Are vans good for running

If you’re a runner searching for your next pair of running shoes, you may have wondered – can I run in my trusty pair of Vans? The iconic skater shoes brand is known for their stylish slip-on and lace-up shoes with canvas or suede uppers and rubber waffle outsoles.

And while the off-the-wall company didn’t design their kicks specifically for logging miles, some runners do like to take their Vans out on the road or trail.

So should you run in Vans? Can these casual sneakers actually work for running or are you better off with specialized running shoes? I’ll cover the pros and cons of running in Vans and things to consider if you want to take your pair for a jog.

Examining Different Types of Vans for Running

With the many varieties of Vans available, some styles hold up better for running than others. Important features to evaluate include weight, traction, flexibility, and support.

Old Skools and Slip-Ons

The iconic checkerboard slip-ons and simple low-top Old Skools allow your foot to move freely but lack structure and stability for longer mileage. The thin, flat materials also don’t provide much cushioning from the pounding of the pavement over time. However, the grippy waffle soles do lend decent traction for casual runs.

Era and Authentic

The low profile Era and Authentic styles offer breathable canvas uppers but again, little stability, structure, or cushioning for logging long miles. However, their flexible construction allows natural foot movement for short, casual runs.

Sk8-Hi Platform and SK8-Hi

The high-top construction of the Sk8-Hi Platform and regular SK8-Hi improves ankle support and stability compared to low-top options. The extra height also means more cushioning and shock absorption. But the heavier, bulkier silhouette may feel less nimble at faster paces.


Arguably the best suited for running, UltraRange models feature enhanced midsole cushioning and grippy lugged outsoles built for multi-surface traction. Strategic mesh panels offer ventilation where you need it. While the snugger fit offers a touch more support, these still prioritize flexibility and low weight over hardcore stability.

Pros and Cons of Running in Non-Running Shoes

Running in shoes built for other activities like skating comes with some caveats. While it might work in a pinch, understand the pros and cons of taking your Vans out for a run.


  • Flexible and allow natural foot motion
  • Grippy traction from waffle or lugged outsoles
  • Lightweight and improve speed
  • Trendy aesthetic; stylish off running trails


  • Lack of structure/stability heightens injury risk
  • Minimal to no cushioning can strain joints
  • Poor shock absorption and hard midsoles
  • Mesh upper won’t wick sweat as effectively
  • Not designed to accommodate orthotics or support features that runners might require

Tips for Choosing the Right Vans Model for Running

While performance running shoes remain the top choice for logging high mileage, runners looking to take their Vans out for a short spin can set themselves up for success with a smart selection process.

Here are a few tips for picking the best Vans shoes to run in:

Prioritize cushioning – Seek out UltraRange or other cushioned options to soften impact.

Choose bigger sizes – Size up a half or full size from your regular Vans size to allow room for foot swelling on the run.

Look for secure lacing – Lace-up Vans help dial in the right fit and prevent in-shoe slipping that can lead to blisters.

Consider higher tops – Extra ankle support promotes stability and can aid weak ankles.

Inspect traction – embryo ensure durable, grippy outsoles, especially if you plan to take them off-road.

Break them in – Take new Vans out for short walks first to stretch them out before running.

SomeFinal Thoughts on Running in Vans

At the end of the day, while it’s possible to run in Vans, the fact remains that they simply aren’t constructed with the demanding biomechanics of logging miles in mind. So serious runners likely want to steer clear of subbing them in for their trusty running shoes on a regular basis.

However, for those looking to take their stylish Vans out for a quick 5K path run or using them as lightweight hiking shoes to summit their next peak, it can absolutely be done. Just listen to your body, transition slowly, and not push the distance or speed too aggressively too soon.

Happy running…in your Vans if you so choose! And don’t forget, there’s no wrong way to rock your favorite pair — however you choose to wear them.

Frequently Asked Questions about Running in Vans

If you’re considering taking your Vans out on your next run, you probably still have some questions. Here I’ll tackle some frequently asked questions about running in this casual canvas footwear brand.

What is the most supportive Vans shoe for running?

The UltraRange style offers the most cushioning and support of any Vans models thanks to its lightweight foam midsoles and structured yet flexible feel that still allows natural motion. Strategically reinforced stability zones in high wear areas also lend support right where you need it.

How far can you run in Vans?

While some hardcore runners have logged marathon distances in Vans, it’s not generally recommended. These casual shoes lack the structure, stability and shock absorption to protect joints and prevent injury over so many pavement pounding miles.

If you want to take Vans out on a short 5K run or hike occasionally that’s one thing, but we’d caution against making them your regular long run kicks.

Do Vans have enough arch support for running?

While it depends a bit on your individual foot needs and running style, Vans tend to have minimal arch support by running shoe standards. Most silhouettes use thin, flat insoles and lightweight materials that favor flexibility over pronounced arch reinforcement.

If you tend to severely overpronate, you’ll likely want to stick with more structured running shoes better suited to providing arch-bolstering support.

Are UltraRange Vans good running shoes?

Of the Vans lineup, UltraRange comes closest to the needs of runners thanks to its enhanced midsole cushioning, deeper lugs for trail traction, and lightweight breathable construction. While still not quite performance running shoe territory, UltraRange models can make solid options for casual jogs and the occasional short run.

Should you run in skate shoes?

While skate-inspired shoes prioritize boardfeel, flex, and grip essential for cruising, these features also appeal in a running shoe designed for comfortable natural motion. And skaters do log plenty of miles hoofing across concrete.

But with running you need enhanced stride-cushioning protection too. So quality skate shoes like Vans make okay options for short runs but probably not marathon training partners.

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