Verdict from 100+ user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • Vans SK8-Hi sneakers go with almost any type of wardrobe including jeans, joggers, and leggings, according to some reviews.
  • Its style appeals to any generation, others have noted.
  • A considerable number of reviewers particularly love the combination of canvas and suede on the upper as it is well-made and the suede material is of decent quality.
  • In spite of its high-top, padded build, the Vans SK8-Hi is lightweight, some say.
  • Other reviews state that the SK8-Hi’s rubber outsole grips the floor no matter how wet and slippery the surface is.
  • Some confirm that the lining and padding on the high collar and under the tongue offer a fair amount of insulation which keeps the foot snug during the fall and winter months.
  • The affordable price point of this sneaker is one of the many reasons lots of buyers are lured to getting many pairs.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Others note that this shoe needs breaking-in before enjoying its comfort benefits. 
  • The suede color tends to leave stains on the Sidestripe and shoelaces, which according to some reviewers is not the case with other Vans sneakers.
  • Flat-footed buyers have issues with this sneaker as it lacks arch support.

Bottom line

Vans SK8-Hi, a taller version of the low-top Vans Old Skool, continues to attract the attention of consumers who simply prefer a practical and affordable vintage-looking sneaker for everyday use or to keep their feet warm and comfortable during the cold seasons. And while the number of these types of purchasers is growing by the day, Vans SK8-Hi sneakers continue to lure skateboarders who want reliable skate sneakers.

Tip: see the best sneakers.

Good to know

The Vans SK8-Hi sneaker is available in women’s and men’s sizes. Since it has a high-top collar, the shoe offers decent ankle protection and support. Loosening or tightening the laces will help in achieving a secure fit.

The iconic SK8-Hi is one of Vans’ most relevant styles today. With each of its design and collaboration possesses a style that distinguishes it from the others, it is no surprise that a large bracket of consumers is enticed to the high-top Vans SK8-Hi.

The high-top Vans SK8-Hi leans towards a classic look embellished with a noticeable Vans Sidestripe on the lateral and medial sides, usually done in contrasting colors. Perforations in the forefoot area between the double stitching are added for extra breathability.

Just like the equally iconic low-top Vans Old Skool, the SK8-Hi’s unisex style somehow encourages users to be creative or straightforward with their choice of clothing. Its high top form complements any pair of pants and jeans with tapered or pulled up hem, sporty joggers, and even dresses for the style-savvy women.

The focal point of the Vans SK8-Hi which maintains its high appeal in the market is its quilted canvas collar. This elevated portion of the upper is padded and offers protection on all sides of the ankle, which is favorable to those who use this sneaker for vigorous activities. Its high top feature adds pizzazz to a plain pair of trousers, jeans, and leggings. When the weather starts to get cold, its collar insulates the foot mainly on the lower shin and around the ankle.  

There are no concealed technologies within the shoe. However, the canvas material that covers the foot is breathable, and the added perforations in the toe enhance its ventilation. For budding and serious skaters, the thinly cushioned tongue and the barely padded footbed is a come-on. It allows them to feel the board underneath their feet which gives them better control of their movements.

The rubber outsole offers a good amount of grip with its hallmark waffle tread design, which keeps users steady, whether they are maneuvering on their skateboards or merely walking on slippery and wet grounds.

Trailing after the iconic sneaker Vans Old Skool is another key player in Vans’ team lineup, a high-top version called the Vans SK8-Hi. Like the Old Skool, this sneaker has ascended, wheeled, and rocked the world of skateboarders (and surfers), athletes on board and bikes, sneaker lovers, as well as artists, musicians, and even lifestyle designers all over the world since it appeared on the streets of California in 1978.

With striking resemblances to its low-top teammate, the Vans SK8-Hi rides along with the popularity of the Vans Old Skool. It is no surprise that these two figures remain among the much-sought celebrities of Vans. The only noticeable difference comes from Vans SK8-Hi’s elevated quilted collar design. Other than that, this sneaker, formerly called the Style 38, maintains the trademark Vans Sidestripe logo on the side panels, suede overlays on the forefoot and heel, and the so-called unrivaled sticky rubber outsole with a deliciously looking waffle tread pattern.

  A skater’s best friend

This sneaker was introduced in the mid-1970s, a period when skateboarding was gaining its speed in the market. It was the era when surfers and adventurous youth were fast turning into this street diversion. Clad in their casual tees and rugged pants, they rode the streets on wooden decks with wheels. The growing number of skateboarding enthusiasts readily accepted the padded feature offered by the Vans SK8-Hi's high ankle collar design.

Soon enough, this sneaker became a must-have gear for most skateboarders learning the ropes of ollieing and amateur ones who are bored of the basic tricks and wanted to fly off the wall. The padded collar of the Vans SK8-Hi is its supreme asset that helps minimize direct blows around the ankle. Hardly surprising, such an element made this sneaker a staple commodity among skateboarders and stunt-loving BMX riders.

The 1980s era contributed to some of the developments that made Vans SK8-Hi a newsmaker on and off skateboarding. It was the time when self-expression and power dressing was widely tolerated, and the Vans SK8-Hi was subjected to this. Its classic upper design became a favorite canvas for customization with a lot of Vans enthusiasts putting their imprints onto their SK8-Hi’s.

  Skate shoe turned wardrobe staple

The growing appeal of the Vans SK8-Hi continued towards the succeeding decades. In the mid-1990s, Vans welcomed partnerships with other retailers, and this opened bigger avenues for its major models. The link-ups became a channel for fashion influencers to reintroduce Vans as more than merely an activewear. But a regular wardrobe staple tapping a wide range of consumers – from those who adore laidback and sporty styles to those who fancy haute couture.

With nearly four decades of actively participating in sports and fashion scenes, the Vans SK8-Hi maintains its presence in the market. So far, it has gone through multiple wardrobe changes as over 100 collaborative works were created out of this iconic high-top sneaker. This includes link-ups with prominent names and labels from Marc Jacobs, Steve Caballero, Henry Rollins, Bones Bridges, Supreme, Thrasher, Niagara, Stüssy, Pendleton to cinematic and TV franchises such as Bruce Lee, Disney, and Nickelodeon.

  • The Vans SK8-Hi comes with an extra pair of laces.
  • Vans Sk8-Hi’s popularity reached the stars as several celebrities are seen clad in different variations of this high-top. Those who were spotted wearing the classic black and white are Kristen Stewart, Brandi Cyrus, Logan Wade Lerman, while Bella Thorne sported a red version.
  • Kyle Jenner, Haley Baldwin, Chris Pine, and Olivia Wilde wore the Vans SK8-Hi Slim.
  • Justin Bieber was seen wearing different styles of the Vans SK8-Hi, which includes the collaboration model, Fear of God x Vans SK8-Hi.
  • Lucy Hale was caught on cam with a Vans Premium Leather SK8-Hi Reissue in the OG colorway, while Gillian Jacobs in Vans SK8-Hi Decon.


How Vans SK8-Hi ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 11% sneakers
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Top 26% Vans sneakers
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Top 18% high sneakers
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The current trend of Vans SK8-Hi.
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Sheena is a wordsmith turned sneaker addict. Her sneaker fixation intensified as her passion for writing grew. A hands-on mom of two sweet yet spunky kids (plus three dogs and two cats), she finds solitude in leafing through shoe catalogs to find the next "it" sneaker. Scrutinizing hugely popular and underrated kicks is her favorite pastime.