Verdict from +100 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • Several reviewers commended the padded collars and ankle support of the Vans Half Cab that remains protective of the feet when skating and doing other active sports.
  • An overwhelming majority of skaters hail the pioneering design and features of the Half Cab as the ‘best skate shoe ever produced.’
  • Majority of the users commented that it is an often underrated skate shoe despite its fantastic grip on the board allowing many skaters to do amazing tricks and jumps.
  • Many wearers of the skate pump say that the sneaker has enough wiggle room for the toes. 
  • A good number of buyers like this mid-top skate shoe for its stylish silhouette and various colorways that suit their moods and choices.
  • Aside from being a skate shoe, the Half Cab is a versatile sneaker that can blend easily with a wide range of outfits.
  • A significant number of buyers say they will recommend the Vans Half Cab to other customers and would not hesitate to give this kick as a gift.
  • Numerous purchasers find the pricing of the classic sneaker reasonable and budget-friendly.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Some loyal buyers of Vans Half Cab are disappointed that the newer materials used in the upper tend to fall apart quickly compared to those constructed some 10 to 15 years ago.
  • A few users commented they hardly feel the cushioned insoles that their feet ached after the ground impact when using the shoe in jumps and tricks.
  • A significant number of buyers felt uncomfortable wearing the shoe due to poor arch support.
  • A couple of users noted that the suede material stains rapidly.

Bottom line

The Vans Half Cab is a favorite among skaters as its street-ready looks are equipped with protection and support features that can muster crazy jumps and tricks.

The mid-top is worth considering if you are a pro skater and a casual sneaker lover. It would not be called the ‘best skate shoe ever produced’ by some respected members of the skating community if not for its impressive features.   

Tip: see the best sneakers.

Good to know

The Vans Half Cab has a mid-top silhouette kept on a secure lockdown by traditional lace-up.  With a padded collar, tongue, and footbed, the shoe cushions the feet for a comfortable skating experience. The iconic sneaker runs true to size and has a medium width offered for men and women. 

Since the release of the Half Cab, it has been openly embraced by the skating community with so much respect that it is often dubbed ‘the best skating shoe ever produced.’ This respect for the legendary silhouette is evident in the longevity of the model in Vans’ catalog. For more than 25 years, the Half Cab has been a mainstay in line with various iterations from new colorways, combinations, and collaborations with professional skaters, artists, retailers, and celebrities.

The mid-top profile of the sneaker, vulcanized waffle sole, and suede material remained famous among the skating circles that wearing them means that you belong. The shoe is best paired with jeans and shorts for an on-the-go look. While it is not as stylish and famous as the Authentic, Era or Old Skool, the avid skater fans of this silhouette have kept it as their fashion staple up to this day. Over the years, from the skating community, the Half Cab has slowly transitioned into a fashionable lifestyle sneaker that is perfect for casual outings and travel.

Always ready for a round of street, park, vert, or downhill skating, the Vans Half-Cab’s most notable feature is its mid-top silhouette that gave wearers freedom of movement to do their jumps and tricks. The design made by skaters for skaters featured double-stitched suede uppers, reinforced toecaps to withstand repeated wear, and padded collars for support and flexibility on top of the high-grip rubber waffle outsoles.

The creation of the Vans Half Cab is a result of the brand’s keen eye for innovation by adapting to the needs of the skateboarding community. The first signature skate shoe produced is the Vans Steve Caballero released in 1988. Caballero, the former member of Stacey Peralta’s Bones Brigade, was tapped by Vans to wear the padded high-top Caballero shoe. As the first signature skate shoe, the Cab initially gained success with its superior cushioning and protection features for the feet.

However, over a few years the company and Caballero, himself, noticed that the high-top kick was modified by some skaters who wanted more freedom of movement when doing their jumps. Caballero saw that his pro skating shoe was often cut and slashed at the collar and duct-taped by skateboarders to perform better quick flip tricks.

Seeing this need, Caballero collaborated again with Vans in coming up with the bestselling and often dubbed “best skate shoe ever produced,” the Half Cab. Long-time Vans designer and employee Bunny Caminiti came up with a layered collar particularly in the upper while the design was also called Style 33.

The legendary skater also configured the mid-top to have suede uppers with double stitching for enhanced durability, a vulcanized waffle outsole, and padded collar.  

The Caballero patch at the side panel was replaced by a Half-Cab wording stitched with an image of Steve Caballero performing the half-cab or backside trick. The original black colorway of the Half Cab became a mainstay in the brand’s catalog after becoming an instant hit and a classic kick revered by the skating community up to this day. A few years later, other colorways of the heritage skate shoe were introduced providing more styling options for its wearers.

In 2005, Vans teamed up with another pro-skater Scott Kane for a second signature skate shoe the Cab low or the low-top version. In 2007, the Half Cab Pro was released with professional skating in mind. The Half Cab Pro had an improved insole and outsole and upper using only premium materials and often preferred by hard-core skateboarding enthusiasts.

  • Aside from legendary skater Steve Caballero and American professional skater Bam Margera, other celebrities who have been spotted wearing the Half Cab include Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Kendall Schmidt, Hutch Dano, Dylan Sprouse, and Cole Sprouse.
  • The sneaker has a durable rubber outsole with waffle tread pattern for superior grip and traction.
  • Double stitching in the suede upper ensures durability and quality construction preventing the shoe from breaking apart.


How Vans Half Cab ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 37% sneakers
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Bottom 32% Vans sneakers
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Bottom 42% mid sneakers
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The current trend of Vans Half Cab.
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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.