Do Vans Shoes Stretch Over Time As You Wear Them?

Whether you accidentally bought a pair of Vans shoes that are too tight, or you are simply trying to break into them, many Vans wearers ask the question: do Vans shoes stretch out?

Vans shoes don’t actually “stretch” literally, but the canvas and suede uppers will soften and become more flexible over time, making them feel “wider”. The tough rubber soles will also conform to your feet, becoming more comfortable over time.

That said, it’s important to choose a pair of Vans that are correct in size.

Any pair of sneakers that are too small or too big will cause discomfort. In this post, let’s explore whether or not Vans shoes stretch out, including simple hacks to loosen the shoes.

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Do Vans Shoes Stretch Over Time?

A common misconception about Vans shoes is that the shoes are believed to stretch after you’ve broken into the shoes. So, do Vans shoes actually stretch over time?

Vans shoes do not “stretch” over time, but the materials, including the rubber soles and the canvas uppers, will loosen up with time, making them “feel wider”.

According to several Vans store workers, materials like suede will loosen up the most, followed by canvas, and then leather. The “stretching effect” will happen on to the top of your feet (where the laces are), and around your ankle.

It’s no secret that Vans need time to break into.

They are super uncomfortable in the beginning, but as you wear them over time, the materials will soften and the sneakers will become much more pleasant, especially after the toe creases a little.

Vans will naturally loosen over time.

There are two “wedges” of elastic material on the sides of the tongue that are designed to hold your feet securely in place. They should feel snug and tight at first because their job is to keep their feet inside the shoes.

Fortunately, as the Vans “stretch” and loosen, they become much more comfortable because the materials have loosened, especially if you wear them often.

Remember, the idea that you can stretch a pair of Vans and make it bigger is partially incorrect. Sure, they feel wider, but that’s due to the materials loosening up over time.

So if you’re considering a new pair of Vans, here are some important questions surrounding the fit of Vans sneakers, answered: 

1. Why do Vans hurt the top of my foot?

If you feel like your Vans are hurting the top of your foot, then you are probably irritating the nerve on top of the instep of your shoes.

Some people with a high foot arch can also experience rubbing against the tongue, pinching the nerve, and causing burning pain.

According to Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texasa quick fix to this problem is to loosen the laces of your shoes. “Stretching” your Vans may also help.

In most cases, wearing your Vans a few times, or wearing them on and off for several weeks should make the shoes mold around the shape of your feet.

2. How can I “stretch” out my Vans?

The quickest and easiest way to “stretch” out your Vans shoes is to wear thick socks, which not only protect your feet from the tough materials but help loosen the shoes as well.

Alternatively, shoe stretchers can expand the length and width of your Vans.

Here are some of the simplest tricks you can do to stretch your Vans shoes explained in greater detail, whether they’re a pair of the signature Old Skools or the iconic Slip-Ons.

Wear Thick Socks

The first, and arguably the easiest, way to loosen up a pair of Vans is to wear thick socks.

Thick socks work in two ways. First, they cushion your feet from the tough materials of the sneakers. Second, they help expand the Vans so the materials “stretch” and loosen faster. 

Once you’ve put on the thickest pair of socks you have, it’s a good idea to tie your Vans shoelaces normally, ensuring that they are not overly tight.

Since they may not be comfortable at first, you should aim to rotate your new Vans with other sneakers you have throughout the week. This allows the Vans the opportunity to loosen while keeping your feet happy at the same time. Just don’t forget the thick socks!

Use Shoe Stretchers

Another great method to “stretch” your Vans shoes quicker is to use shoe stretchers.

Shoe stretchers can expand both the length and width of your shoes, as well as stretch certain areas to fit the unique shape of your feet better.

In fact, not only do the best shoe expanders have 4-way stretching (which can stretch the length to make shoes larger and stretch the width to make shoes wider), they have 8 bunion plugs to help enlarge specific areas.

Shoe stretcher (buy on Amazon):

Fortunately, top-quality shoe stretchers, like the one above, are very easy to use.

All you have to do is turn the metal handle clockwise to stretch the shoe’s width, then turn the wheel knob clockwise to stretch the shoe’s length.

Ideally, you should allow 24-48 hours for the shoe stretchers to work their magic. Using a shoe widener, your overly-tight Vans will become roomier sooner rather than later.

3. Should Vans be tight or loose?

Ideally, Vans should not be too tight or too loose, especially the Slip-On Vans.

They should feel snug, but not painful. A well-fitted pair of Vans should have some heel slip but should hug your feet securely like gloves.

Initially, Vans sneakers will feel a little snug overall.

That is okay because you want them to feel that way when they’re new and when you first put them on. As you wear a new pair of Vans, the canvas and suede uppers will soften and relax a bit.

Vans shoes that are too large will cause your heels to slip up and down, which may cause painful heel blisters due to the constant rubbing. You wouldn’t want that now, would you?

Remember, a good rule of thumb when buying a new pair of Vans is if they slide easily when you get them, then they would probably feel too big and rub your heels and ankles once they loosen, which may be very uncomfortable.

4. How are Vans supposed to fit?

Generally, laced sneakers like the Old Skool Vans fit true to size. However, similar to loafers, Slip-On Vans tend to run large, which means that you may need to size down by ½ because they are narrower and are meant for a snugger fit.

Slip-On Vans do not have laces, so they rely on a snug fit to keep them from slipping.

It’s always better to have slightly tight Vans because they will adjust to your feet over time. If your Vans are way too big, they will only feel bigger.

Bottom Line

And there you have it, the answer to the question: do Vans shoes stretch over time? 

Now you know that Vans sneakers should feel snug in the beginning. In fact, they can be very uncomfortable at first. But as time goes by, they will loosen and become more friendly to your feet. You can wear thick socks and use shoe stretchers to “stretch” your Vans faster.

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