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Are Vans Good for Running?

Vans are popular in the skating community, but are they fit for running?

Vans are popular in the skating community, but are they fit for running?

Trying to buy a good pair of running shoes? Then the sheer number of brands to pick from can be a headache:

  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Puma
  • Asics
  • New Balance
  • Skechers

The list goes on, and on, and on. One brand that does not come up too much in the discussion regarding running, though, is Vans.

Are Vans Comfortable Running Shoes?

While they are regarded as a sporting footwear brand due to their association with skating, there is little association with running. So, with that in mind, you might wonder are Vans good for running?

The short answer is probably no—certainly for extended periods—but we will take a look at the question in a little more detail to help you work out what you are buying and whether or not this is going to be a good investment for you in terms of foot comfort overall.

The Cost of Running Shoes

It is easy to see why you might look at Vans for running: They are more affordable. Look at even basic, generic running shoes and you could be looking at well in excess of $100 to buy them.

Add in the fact that if you run on the regular then your shoes will be wasted in 6–12 months, and you need to spend a lot on replacements. Over a period of months, you could be spending well over $200 just keeping a pair of quality running shoes on your feet!

By contrast, though, Vans are far more affordable. Most people will look to pick up Vans as they come with a sporting pedigree. They are comfortable. They are stylish. They are low profile. They are durable, and they are affordable!

But are they good for running? Sadly, the answer is almost certainly going to be in the negative. Let’s take a look at why that is so that you can understand why Vans for running is not the best idea you have ever had.


The first and main reason is the weight. Vans are not lightweight shoes, at least compared to most running shoes. Running shoes tend to feel like you are wearing a pair of socks in comparison to normal shoes. They are almost weightless. Vans, by contrast, have a bit more depth and bulk to them—even the sleeker, lower profile pairs. A classic pair of Vans can weigh in excess of 2 lbs, whereas you might find that your typical running shoes weigh a good bit less than half of that. If not more!

So, in terms of weight alone, Vans are not a good running shoe. Yes, some argue that heavier shoes will see your muscles work harder and thus grow faster. But for runners who are looking to build stamina and endurance, it can be hard to get any progress when your shoes are causing you such a needless hindrance.

If you wear heavier shoes, too, you typically need to run using your heels. This is not good for your running posture, and can even have a negative impact on your back and your knees.

Shock Absorption

Good running shoes also tend to be great for absorbing shock on your feet as you run around the place. The more absorption that you can get, the better. However, Vans are not designed with this in mind. Again, the skateboard history of Vans means they are very firm on the bottom. This means that you can get more force with your pushing on the board.

That extra force, though, is not a good thing for a skater. You want as much shock absorption as you can get as you run, with running putting a huge amount of stress on the soles of your feet. Running can cause you to see a lot of injuries to ligaments when carried out incorrectly. As such, running demands that you support your feet with the right kind of setup immediately.


The other main reason to avoid Vans for running is the lack of arch support. Running shoes should do everything they can to give your foot arches a lot of support. Without that support, you are going to really feel the discomfort quickly into your run. Shoes without arch support are fine for skateboarding, but they are not really a good choice for someone undertaking the up-and-down action of running regularly.

Why? Because Vans simply do not offer any kind of support. Without having arch support for your feet as you run, you tend to get a lot of pain in your feet over time. It can lead you to various problems down the line; just because people used to run barefoot centuries ago does not mean it’s a great idea now!

We have designed shoes with arch support for a good reason. Running shoes come with arch support for a purpose, basically. The fact that Vans cannot give you that same support makes it easy to run into more than a few problems down the line.

If you have flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or any of these common foot injury issues, then you need to have support on your arches. Arch-free Vans tend to be more or less anathema to a good runner, as the pain and discomfort build even with a few yards of your run starting. Unless you want to endure needless pain, you want shoes with arch supports.

Should You Wear Vans for Running?

The quick answer is no. Vans for running is not a good idea for the reasons listed above. The lack of support, the lack of protection for your feet, and the lack of weight balance make them a pretty poor choice for a runner.

Should runners own a pair of Vans? Yes, for everything from skateboarding to nights out to look good. As a pair of shoes for the actual sporting event of running, though? It is not a good idea. There are simply too many changes to a pair of Vans compared to even basic running shoes that it would not be a good idea.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Carlyn Hayes