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Vans is a quiet hero of modern footwear. Look through paparazzi pictures of nearly any stylish celebrity — be it A$AP Rocky, Justin Beiber or Kanye — and you’re bound to spot a few pairs of Vans. But, more importantly, the best Vans sneakers are not reserved for the uber-rich: popular Vans models are typically in stock with an affordable price tag, which can’t be said for most “it” shoes.
Originally founded in the Sixties for California skaters, Vans has been a staple of laidback style for decades. And it’s easy to see why as the shoes are minimal, classic and easy to wear with just about anything. Plus, because they’re (still) built for skateboarding, the sneakers are plenty rugged. Today, you can catch people rocking Vans with baggy jeans and T-shirts, tailored suits and everything in between.
If you’re looking to flesh out your shoe wardrobe with some Vans, you’re in luck. The brand’s selection is vast and varied with picks including classic kicks, winter shoes and modern, office-ready sneakers. In fact, there’s almost too much to choose from, so we’ve rounded up some of the best Vans sneakers below.
The Best Vans Sneakers
1. Vans Old Skool
Arguably the most popular of Vans’ current lineup, the Old Skool lends skater style in a versatile, everyday sneaker. There’s almost no flair, save for Vans’ famous side stripe, which has allowed stylish people of all ilks to adopt the sneaker. Wear these with other minimal classics, such as baggy blue jeans and a hoodie, or use them as a base for more adventurous outfits (say, slacks with a colorful Hawaiian shirt).
2. Vans Checkerboard Slip-On
For an easy statement, pick up a pair of Vans Checkerboard Slip-Ons. Led by a bold checkerboard pattern, the casual kicks are actually more wearable than most expect: They work with a variety of outfits, monochrome to colorful and casual to dressy. We especially like the slip-on style for weekend outings and travel because they’re made of a durable canvas, and they can easily be slipped off when arriving at the beach or going through TSA.
3. Vans UltraRange EXO MTE-1
Offering outdoorsy, winter-ready versions of its classics, Vans’ MTE line (unfortunately) flies under the radar of most shoppers. The UltraRange EXO MTE-1 is one of our favorite picks from the line with Primaloft insulation for warmth, a HydroGuard Wrap for waterproofing and a rugged outsole fit for any terrain. They also just look great, showcasing the technical style we’ve been seeing recently on runways and streets, only toned down for pairing with everyday outfits.
4. Vans Canvas Authentic
These Canvas Authentics are a re-working of Vans’ original shoe, upgrading the iconic silhouette with sturdy 12-ounce canvas uppers, gum-colored sidewalls and metal eyelets. This fabric and the shoe’s “marshmallow” color combine for a sneaker that’s ready for the office or the street. Pair them with chinos and an Oxford button-up before heading to work for a pulled-together yet casual look.
5. Vans ComfyCush Sk8-Hi
The Sk8-Hi is another Vans classic, offering extra ankle support for the gnarliest shred sessions. With a padded collar and footbed, this ComfyCush version of the Sk8-Hi delivers extra shock absorption for hard landings, as well as added comfort during off-board activities like walking or standing at a concert. Further action-ready details include a reinforced toe, breathable cotton drill lining and a flexible waffle outsole. Even if you don’t own a skateboard, these make a great choice for casual outings on the weekend or for traveling.
6. Vans Half Cab Core Classics
With the chunky sneaker trend in full swing (see, Nike Dunks everywhere), these Half Cabs are ripe for a comeback. Like all of Vans’ kicks, they’re designed to withstand a beating at the skatepark with double-stitched suede uppers and die-cut EVA inserts. But this durability translates to everyday use, and the shoes’ thick padded ankles make a great statement with baggy, skate-inspired outfits.
7. Vans SLIP-ER 2
As the temperatures drop, great slippers such as these Vans SLIP-ER 2s are game-changers. The indoor/outdoor lounge shoes feature a look inspired by the Classic Slip-On and comfortable details that upgrade any cozy day at home. Inside is a soft foam footbed, as well as an UltraCush sockliner. The heels are also collapsible for quickly taking the slippers on and off — ideal for, say, running the trash out or walking the dog.