In short: Vans are just for show and aesthetics – not made to take the pounding from running. Running shoes are made to help cushion the blow when the foot hits the ground.
So you’re looking to build a running habit. You look at your closet and find a pair of Old Skool Vans and wonder: are Vans shoes actually good for running?
Vans Classics and Originals are not good for running because they have flat soles, which do not absorb much impact. Long term, they can make your runs inefficient and strain your joints. Vans shoes also have poor flexibility and breathability for running.
However, Vans do have athletic shoes which may be suitable for running. But are they better than the typical running shoes? Let’s explore whether Vans are good for running or not.
Are Vans Shoes Good For Running?
When people wonder whether Vans shoes are good for running or not, they are typically talking about skate shoes (Old Skool, Era, and Authentics).
Here are 4 reasons why Vans Classics and Originals are bad shoes for running:
1. Vans have little to no cushioning
Did you know that each time you take a stride and land, your foot has to absorb two to three times your body weight? This repeated impact is different from other sports.
Running shoes are equipped with some sort of foam material in the midsole, designed to cushion the runner from the impact each time your foot strikes the ground.
Sadly, Vans have no cushioning in the midsole (between the outsole and upper). They fall flat and do not absorb much impact, which may make your runs inefficient and strain your joints.
Sure, you can run a day or two while wearing Vans, but you won’t be able to run comfortably day in and day out. You would also have a higher chance of overuse injury.
Remember, wearing running shoes with excellent cushioning in both the heel and forefoot is important to handle the impact while you are running.
If you plan on running three times a week or more, wear running shoes, not Vans.
2. Poor breathability
Another reason why Vans are not good for running is because of poor breathability in the upper (everything above the sole). Basically, they can make your feet sweat more.
Most of the popular Vans shoe models are made of either canvas or suede. They are ideal for skateboarding because they can withstand scrapes, but they provide little to no airflow.
The uppers of running shoes are often made with layers of fabrics and mesh sewn and glued together. Not only are they lightweight, but they allow your feet to breathe during runs.
Vans shoes, on the other hand, may trap heat inside the shoes while you run. Not only is running in non-breathable shoes not comfortable, but they can produce a bad foot odor.
3. Vans do not have flexibility in the right places
In addition to offering poor breathability, the canvas and suede upper of Vans shoes do not provide flexibility in the right places, which are paramount for running movements.
Running shoes are flexible because they have flex grooves and toe springs.
To make a shoe bend like your foot bends, many running shoes use grooves under the ball of the foot. Turning the toe up, called toe spring, or cutting away the midsole into a rocker pattern also allows the foot to roll through the stride.
Vans shoes, on the other hand, are very stiff and have little to no give at the top and the bottom. In fact, they are so stiff that you need some time to break into them.
Ideally, you would want to wear running shoes that flex or roll the way your feet want to move—at the pace for which you’ll be using the shoes.
4. Poor heel security
Last but not least, Vans shoes are bad running shoes because of their poor heel security. There are two things to look for in terms of heel security: ankle collar and heel counter.
First, the ankle collar. It is the wrap at the top of the shoe opening that holds the heel down in place. Some shoes use thick padding while others have a sock-like fit.
Pay attention to whether your heel slips or not.
Ideally, you also don’t want the back of a shoe to irritate your Achilles tendon. You also need to make sure the padding is comfortable on the bones on the side of your ankles.
Unfortunately, Vans shoes provide poor heel security and often cause heel slip, which may lead to painful heel blisters. This is especially true for their slip-on shoes.
Second, you need to make sure the heel counter is comfortable. You would want a semi-rigid cup that cradles and supports your heel, while still allowing ankle motion.
Vans shoes do not provide good motion control due to their stiff uppers.
Vans (Maybe) Have Shoes Good For Running
The three most popular Vans shoe models are the Authentic, Era, and Old Skool. They are best worn for skating. However, Vans have developed other shoes over the years.
The Vans EVDNT UltimateWaffle are designed as athletic shoes, equipped with UltraCush™ insoles and internal stabilizing shank for more cushioning, durability, and support.
On top of the soles, the shoes have sleek uppers featuring breathable knitted mesh, leather overlays, and rubber accent pieces to provide a formed and stylish fit.
In short, this particular Vans shoe has all the makings of a casual running shoe.
Both the Vans UltraRange Rapidweld and EXO are comfortable everyday sneakers that can be used for casual running and walking. They have better cushioning than Vans Classic and Original, and are more lightweight too.
So, if you are a die-hard fan of Vans, and you feel the need to run in them, then your best bet is to wear the Vans UltraRange or the Vans EVDNT UltimateWaffle.
However, we recommend you to invest in a pair of running shoes if you have the means. Running in proper running shoes is better for your body and health in, long term.
FAQ on Vans and Running
Since there are plenty of questions surrounding running, jogging, and doing cardio while wearing Vans, we would do our best to answer the most frequently asked questions.
We will add new ones, so bookmark this page if it is interesting for you.
1. Are Vans shoes good for cardio?
Whether Vans are good for cardio or not depends on what type of cardio you do.
Vans shoes should be fine for equipment-based cardio which are static and do not involve running motions, like a stationary bike or rowing machine.
But, Vans shoes may not be ideal for cardio exercises that involve running motions, like running on the treadmill or using the elliptical machine.
Short term, you would not see the effects of doing cardio with Vans, but long term, they can make your runs inefficient and strain your joints because they do not absorb much impact.
2. Can you run in Vans shoes?
Technically, you can run in Vans shoes.
You can even run barefoot if you want. But, running or jogging in Vans shoes can hurt your feet because they are very flat shoes, have no cushioning, and do not absorb much impact.
There are Vans UltraRange, which may offer support and cushion for running. But if you’re talking about the Vans Classics and Originals for running, then it’s probably not the best idea.