Why Are Vans So Hard To Put On? (Here’s the Solution)

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a pair of Vans Old Skool or Sk8-Hi, it may seem like your feet have trouble getting into Vans shoes. But why are Vans shoes so hard to put on?

In addition to its stiff canvas/suede uppers, Vans shoes are so hard to put on because they do not have loops at the back of the heel. Wearing socks and using a shoehorn can help you put on Vans shoes without much effort and pain.

Sometimes, not loosening the laces can also make it difficult for you to put on your Vans shoes. In this post, we will show you three simple tricks to put on Vans easily.

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Why Are Vans So Hard to Put On?

Vans shoes are so hard to put on because there are no loops at the back, the canvas/suede material is tough, and because you may not be wearing socks.

Here are the three reasons explained in greater detail:

1. Absence of loops at the back

The biggest reason why Vans shoes are so hard to put on is due to the absence of loops on the back of the heel area. These loops are also known as bootstrap or pull tabs.

Shoes with pull tabs allow you to pull on the loops with your finger, helping your foot slide inside a shoe effortlessly, without having to step on the heel counter. 

Without the loop, you may damage the heel counter as you struggle to wear the shoe.

Notice the tiny loop on the back of the shoes. It is designed to help you hold on to the heel counter as your foot slide inside. Vans do not have this.

Unlike most athletic shoes and sneakers, unfortunately, Vans do not have bootstraps at the back of the heel area, making it more difficult to wear the shoes.

2. Toughness of the canvas/suede material

Another reason why Vans shoes are so hard to put on is because of their material. Unlike soft and cushioned shoes, Vans shoes are made of tough canvas/suede at the top.

Vans shoes will always be harder to put on than most shoes, even after a year or two, not because the opening is small, but because the canvas/suede is built that way.

The stiff material is not a flaw, since it is needed to withstand the wear and tear of skating. Not only do you need time to break into them, but they will not conform to your feet easily.

3. Not wearing socks

If you have had the experience of going to a shoe store to try a pair of shoes, then you know how difficult it is to slip into some shoes without wearing socks.

When your feet are damp and sweaty, it can be difficult to slip into a pair of Vans. Socks are not only designed to wick moisture, but they make it easy to put on your shoes.

Instead of the canvas/suede sliding onto a piece of sock fabric smoothly, the material has to rub against your skin (which is not smooth), just to let your feet inside the shoes.

While you can unlace some Vans shoes, you would have a hard time slipping into a pair of Slip-On Vans when you are not wearing socks, since they rely on a laceless snug fit.

How to Put on Vans Shoes Effortlessly

To put on Vans shoes effortlessly, you can loosen the laces all the way through, or use a shoehorn to slip into them. Wearing socks can also help slide into Vans shoes easily.

Here are the three solutions explained further:

1. Loosen the laces all the way through

Most Vans shoes come with long laces. If you are trying to put on Vans Authentic, Era, Old Skool, or Sk8-Hi, try to loosen the laces all the way through.

Loosening the laces all the way to the bottom should make it easier to put on your Vans sneakers since the tongues are lifted and the shoes can accommodate more room.

This also preserves the uppers, since the canvas/suede material does not have to go through the struggle of having to rub against your feet.

But, if you have the Slip-On Vans (the ones without laces), you need a different method…

2. Use a shoehorn to slip into Vans

The best thing you can do to put on Vans shoes easily is to use a shoehorn. Not only will your feet slide into the shoes effortlessly, but the canvas/suede will not be damaged too.

A shoehorn is a tool used to help your foot glide easily into any shoe.

Also known as a shoe-spooner, the tool basically provides a smooth ramp that pulls back the heel of your shoe, stopping it from snagging your ankle as you slide your foot in.

Shoe horns are typically used for dress shoes, like loafers and oxfords, which rely on a snug fit. It won’t allow your heel to crush the top of the heel counter when the foot is inserted.

Some people will find that using a shoehorn allows them to put any shoe on without having to untie the laces, which is perfect for laceless shoes, like Slip-On Vans.

Short shoehorn (buy on Amazon)

Long shoehorn (buy on Amazon)

A short shoehorn is perfect for travel, while a long shoe horn is ideal if you have trouble bending.

Whichever you choose, both short and long shoe horns will help you slip into your Vans shoes without pinching or bulging; even with wide feet.

3. Always wear socks

Last but not least, always wear socks with your Vans.

While the appeal of wearing socks is debatable, one thing is certain: wearing socks can help you put on Vans shoes easier since the upper is not rubbing against your skin.

Not only would you be able to slide into Vans shoes easily, but socks can also protect your skin from rubbing and chafing, which would eventually lead to painful blisters.

Whether you are trying to put on laced or laceless Vans, wearing socks will help.

Bottom Line

Now you know why Vans shoes are so hard to put on.

Since they do not have bootstraps (loops at the back), Vans shoes are trouble to put on. However, using a shoehorn while also wearing socks can make it easier.