Are Vans Shoes Durable? (Here’s How Long They Last)

Vans are known for their vulcanized rubber soles and tough uppers. They are generally durable, but how long do Vans shoes actually last?

For casual use, Vans shoes can last between 2 to 4 years. However, if you wear them for skating, Vans shoes typically last between 2 to 12 months. The harder you skate and the more extreme tricks you do while wearing your Vans, the shorter their lifespan will be.

In some cases, Vans shoes can last for up to 5 years if they are cared for properly.

At the end of the day, it depends on what you do when you wear them. Let’s explore whether Vans shoes are durable or not, including tips on how to make them last longer.

Are Vans Shoes Durable?

Generally, Vans shoes are durable because of their vulcanized rubber soles and tough canvas or suede uppers. In fact, they need more time to break into than other sneakers.

However, how long a pair of Vans shoes lasts depends on how you wear them.

How Long Do Vans Last?

Since Vans sneakers are made for skateboarding, their vulcanized rubber soles and durable canvas uppers can withstand the grind of the skate park.

Their non-slip rubber outsoles provide excellent grip and do not wear out easily. But how long do Vans last? Let’s take a look at a couple of different scenarios.

Keep in mind, however, that how long a pair of Vans lasts will depend largely on how you use them and how often you wear them. Obviously, Vans shoes will wear out faster if you use them for skateboarding compared to wearing them casually.

Vans last between 2 to 12 months for skateboarding

For skateboarding, Vans may last you only a few months, especially if you do extreme flips and tricks. You will start to notice the front of the shoes disintegrating and developing toe holes.

In most cases, you should expect Vans shoes to last anywhere from 2 months to 12 months for skateboarding. How fast they wear out depends on the frequency of skating.

Unfortunately, all skateboarding shoes, whether they are made of canvas or not, will become shredded by the grip tape of a skateboard faster compared to normal use.

You should expect any grip-to-shoe contact, from the uppers to the soles, to suffer damage whether you are skating casually doing basic ollies, or performing extreme flips.

Some extreme skaters have told us that canvas Vans shoes can rip in one session of skating and 10 kickflips, so you should buy the suede version which is more durable.

Back in the day, skateboarding shoes were made with thick uppers to reduce damage to the shoes. However, that is not the case anymore because not only were they unfashionable, but because thick shoes can minimize board feel.

Today, modern skate shoes like Vans split the difference between stylish aesthetics and optimal board feel by striking the perfect balance of padding at the top. 

Vans last 6 to 10 months for mountain biking or cycling

In addition to skateboarding, some people wear Vans shoes for outdoor activities.

For mountain biking, a pair of Vans shoes should get you through a season (6 to 10 months). The rubber soles will have sustained some noticeable damage by then.

Some bike pedals have pins, which can tear Vans shoes into shreds pretty quickly. Additionally, riding with Vans on wet and muddy trails can reduce their lifespan quicker.

At the end of the day, Vans are casual skating shoes, which are different from cycling shoes.

Vans last at least a few years for casual purposes

If you are like most people, then you probably are going to wear Vans shoes for casual purposes. At most, you are going to walk all day while wearing your Vans.

If you are wearing Vans exclusively for walking and casual purposes, they should last between 2 to 4 years. You could expect to wear them for at least a year or two, without totally damaged sole separation and heel drags.

Some people suggest that the suede Vans last longer than the canvas version.

Vans can be worn for about 400 to 500 miles (643 to 800 km) before tearing. But if you lace them up properly, they can last longer because there’s less friction inside the shoes.

In short, Vans are quite durable, especially their vaults, pros, and other limited editions. The good news is, that you can make your Vans shoes last longer by applying a few simple tricks.

How to Make Vans Shoes Last Longer

While Vans shoes can last for several years, you can push them to the limits and make them last for a few more years. Here are three tips to make Vans shoes last longer:

1. Rotate them with other shoes

The simplest way to make your Vans shoes last longer is to rotate them. In other words, you don’t want to wear them every day and give them a day or two to rest.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Canvas and suede shoes, like Vans, need time to air out and recover their shape.

By wearing them once every other day, theoretically, you can double their lifespan because you are wearing them half of the time. This simple trick works, so don’t neglect it. 

2. Waterproof Vans shoes before wearing them

If you want to take it to another level and protect your Vans shoes even further, then it’s a good idea to waterproof them immediately after you have bought them.

Before going out wearing your Vans, waterproof them first. Since Vans shoes are not waterproof, an unexpected shower may ruin your new sneakers.

To make your Vans shoes waterproof, you can apply the Vans Water and Stain Shield, which is designed to add an invisible barrier that protects against moisture and stains.

You can also try other non-toxic waterproof sprays like this NANOMAN spray, which we have found to produce great results. They are also odorless, which is nice.

3. Store them with shoe trees

Last but not least, you should aim to store your Vans shoes properly. After skating or wearing your Vans shoes for a walk outside, it’s a good habit to store them properly using shoe trees.

The main purpose of shoe trees is to help maintain the shape of shoes while you are not wearing them. This also prevents creases from forming, prolonging the lifespan of the shoes.

Cedarwood shoe trees (buy on Amazon):

Some of the best shoe trees, like the one above, are made from US-grown aromatic red cedar. Not only do they help absorb moisture, but they provide a fresh cedar aroma.

Try storing all of your shoes, not just your Vans shoes, with shoe trees. You will be surprised that each and every pair of footwear you have will last longer.

Bottom Line

Now you know how durable Vans are and how long they last.

You can also add more years to your Vans Old Skools by rotating them with other shoes, waterproofing them immediately, and storing them with shoe trees.