Are Vans Good for Running? What Activities They’re Suitable For

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Vans are a popular shoe brand, founded in 1966 and worn most often by skaters. In recent years, they’ve become popular among gymgoers. So are Vans good for running?

Here we’ll discuss what shoes are best for running, why so many people in the gym wear Vans, and what other options exist for runners.

Are Vans Good for Running?

The simple answer is no; Vans are not good for running.

The soles are too thin and flat. This means there’s minimal cushioning and arch support. You’ll strain your joints and ligaments if you try to run in them over long distances or on hard surfaces.

While zero-drop shoes have become somewhat popular among some runners, Vans don’t function like zero-drop running shoes.

Vans have insoles within the shoe designed to maximize the skateboard feel. This liner may cause heel lift, detracting from the zero-drop feeling. These insoles are designed with skateboarders in mind and may not be suitable for long-distance running.

A person is wearing a pair of black and white Vans and standing next to a puddle showing a mirror image of the shoes.

Are Vans Good for Exercise?

If people wear Vans in the gym, they must be suitable for exercising, right?

While Vans may work well for some fitness activities, it’s important to note they aren’t great for many endurance activities. Without proper footwear, you might experience issues from a lack of support provided by shoes designed for exercise.

However, if you go to the gym, you’ll likely see powerlifters or weightlifters wearing Vans. Why is this?

Weightlifters are known to be tough and are often looking for durable, simple, cost-effective shoes that provide good traction. Vans are the perfect fit.

The thick rubber sole provides excellent traction and durability for heavy weightlifting sessions. The soles are incredibly flat, which provides a stable base for heavy lifting for squats or deadlifts.

Additionally, the canvas upper is comfortable in the gym but still looks stylish.

Vans have been around for several decades because they make quality shoes that last, all for a great price.

What Are Vans Good For?

If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, Vans are generally considered skate shoes.

Although they didn’t start as skate shoes, skateboarders in the 1970s claimed them rather quickly.

Today, the Vans Old Skool design is well-known by most people, skater or not. And while these shoes aren’t great for running, they are perfect for skateboarding. The brand has continued to develop shoes that speak to the skater community.

Notable Features of Vans

Vans are popular for a few reasons. These reasons include:

👟 Canvas upper

Although not ideal for running, the canvas upper on Vans shoes does make them breathable. This is great for a foot that heats up and sweats.

👟 Rubber Sole

Shoes with rubber soles have the benefit of being slip-resistant. This is why skaters took a liking to the Vans brand.

The rubber sole of Vans helps to grip the skateboard better.

👟 Stylish

Vans are certainly a stylish shoe and one of the main reasons the brand grew so rapidly.

With a simple design, they match your style, whether dressing down or up. And with fun patterns and colors, you may find your closet full of Vans.

👟 Options

Although the classic Vans are most recognizable, the brand offers several styles. From boots to slip-ons, there’s a pair of Vans for just about everyone.

On top of the variety, you can custom order a pair of Vans to be exactly what you want.

While Vans might not be ideal for running, there are certainly a ton of positives to the brand that’s been successful for more than half of a century.

Which Footwear is the Best for Running?

The best shoes for running are explicitly designed for the activity.

Look for lightweight, supportive shoes (especially in the arch and heel), breathable and with adequate cushioning to absorb impact.

If you’re doing a lot of long-distance runs, look for features like extra cushioning and shock absorption technology. Also, pay attention to the sole – it should be flexible enough for a comfortable stride.

If you’re unsure which shoes are best for your needs, consult a specialist who can point you in the right direction. I recommend visiting your local running store, where a specialist can analyze your needs.

You can go further, faster, and more comfortably with the right running shoe.

My Preferred Brand of Running Shoes

I prefer Altra running shoes and have been wearing them since 2015.

They’re designed with a wide toe box to allow the toes to splay naturally while running. This is a huge benefit for me, while shoes like Vans tend to have less room in the toe box area and cause my pinky toe to be squished.

Altra also features a zero-drop design which helps correct running form and may lead to a better landing zone.

To accommodate the majority of runners, Altra has designed a wide variety of models. From maximum cushioning with the Via Olympus model to low cushioning with the Escalante 3, there’s a shoe for every runner.

Most Altra shoes are made to last 300-600 miles. This makes them perfect for long runs and endurance training.


Are Vans OK for Cardio?

No, Vans are not recommended for prolonged cardio activities such as running. Proper cardio shoes are designed to provide the cushioning and support necessary for training.

Are Vans Shoes Good for Running?

Vans are not good shoes for running due to their design which lacks the support a running shoe generally provides for the foot.
Vans also tend to weigh a little more than the average running shoe. Added weight can cause issues with running gait and form.

Are Vans Good for Running on the Treadmill?

Running on the treadmill doesn’t change the action of running much, and because of this, Vans are not suitable for running on the treadmill.

Are Vans Good for Walking?

Yes, Vans are generally suitable for walking. They offer some cushioning, are comfortable, and provide a good amount of traction to prevent slips and falls.
However, they’re not ideal if you walk a lot or have foot issues. So if you are doing more strenuous activities such as hiking, it’s best to opt for shoes designed specifically for that purpose.

Why Do People Wear Vans at the Gym?

People wear Vans at the gym because they’re comfortable, fashionable, and useful for their flat sole design. Weightlifters find this design most useful.
However, unless you’re engaging in very light cardio or weight lifting, opting for a shoe designed specifically for exercise is best. Vans is a very popular shoe brand but unsuitable for running due to its design and lack of support.

A person is wearing black and white Vans, as seen from the legs down.

Final Thoughts: Are Vans Good for Running?

Ultimately, Vans are not recommended for running due to their design and lack of support.

They’re great for walking and activities like weightlifting but are unsuitable for high-impact running or endurance training. For serious runners looking for the best performance, shoes designed specifically for running are the only way to go.

Altra is my recommendation because they’ve been my dependable shoes for nearly a decade. But keep your Vans for your everyday wear!

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