Are Vans UltraRange Good for Running?

With the rise of athletic leisure shoes that can pull double duty for various activities, more people are wondering if their casual Vans sneakers can work for running.

Specifically, Vans UltraRange shoes have gained attention as potential running shoes given their lightweight construction, Ortholite insoles, and grippy tread. But are UltraRanges actually viable for pounding the pavement?

Let’s take an in-depth look at whether Vans UltraRange sneakers can hold up to the repetitive impacts of running and how their performance compares to true running shoes.

UltraRange Key Features and Components

First, let’s outline some of the main features and components of Vans UltraRange shoes:

  • Uppers: Combination of canvas, mesh, and suede or leather depending on the style. This allows good ventilation and flexible wear.
  • Lightweight construction: Weighs around 20 oz on average.
  • Low profile soles: Thin and flexible rubber sole unit aimed for boardfeel and mobility.
  • Grippy waffle-pattern outsole: Inspired by Vans’ skate shoe treads for traction across various surfaces.
  • EVA midsoles: Shock-absorbent cushioning foam. Some styles also include UltraCush insoles for additional comfort.
  • Ortholite insoles: Moisture-wicking insoles with antimicrobial properties to control odor.

Benefits for Running

On paper, Vans UltraRange sneakers seem to have some promising attributes as running shoes:

Lightweight Feel

Weighing in around 20 oz, UltraRanges have a feather-light feel that mimics racing flats. This encourages a quick turnover and efficient strides without tacking on extra weight with each step.


The thin sole construction allows natural movement of the feet without rigidity or inflexibility hampering a runner’s gait.


Styles using canvas, mesh, or perforated suede uppers allow airflow over the top of the foot to vent heat and moisture. This can aid comfort on long summer runs.


EVA foam midsoles absorb shock and provide some “bounce back” or responsiveness while protecting joints through each footstrike.


The waffle pattern tread with deep flex grooves equips the UltraRange to grip various surfaces – especially important on unpredictable terrain or trails.

So with attributes like these, it’s easy to see why runners may be intrigued to lace up some UltraRanges for their training. However, running places substantially more stress and mileage on footwear compared to casual wear. So how do Vans’ claims of “extremely durable” and “athletically-inclined” hold up?

Downsides for Running

While the UltraRange has some positives in its court, there are a few critical factors that make them less than ideal as dedicated running shoes:

Lack of Support

With their simple low-profile construction, UltraRanges lack stabilizing features like structured heel counters, medial posts, or arch support. For runners needing pronation control or injury prevention, the UltraRanges may prove inadequate.

Insufficient Cushioning

The thin EVA foam midsole protects against smaller impacts from activities like skating, hiking or walking. But they likely bottom out with the repetitive pounding from running mile after mile. Lacking ample shock absorption can damage joints and tissues.

Poor Energy Return

Unlike advanced midsoles with Pebax or TPU plates that return energy with each stride, the UltraRange’s basic EVA foam has minimal “bounce back”. Feet and legs can tire out faster working harder to push off on inadequate cushioning.

Increased Overpronation Risk

Already prone to overpronation or rolling inwards? The UltraRange’s simple flat-bottomed construction allows ankles to collapse inward, compounding overpronation issues tied to injury – especially problematic over long distances.

Unstable Landing Platform

Runners require stability to shift weight smoothly across the foot during transitions. The UltraRange’s thin sole and lack of corrective guidance fail to prevent excessive foot motion that can cause pain or strain.

The verdict? For short runs on flat surfaces like roads or groomed trails once in awhile, UltraRanges may suffice and even be enjoyable. However, tackling long or intense running week after week is probably best left to proper running shoes better constructed to go the distance.

What Runners Say About UltraRanges

Beyond just on-paper comparisons, what do runners that have logged actual miles in Vans UltraRange shoes report?

The majority say UltraRanges make decent casual walking around or hiking shoes. However, most notice the thinner soles lack the plush cushioning, support, and shock absorption necessary for intensive running session after session. Flat arches and sore feet are common complaints after running any substantial distance in UltraRanges due to pronation and stability issues.

Some runners do use UltraRanges successfully for short 1-3 mile runs on roads or non-technical trails. Heavier runners tend to feel the force more though and experience foot pain quicker than lighter runners might. UltraRanges also show accelerated wear down of tread and shoe components compared to proper running shoes when used routinely for running.

So while occasional, short runs at mild paces on smooth surfaces may work out fine, the consensus agrees that logging high mileage long term in Vans UltraRange shoes would be asking for orthopedic trouble. Proper running shoes better equipped with cushioning, support, stability controls and durability prove the smarter choice for regular runners.

Alternative Shoe Recommendations

Instead of attempting long runs in Vans UltraRange shoes, here are some better running shoe options in the UltraRange price range:

  • Brooks Ghost: All-purpose neutral runner with quality cushioning and reliable durability.
  • Mizuno Wave Inspire: Stability shoe with supportive midsole wedge to prevent overpronation.
  • Saucony Kinvara: Lightweight neutral shoe ideal for faster paced training and races.
  • Asics GT-2000: Structured trainer with rearfoot and midfoot support.
  • New Balance 860v12: Combination stability shoe with cushioning for mild overpronators.

The right running shoes match specific needs in stability, cushioning, and biomechanics while allowing safe intensity and mileage. Vans UltraRange shoes simply fail to address key running requirements for endurance training and racing needs for most.


Questions runners often ask about using Vans UltraRange shoes for running include:

Are UltraRanges good for long distance running?

No, UltraRanges lack the shock absorption, stability and durability necessary to protect feet and joints over repeated long distance pounding.Definitely not recommended. Marathon running requires highly cushioned and supportive footwear UltraRanges fail to provide to help endure the relentless impacts over 26.2 miles without injury.

How long do UltraRanges last for running?

When used routinely for intensive running, UltraRange shoes generally start to show considerable midsole compression, tread deterioration and breakdown of uppers after about 250-300 miles – much shorter than purpose-designed running shoes.

Are UltraRange Pros better for running?

The UltraRange Pro line uses more suede/leather rather than canvas for uppers and has slightly thicker Ultracush insoles aiming for skateboard protection. But all UltraRange models lack key stability, cushioning and durability necessary for regular intensive running.

Can UltraRanges work for trail running?

On smooth dirt paths and in dry conditions, UltraRanges offer enough traction for mild off-roading. But technical trails, steep slopes or loose surfaces call for trail running shoes with pronation control, reinforced toe bumpers and waterproofing UltraRanges don’t provide.

The Bottom Line

Vans UltraRange casual shoes certainly work great for everyday wear, walking and light hiking where flexibility and boardfeel thrive. However, the consensus strongly indicates UltraRanges lack the combination of cushioning, stability and resilience required in true running shoe designed to stand up to intense repetitive impacts mile after mile.

Simply put, sneakers built for skating aren’t properly constructed for the demands of regular, intensive running. Protect feet and legs by opting for purpose-engineered running shoes matched to your needs from reputable athletic brands instead.

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