Our verdict

We were already very familiar with this classic kick before testing it, so we were excited to dissect it in the lab to see just what it's made of. With its timeless, low-key style that can be paired with most outfits, to its incredibly versatile and comfortable nature, it’s no wonder that the Vans Slip-On has been a fan favourite for so long. This easy on-and-off shoe not only looks good but feels great whether we are out for a quick stroll or up on our feet all day, making it an extremely reliable option for any occasion.

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Easy on and off
  • Timeless style
  • Clean and versatile
  • Durable
  • Compliment magnet
  • Time-tested quality
  • Pocket-friendly range

Cons

  • Poor ventilation
  • Stiff at first
  • Not for wide feet

Audience verdict

92
Great!

Who should buy

We think that the Vans Slip-On will make an excellent addition to anyone’s shoe rotation, especially: 

  • Those in the market for a minimalist, all-rounder of a shoe that’s suitable for street strolls or skateboarding sessions
  • Sneaker fans looking for a timeless design that can be paired with almost any attire
  • Anyone looking for a shoe that’s easy to slip into that’s comfy enough for a quick trip to the shops, walking the dog, or even all-day use
  • Rebels with punk rock pumping through their veins looking for a shoe that fits the skater aesthetic

Vans Slip-On jevqv

Who should NOT buy

With its narrow toebox, the Slip-On isn’t the best choice for those with broad feet. Instead, check out the New Balance 574 as a roomier alternative. 

The Slip-On’s breathability leaves much to be desired, so going sockless in such a poorly ventilated shoe is a surefire recipe for sweaty/stinky feet. The New Balance 327 is a much more well-ventilated option that will keep the feet fresh even on hot summer days.

Vans Slip-On iooi

Breathability

Not even a wisp of smoke was able to escape the shoe’s well-fortified canvas upper throughout our twenty-second smoke test, earning it a sub-standard breathability score of 1 out of 5. This lack of ventilation does mean that going sockless is likely to result in stinky feet/shoes. 

For comparison, check out how much smoke the much more breathable Puma RS-X lets out in this same test. 

As we can see from looking at a cross-section of the Slip-On over a backlight, very little light is able to penetrate the dense canvas upper. 

Inspecting the shoe’s upper under our microscope, it’s clear to see that the canvas is woven with the tight precision of a machine-made carpet. With almost no space between the interlocked strands, the mystery of the upper’s lackluster airflow can be put to rest.

Vans Slip-On biehjev

Vans Slip-On ivivr

On the other hand (or foot) it would be safe to assume that this insular nature makes the shoe a good option for winter wear, given they’re used in tandem with a warm pair of cozy socks.

Test results
Slip-On 1
Average 3
Compared to 45 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Leather/Suede quality

We torched the lining of the heel collar to see if it's made of genuine leather. Things look good at first as it doesn't melt under the flame, though the way it chips away as we scratch it with our awl makes it clear that it's actually synthetic. 

Test results
Slip-On Fake leather

Toebox durability

First up to face the Dremel in our battery of durability tests is the toebox. With the abrasive element rotating at 5K RPM, we applied the tool to the shoe with 3.2N of force which immediately sent shreds of canvas flying around. 

However, upon assessing the aftermath of the four-second test, we found that we hadn’t inflicted as much damage as we had anticipated. The tool didn’t even pierce through the toebox at all, leaving it a little worse for wear but overall fairly intact. This leads us to give the Slip-On a respectable toebox durability score of 3 out of 5. That teaches us to question the hardiness of a skateboarding shoe.

Vans Slip-On Toebox durability
Test results
Slip-On 3
Average 3.7
Compared to 45 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Next, we turned our attention to the heel counter and put our Dremel to work again. 

Four seconds of abrasive force was all the tool needed to mince through the leatherette lining and begin eating at the soft padding within. However, with much of the scant padding remaining relatively unscathed, we give the Slip-On a heel padding durability score of 3 out of 5.

Vans Slip-On Heel padding durability
Test results
Slip-On 3
Average 3.4
Compared to 45 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Pressing our durometer against the Slip-On’s outsole gives us a reading of 83.3 HC. This is right on par with our current lab average which usually denotes a healthy mix of grip and durability, 

Vans Slip-On Outsole hardness
Test results
Slip-On 83.3 HC
Average 85.1 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 45 trainers
Number of shoes
72.9 HC
Outsole hardness
90.3 HC

Outsole durability

Last to face the chopping block and contend with our Dremel is the Slip-On’s outsole. This time spinning at 10K RPM, the tool’s grinding element eased its way through the outsole rubber like a hot knife through butter. 

Once the twenty-second test was up, we used a tire tread gauge to assess the damage and found that we had lopped off 1.65 mm of material. This is more than the average sneaker loses in this same test, making the Slip-On’s outsole less durable than expected. As such, we expect this shoe to start showing signs of wear and tear within 400 miles of normal use. This will be exacerbated by abrasive activities like skateboarding which will likely negatively impact the shoe’s longevity.

Vans Slip-On Outsole durability
Test results
Slip-On 1.6 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 45 trainers
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

Using our claiper, we measured the Slip-On’s outsole to be 5.5 mm thick which is right on par with our current lab average. 

Vans Slip-On Outsole thickness
Test results
Slip-On 5.5 mm
Average 5.5 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
3.4 mm
Outsole thickness
8.2 mm

Weight

Tipping the scale at 14.1 oz (400g), the Slip-On weighs about as much as the average sneaker. 

Vans Slip-On Weight
Test results
Slip-On 14.11 oz (400g)
Average 14.14 oz (401g)
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
8.54 oz (242g)
Weight
22.61 oz (641g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

We measured the Slip-On’s stack at only 18.7 mm, making it significantly shorter than our current lab average.

Vans Slip-On igrbiwegr

Having such a low profile gives us a very natural and intuitive sense of the ground below and makes walking around in this shoe feel like going barefoot while still having enough material underfoot for adequate impact dampening. 

Test results
Slip-On 18.7 mm
Average 30.0 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
18.2 mm
Heel stack
41.8 mm

Forefoot stack

Moving up to the forefoot, the Slip-On’s stack is only 12 mm thick, much shorter than our current lab average.

Vans Slip-On biuevirv

This further contributes to the shoe’s minimalist motif by keeping us low to the ground. 

Test results
Slip-On 12.0 mm
Average 19.1 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
10.6 mm
Forefoot stack
28.3 mm

Drop

The difference in our stack measurements leaves the Slip-On with a lower-than-average drop height of 6.7 mm.

Vans Slip-On hewkjlwe

This mild offset is quite versatile as it bridges the gap between those who prefer having an elevated heel and those who prefer a more parallel-to-the-ground experience. 

Test results
Slip-On 6.7 mm
Average 10.9 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
6.7 mm
Drop
17.2 mm

Insole thickness

The Slip-On’s insole is thicker than average at 8.6 mm according to our caliper measurements. This gives us an incredibly soft platform within the shoe that serves to soften our landings in lieu of a foam midsole. 

Vans Slip-On Insole thickness
Test results
Slip-On 8.6 mm
Average 5.5 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
3.1 mm
Insole thickness
13.9 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

With such a low-profile shoe, it’s no wonder that the Slip-On feels so incredibly well-planted as we shift our weight from side to side. 

Torsional rigidity

The Slip-On put up almost no resistance as we bent and twisted it in our hands, earning the shoe a torsional rigidity score of 1 out of 5. As such, the shoe feels extremely comfy as it puts up no resistance to the natural movements of our foot during our stride. 

Test results
Slip-On 1
Average 3.4
Compared to 45 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The Slip-On's heel counter is also extremely pliable, earning another 1 out of 5 in our manual assessment. This gives us an extremely unrestricted feeling at the heel as the shoe loosely holds our foot in place, making it feel quite easy on our tendons. On the other hand, this means that a swift kick can easily launch the shoe off and send it sailing through the air as it doesn't provide the most secure lockdown. 

Test results
Slip-On 1
Average 3.2
Compared to 45 trainers
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

According to our caliper measurements, the Slip-On’s midsole is 103.1 mm wide at the forefoot. This isn't quite as wide as our current lab average but didn’t negatively affect how stable we felt in the shoe. 

Vans Slip-On Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Slip-On 103.1 mm
Average 108.4 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
100.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
121.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Back at the heel, we found the Slip-On's midsole to be significantly narrower than average at only 71.8 mm thick. This, again, didn't present us with any problems while going about our day-to-day activities, and will only be an issue for those used to shoes with a more robust platform like the New Balance 574

Vans Slip-On Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Slip-On 71.8 mm
Average 82.8 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
69.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
103.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

The Slip-On is more flexible than the average sneaker, requiring only 10.7N of force to bend it to 90 degrees when secured to our workbench.

This level of flexibility contributes greatly to the comfy and forgiving nature of this shoe which pleasingly adapts to the natural movement of our foot during our stride. 

Vans Slip-On Stiffness
Test results
Slip-On 10.7N
Average 23.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
5.8N
Stiffness
51.8N

Grip / Traction

The Slip-On’s geometric tread pattern on the outsole provided us with great traction over a variety of surfaces. Only wet surfaces gave us some cause for concern while testing the shoe. 

Vans Slip-On vhjkev

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

We measured the Slip-On’s toebox to be 94.7 mm wide at its widest point. This is a little narrower than average and means that the shoe will likely feel a little too snug for those with wide feet. 

Vans Slip-On Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Slip-On 94.7 mm
Average 99.1 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
94.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
107.7 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

The Slip-On tapers quite significantly, becoming only 65.7 mm wide in the area around the big toe. This further confirms that this shoe is not well-suited for those with broad feet as they have little to no room to splay out within the shoe, making hotspots/blisters more of an inevitability than a chance. 

Vans Slip-On Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Slip-On 65.7 mm
Average 74.7 mm
Compared to 45 trainers
Number of shoes
63.7 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
82.7 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The Slip-On has a sock-like fit facilitated by the two elastic strips on either end of the instep. These stretch out easily which allows us to slide the shoe on with ease and tense back up to provide a somewhat secure lockdown.

Vans Slip-On ghgvhgm

While this holds the foot in place enough for day-to-day goings on, it doesn’t do well with more intense activities like running where the shoe feels like it’s going to go flying off with every stride. 

Test results
Slip-On Sock like

Comfort

Tongue padding

Since the Slip-On doesn’t feature a tongue per se, we measured the part of the upper above the instep and found it to be 1 mm thick according to our caliper. This is much less material around the instep than found in most shoes which certainly has a negative effect on the shoe’s foothold. 

Vans Slip-On Tongue padding
Test results
Slip-On 1.0 mm
Average 9.2 mm
Compared to 46 trainers
Number of shoes
1.0 mm
Tongue padding
38.4 mm

Removable insole

The glued insole means that the Slip-On isn't receptive to custom orthotics. 

Vans Slip-On Removable insole
Test results
Slip-On No

Misc

Reflective elements

The Slip-On doesn't feature any reflective elements. 

Vans Slip-On Reflective elements
Test results
Slip-On No