Can You Wear Vans Hiking? All You Need To Know in 2023

Are you wondering can you wear vans for hiking?

If you happen to own a pair of Vans, whether a slip-on or a lace-up pair and have plans to wear your Vans hiking, this is the article you’re looking for, my friend.

This article will tell you all you need to know about Vans, the pros and cons, and whether they are an excellent choice to use for hiking.

As we all know, wearing proper shoes for hiking is crucial, and finding the right brand can be a real hit or miss if you’re not sure what to look for in a good pair of hiking shoes. 

So, can you wear Vans for hiking? 

Vans is not recommended for hiking as they lack many essential features to make a good pair of hiking shoes – lack of durability, ankle support, and cushioning. They are also not built to withstand the rugged terrains of most hiking trails. 

While they might be pretty comfortable, lightweight, and great for casual walking, they are not the best pair of shoes for challenging terrains and long-distance hiking. 


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Can You Use Vans For Hiking?

Hiking is an activity or sport that calls for a good pair of shoes designed for long-distance walking, various types of terrains, and weather conditions. 

A good pair of shoes will prevent blisters, injuries, and discomfort during your hike. 

So, does a pair of Vans fulfill these requirements? 

A couple of classic Vans do accomplish some of these requirements, but not all, hence why we think Vans may not be the best shoes for you to wear for hiking. Let’s find out more. 

1. Traction 

Hiking requires waking up and into hilly terrains on different landscapes, through mud, on and off trails, and some slippery places. 

Sometimes, you may be required to walk over stones in a river or stream. 

This would require your shoes to have a really good grip in order to prevent you from slipping and falling. 

Vans’ trademark waffle-pattern rubber soles have good traction, which has made it one of the best skateboarding shoes. If you’re considering just the traction, Vans would do an outstanding job but let’s consider the rest of the requirements.

2. Fit And Breathability

You can achieve comfort in a pair of shoes through their fit and breathability. A pair of hiking shoes should be breathable to avoid storing moisture that can cause blisters. You can attain this with a pair of Vans which offers comfort through their hemp or canvas material that makes it breathable. 

The regular fit of this pair of shoes also makes it a great pair of skateboarding shoes with plenty of room for your feet to move around. 

Overall, Vans do a pretty good job in this department when it comes to comfort and fit. 

3. Cushioning 

Cushioning is essentially the shock absorption quality of the shoes. Proper cushioning will protect your feet from hard surfaces and landings, especially if you’re on bumpy or rough terrains.

This ideal cushioning can be achieved through different soles – gel, air, or midsole foam that minimizes impact every time your feet hit the ground. 

In this case, to wear your Vans for hiking would be deemed unsuitable for long or tumultuous hikes because of the lack of cushioning in their shoes. If you plan to hike through rough and tough terrains, your pair of Vans shoes may not be able to provide the shock absorption that you need. 

However, Vans has a line of shoes with its ComfyCush classics that feature original silhouettes of their classic design but are re-engineered to have more comfortable cushioning and arch support for everyday use.

4. Arch Support 

The arch length is the length between the ball of your foot and your heel. Arch support is crucial because it helps your feet flex at the proper position and keeps them supported at the base of your foot.

In this case, Vans have a flatter footbed when compared to hiking shoes which means they may not be ideal for different kinds of surfaces you may find on the trails. 

Vans shoes are made for flat surfaces like cement, asphalt, or on a skateboard. 

When hiking, your feet need a different kind of support and are often exposed to various surfaces that can include sharp rocks and bumpy surfaces, which can throw you off balance.

This is why it’s essential to have a pair of shoes to provide optimal arch support for hiking. 

5. Stiffness

The stiffness of a pair of shoes is so important if you’re going hiking anywhere with rough or slippery surfaces.

This is important as, along with arch support, the stiffness of a pair of shoes can protect your feet and ankles against rugged terrains and prevent you from slipping and falling. 

Vans shoes, unfortunately, do not fulfill these criteria. They are very flexible, soft, and light, making them unsuitable for rocky terrains. 

You will also need a pair of water-resistant or repellent shoes or feature designs that have more coverage.

 Vans’ shoes are mostly made of canvas, and they are not the best water repellent shoes because when canvas gets wet, it can be dangerous and uncomfortable, especially for long-distance hiking. 

can you wear vans hiking
Photo by Haupes on Unsplash

Do Vans Have A Good Grip For Hiking?

First of all, it is essential to know that Vans shoes are generally designed to be non-slip. They were initially made for skateboards – to ensure that skateboarders do not slip off their boards.

These days, Vans are more widely used across other industries, especially in restaurants, because of the materials that provide good grip or traction when you’re on the go. 

Some of the qualities that make them non-slip are: 

1. Rugged Rubber Outsoles

One of the main ingredients in Vans’ outsoles and soles is rubber. They can provide excellent traction without compromising safety on wet or slippery terrains, depending on the rubber quality. 

Poor quality rubber will not offer much grip and is even prone to wear and tear, but Vans ensures that only premium quality rubber is used to provide the best traction or friction between the surface and the sole. 

They also have a high coefficient of dry static that optimizes the ratio of friction force from one terrain to another, allowing you to walk or run on wet surfaces without falling. 

2. Anti-Skid Tread Patterns 

In addition to their rubber soles, the tread patterns on Vans are another critical feature that makes them non-slip.

These thoroughly composed grooves that go along the soles optimize the shoes’ traction, making a big difference to the shoe’s traction.

They are usually designed in a circular shape running across the sole, and these patterns help prevent water and grease from adhering to shoes.

This is a characteristic that further improves the slip resistance of the shoes. 

Do Vans Make Hiking Boots? 

They do. Vans recently introduced a new line of shoes that can take you from casual to hikes and back to casual again without losing the Vans aesthetics that most people pay money for.

Having expanded its reach to create more all-around active shoes, the UltraRange has a sock-like construction emphasizing comfort and cushioning. 

This range is meant for those looking for shoes they can wear on the go

can you wear vans hiking

With a decent amount of traction on the soles and a very lightweight design, these shoes are perfect for a quick morning hike and well through the rest of the day, making them super convenient and functional. 

They have an UltraCush midsole, a soc-fit bootie design that your toes will love, and the suede upper with nylon details for a unique alternative to the usual Vans kicks. 

They also do pretty okay with insulation during winter with its high reaching uppers for light rain or snow but remember, they are still sneakers first and foremost, so they’re not suitable for long and rough hikes. 

Best Vans For Hiking 

1. Vans Ultra Range Rapidweld 

can you wear vans hiking

If you’re looking for a pair of hiking shoes for light trails and moderate hikes, these are your shoes. Visually similar to the Old Skool Classics, this model has more mesh and is lightweight but still has enough traction for a casual hike.

What we like about this pair of Vans for hiking: 

  • Breathable 
  • Comfortable and padded 
  • Good traction 
  • Water-resistant leather

What we didn’t like: 

  • Sizes tend to run big
  • Not much ankle support 
  • Toe space may be limited for those with wide feet

2. Vans Sk8-Hi MTE 2.0 DX

can you wear vans hiking

The Vans MTE’s newest model is back and better suited for outdoor activities. 

With its unique technology that introduces fleece lining to manage moisture and a proper insulating layer added to the upper to keep you warm, these shoes will make hiking moderate trails a breeze. 

It also has an Achilles cushion, molded drop-in sock liner, rubber toe cap, and textile uppers for a great hiking experience in your Vans. 

What we like about this pair of Vans MTE for hiking

  • Breathable 
  • Comfortable and padded 
  • Good moisture management 
  • Has water-resistant leather

What we didn’t like: 

  • Sizes tend to run big.
  • Dark-colored laces tend to bleed onto lighter colored shoes
  • Ankle support may not be enough

Can You Hike With Regular Shoes? 

You can hike with regular shoes, but this depends because footwear is personal, and whatever you choose to use, you must be safe and comfortable. If it’s just a simple hike or a walk in nature, anything short of a pair of high heels would be fine. Hiking boots can sometimes be a bit of an overkill. 

Is It Okay To Wear Sneakers Hiking? 

If you mean trekking up and down well-defined, gently sloping trails by hiking, then sneakers are completely fine to hike with. Most hiking shoes are water-resistant or waterproof, so if you plan to explore the wilderness or go ‘rock climbing, you’ll need shoes that are better accustomed to these conditions. 

For the most part, it is important to ensure important factors like the weather, terrain and duration of your hiking trip are considered when choosing the best type of shoes to wear on your hike. 

Regardless of what you choose, the shoes you wear hiking should make running, hiking and walking easy and comfortable for you and protect you from bites and injuries. 

What Shoes Are Okay For Hiking? 

Trail running shoes are the best type to hike in and are often recommended by experienced hikers as an alternative to hiking shoes.

With hiking, you will need sturdy, protective, and supportive shoes so that road running shoes won’t perform as well as running shoes, but they’ll still work if you don’t have any other choice. 

Essentially, the best types of shoes for hiking are the ones that offer the most comfort and function for your feet.

Most hikers find that hiking shoes or hiking boots that are built for hikes are ideal because they offer traction, support and durability whereas some prefer trail running shoes for their lightness and underfoot sensitivity. 


If you’re planning to wear a pair of Vans for hiking, it’s essential to remember that you will need to be safe and comfortable in your shoes. While wearing a casual pair of Vans for hiking is not recommended, you can always try their specially designed shoes meant for outdoor activities. 

Wearing proper shoes will allow you to enjoy your hikes more and keep you safe on trails from rough trails and slippery surfaces. 

You can always use your Vans for a casual walk up a hill or short strolls, but not go long-distance hiking or explore rough trails

We hope this article has helped you understand better if you should wear your Vans out hiking or not.

 Remember to stay comfy, safe, and supported, and you will be just fine, regardless of what you choose to wear! 

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