try at every test.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Heel padding durability

Once again, the damage was quite significant, so... we've had to give it a 2 out 5 in heel padding durability! Still, we gotta say that this is a very delicate part, especially in trainers.

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 2
Average 3.5
Compared to 51 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

When we checked the Vans Sk8-Hi MTE 2's outsole hardness, we realised this shoe might have lost a couple of battles, but not the war!

Its rugged and massive outsole is here as its secret weapon. With a durometer measurement of 90.1 HC, we can tell you confidently that it can fight fiercely!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Outsole hardness

After all, this model is inspired in hiking shoes, so we did expect it to be quite tough!

Side note: Normally, there is a correlation between the hardness of rubber and its longevity.

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 90.1 HC
Average 85.2 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 51 trainers
Number of shoes
72.9 HC
Outsole hardness
90.5 HC

Outsole durability

It looks like this pair won't stop surprising us.

Remember we said literally 2 seconds ago that normally the hardness of rubber and its longevity are correlated? Because we did say normally, though. Is the Sk8-Hi MTE 2 the exception that proves the rule?

During the long 22-second drilling session, we did see the rubber putting up a fight at the beginning. But then... it looks like it gave up! Its aggressive lugs are there to protect your feet, but with a damage of 2.0 mm, we can't say it's the knight in shining armour your feet were expecting!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Outsole durability

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 2.0 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 51 trainers
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

This shoe's contradiction is very similar to the Adidas Samba's - an outsole with poor durability but thicker than average. So... one thing compensates for another, right Vans?

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Outsole thickness

This score is pretty brutal, not gonna lie. Actually, it's the highest we've seen so far in trainers! So, don't worry if its durability was not that good. With that thickness, these baddies will definitely be your partners in crime for a while!

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 7.7 mm
Average 5.5 mm
Compared to 52 trainers
Number of shoes
3.4 mm
Outsole thickness
8.6 mm

Weight

We said this shoe was a knight but... it might actually be their horse?

But just when we're talking about weight. There's no way this pair could run as fast! When we put it on, we already felt all its weight. It would make our feet stick to the ground, so we were TERRIFIED to check the score of our scale.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Weight

Yep, bad news. With its 19.9 oz (564.0 g) in a men's US size 9, of course we were feeling dragged down when we were walking around town! It's way heavier than average!

But ah well, it's something we expected, as it's not only a chunky boy, but also a high-top. As this type of shoe has more materials, it will pretty much always be heavier than low or mid-top pairs.

If you want some big pals that don't feel heavy on foot, check the New Balance 574 out.

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 19.89 oz (564g)
Average 14.07 oz (399g)
Compared to 52 trainers
Number of shoes
8.54 oz (242g)
Weight
22.61 oz (641g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

In order to protect you from the stones or some other (light) debris that you might find around town, this shoe's heel stack is just about the same as the average, which is not very thick.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Heel stack

Thing is... Where does all its weight go? They could've used some more material here.

If this has piqued your curiosity, keep reading!

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 28.4 mm
Average 29.6 mm
Compared to 52 trainers
Number of shoes
18.2 mm
Heel stack
41.8 mm

Forefoot stack

In the forefoot, these baddies are actually higher than average. With its 20.2 mm forefoot stack, they manifested their inner hiker soul!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2

The Vans Sk8-Hi MTE 2 levels up the protection game! I mean, you need to focus on being happy and having fun when you're out with friends, not on dodging every single pebble! Isn't that right?

Leave it to this pair!

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 20.2 mm
Average 18.8 mm
Compared to 52 trainers
Number of shoes
10.6 mm
Forefoot stack
28.3 mm

Drop

The difference between both stacks heights is not big at all, so the drop isn't either. Based on our measurements, it's lower than average at 8.2 mm.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Drop

Some people love it when their heels are elevated, but others prefer an experience that is closer to the ground. With this pair, it's neither one nor the other. It felt pretty balanced to us!

Even though you might instantly link Vans with skating (which we do, too), let's not forget that this pair's design comes from hiking shoes, and that its main purpose is to keep you warm and comfy when bad weather makes a surprise attack.

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 8.2 mm
Average 10.9 mm
Compared to 52 trainers
Number of shoes
6.7 mm
Drop
17.2 mm

Secondary foam softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Normally, shoes have a thick or thin layer of foam underfoot, but there are some pairs that have two. This is the case of the Sk8-Hi MTE 2, which has what's called secondary foam. This extra piece is closer to the foot.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Secondary foam softness

At 15.4 HA, it's way softer than average! More specifically, 46%! This means your feet will be comfortably held in every landing.

Even though this score is quite low, we didn't feel like our feet were sinking down there. The foam might be soft, but don't forget the outsole material is quite thick!

That's a pretty good duo, Vans, we see you!

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 15.4 HA
Average 36.8 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Insole thickness

As both foams team up, the comfort levels increase.

We measure the insole thickness (both layers included) with our calliper at 13.3 mm!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Insole thickness

Trust us on this one: the higher the score, the happier the feet! After all, it makes the shoe more comfortable.

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 13.3 mm
Average 5.4 mm
Compared to 52 trainers
Number of shoes
3.1 mm
Insole thickness
13.9 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

As we can see in the video below, you can forget about wobbly ankles!

The sole and midsole might be soft in these big boys, but the upper materials are not! They made sure our feet didn't move from their spot, and we didn't feel unsteady at all.

Nothing like some good old high-top kicks to keep our ankles away from danger!

Torsional rigidity

In our lab, we bent and squeezed this shoe from one side to the other as if it were a Rubik's cube.

And once again, we were pretty surprised. It was so pliable that we had to give it a 2 out of 5 on our torsional rigidity test! The materials and the sole accompanied our hand moves, which is something that we also felt when we went for our daily strolls.

Even though we cannot deny these are some big pals, they bend with your feet just right when you're walking. This is something that we really, really like, as it makes having them on for hours easier.

Loving how Vans combined flexibility and style here! It's time to go for a show-off-your-new-killers walk around town!

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 2
Average 3.5
Compared to 51 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

We found the heel counter to be very pliable too!

As the whole structure is quite flexible, this could translate into instability, but we didn't feel like that at all. When we pinched and pushed and squeezed the heel counter non-stop, it just gave in quite easily, earning a 2 out 5 in our heel counter stiffness test.

Nevertheless, we cannot forget this is a high top shoe. Even if it's generally soft, you can lace it up to the top and make your ankles stay where they should. In this case, pliability doesn't equal a lack of ankle support, just a lack of blisters!

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 2
Average 3.2
Compared to 51 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Knights are supposed to make you feel safe, right? And the Vans Sk8-Hi MTE 2 takes the knight code very seriously!

We measured the midsole width in the forefoot using our calliper at 107.7 mm, which only adds up to the great stability this pair was already giving us! As we were saying before, despite being flexible, this big platform makes sure our landings are safe.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Midsole width in the forefoot

1 mm might not sound like much to you, but trust us, your feet will definitely love it!

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 107.7 mm
Average 108.8 mm
Compared to 52 trainers
Number of shoes
100.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
121.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Most likely to compensate for the pliability of the heel counter, the width of the midsole in the heel is lower than average.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Midsole width in the heel

In other words, even though the heel counter is flexible, the platform is narrower than average. This means your heels won't have too much room to move around and make you feel unsteady.

The cherry on top is that, thanks to its soft high top, heel slippage was non-existent!

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 74.6 mm
Average 83.3 mm
Compared to 52 trainers
Number of shoes
69.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
103.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Even though this Vans pair is pretty chunky, we were surprised by how it followed our feet moves smoothly.

In the video, you can clearly see how the forefoot bends right where it's needed. To put our feelings into numbers, we took our knight to our lab and we used a force gauge to bend it to a 90-degree angle. Its score was 20.1N, which is pretty close to the average.

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 20.1N
Average 23.4N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 52 trainers
Number of shoes
5.8N
Stiffness
51.8N

Size and fit

Internal length

A detail that we loved about this pair was how obedient its tongue is.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Tongue: gusset type

With two gussets (attachments), one per side, this pair did not let its tongue dance around. Once again, this levelled up the whole comfort game, as we didn't have to be constantly putting the tongue back in place.

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 269.5 mm
Average 272.1 mm
Compared to 48 trainers
Number of shoes
265.3 mm
Internal length
280.1 mm

Midfoot feel

Knights are supposed to make you feel safe, right? And the Vans Sk8-Hi MTE 2 takes the knight code very seriously!

We measured the midsole width in the forefoot using our calliper at 107.7 mm, which only adds up to the great stability this pair was already giving us! As we were saying before, despite being flexible, this big platform makes sure our landings are safe.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Midsole width in the forefoot

1 mm might not sound like much to you, but trust us, your feet will definitely love it!

Toebox width at the widest part

The Safety First motto is back!

Our calliper measured the widest part of the toebox at 102.3 mm, which is a real lot!!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Toebox width at the widest part

Once again, a wide platform translates into safe landings, but... just by looking at the picture we can tell that it's not that spacious towards the cap toe.

A true knight saves everyone equally, isn't that so? Will wide feet users have a happily ever after ending?

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 102.3 mm
Average 99.1 mm
Compared to 52 trainers
Number of shoes
91.6 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
107.7 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Well... we don't think so.

This shoe felt great in our average size feet, but it's true that the testers among us who had wider feet felt it was constraining at the tip.

Even though the toebox at its widest part is wider than usual, at the big toe it's not that spacious. We measured it with our calliper at 74.6 mm.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Toebox width at the big toe

So, even though this pair is quite roomy in the midfoot, its front and back parts say otherwise. Thus, wide foot users might feel uncomfortable. If you want a chunky pair which is suitable for wide feet, we recommend the New Balance 574 (just keep in mind this shoe is not as flexible as the Vans Sk8-Hi MTE 2!).

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 74.6 mm
Average 74.9 mm
Compared to 51 trainers
Number of shoes
63.7 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
83.0 mm

Tongue: gusset type

A detail that we loved about this pair was how obedient its tongue is.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Tongue: gusset type

With two gussets (attachments), one per side, this pair did not let its tongue dance around. Once again, this levelled up the whole comfort game, as we didn't have to be constantly putting the tongue back in place.

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Both sides (full)

Comfort

Tongue padding

Are you ready for more good news regarding the tongue? Cause we sure are!

When we walked around town with these pretty things, we never felt any kind of lace bite. This is thanks to the incredibly padded tongue! Our calliper marked 10.4 mm, which is a whole 41% higher than average!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Tongue padding

Compared to other thinner tongues (like the one in the Adidas Gazelle), this one makes sure our feet are comfortably where they should be. Channelling its inner hiker once again, the Vans Sk8-Hi MTE 2 gives you a strong lockdown feel, we absolutely loved it!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Tongue padding

As the good chunky boys they are, their interior is quite padded. We can now see where its weight and warming powers come from!

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 10.4 mm
Average 9.3 mm
Compared to 52 trainers
Number of shoes
1.0 mm
Tongue padding
38.4 mm

Heel tab

One of the coolest details we've seen in trainers is the double pull-tab game of the Sk8-Hi MTE 2!

Look, there's one at the front...

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Heel tab

...and one at the back!

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2

They couldn't be any cooler if they tried!

This does not only make the shoe easier to put on, but it also gives it extra style points. With these bad boys roughed up aesthetics, you can walk around town with that thought vibes whilst your feet are being comfortably held.

Bad on the outside, but good on the inside lovers, where you at?

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Finger loop

Removable insole

We did love these kicks insole, but as it's removable, you can change it and use your own orthotics if needed.

Vans Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Removable insole

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Did you think they were done with being cool? No way on Earth!

But, wait. We won't say anything yet. Let's just watch this short video together.

Right? Right!?

We ADORED the reflective details around the shoe. Apart from keeping us away from danger at night, they also kept us away from being tasteless.

In this pair, Vans mixes its modern city style with an outdoor vibe. We can see this clearly in the laces, which have the strength and shape of the ones seen in hiking shoes, but a cool touch that we usually find in the trainers'.

Test results
Sk8-Hi MTE-2 Yes