What is the Best Classic Sneaker? Vans vs Converse

For years shoes have been a significant aspect of someone’s personal fashion style or personality. Whether you wear shiny brogues or beat-up sneakers, there is always a lot to be learned about someone by the shoes that they wear.

Some of the most iconic shoe brands and know that the people who buy their products do that because of the name that they’re showing off. Doc Martins to Yeezys, if your shoes have a named brand, you know you’re getting something good.

Vans vs Converse

However, this also leads to a lot of debates, and one of the most commonly heard arguments in the shoe industry for years has been the battle of the classic sneaker. So this intrepid writer sets off to attempt to answer the age-old questions: what is the better sneaker, Vans or Converse? 

 Both of these sneakers have a distinct history of their own and have become very popular, mostly with the youth crowd.

Vans and Converse are both causal shoes that can be worn with a variety of different outfits and come in a large variety of different patterns and styles. That way they can appeal to all types of different people with different stylistic preferences. 

This article will lay out all of the differences between the two brands so that if you’re trying to decide which product to go with, you can make a properly informed decision.

History

Before we go into the differences between the products, we should discuss the differences between the companies. 

First of all, Converse was founded in 1908 and shifted its manufacturing to make footwear for the military. Since then, it was once of the few producers of athletic shoes for half a century and the company basically dominated the American athletic shoe market.

This position was lost however when other brands started to capitalize on the growing consumerism surrounding sports and athleisurewear. Today the brand is known for its many signature products, including its high-top Converse sneakers and Chuck Taylor All-Stars (also known as “Chucks”).

The thing that makes these shoes distinctive, and the way that you know you’re getting the officially branded shoes is the All-Star insignia, the rubber sole, and the wrap-around strip. 

Vans, on the other hand, have only been manufactured since 1966, when Paul Van Doren opened the first Vans store in Anaheim, California. The brand’s distinctive “Off The Wall” logo made its debut in 1976, when it was becoming more and more prominently a skater shoe. 

Vans vs Converse

Look, I’ll be honest until very recently I thought that these shoes were just the names of different style shoes sold by the same company. I genuinely thought that Vans were just low-top Converse.

I didn’t know that they had a vastly different consumer base and history. Now I do! And I also know the differences between the two brands in terms of the quality and specifications of the products that they make.

So without further ado, here is a definitive listing of the differences between Vans and Converse, and which one suits what kind of person.

Converse Pros

converse sneaker

This brand sells classic Converse shoes in two distinct styles: high tops and low tops. The Converse All-Star sneakers have basically become staples in the casual dress-wear culture thanks to their versatility.

Converse have a lot more flexibility with how they can be worn, as typically they can be worn with just jeans and a t-shirt, but can also be added to compliment a nice sundress.

However, some people who don’t like playing by the rules may also wear Converse sneakers to more formal occasions, you’ll find that there are multiple instances of people wearing these shoes to their weddings or fancy dinners.

The versatility that you get from these sneakers makes them a great choice for a larger variety of people. 

Another pro that you get from Converse is the different variety of styles and colors that you can find Converse designed with. There are a ton of different colors and patterns available, and there really is no beating around the bush here, the variety of styles is one area that Converse really excels in.

You could buy a pair of Converse in every color of the rainbow, in multiple shades, and in any pattern that you can imagine.

They even team up with different brands and companies from time to time to make limited-edition sneaker designs (when I was a teenager, my Gorillaz low-top Converse were my pride and joy (despite the fact that I thought they were Vans, and previously mentioned). 

Vans Pros

On the other hand, the pros that you get from Vans also make them super desirable to the right kind of person. Vans are, at least compared to Converse, way more functional. If you’re going to be active or walking around a lot then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable pair of shoes than Vans.

They’re a great choice, mostly because they’re pretty wide-fit, meaning that you’re a lot less likely to develop blisters when first wearing them in. The thinner fabric also helps in this area. 

Not only are Vans comfortable, but they’re also great for all kinds of activity, not just skateboarding. The rubber sole gives them a great non-slip grip that will help you stay balanced and on your feet, no matter what you’re doing – although, yes, especially when skateboarding. 

Converse Cons

With everything great, there are also downsides. For Converse, one of their major downsides is the fact that they have a very narrow fit.

This means that not only is it incredibly difficult to find a pair of Converse that fits if you happen to have wide feet, but even when you do you’re more likely to develop blisters or worse. This also means that they’re less comfortable to wear for people with wider feet for longer periods of time.

Another con that comes with Converse is the fact that they are notoriously difficult to clean. The canvas material of the shoe is a bit rougher than many other shoes and because of this, you’ll find that the cleaning process can be a lot more difficult.

If your shoes are a paler color (even white) then you’ll have to take an awful lot of care to keep them clean, which is one of the reasons that white Converse are such a badge of honor. 

Vans Cons

Vans sneakers

As for Vans, the main complaint that people have is that they’re generally not as durable as Converse are.

Because of the aforementioned thicker, rougher materialism, Converse are able to take more of a beating than Vans are. This also means that Vans tend to wear out a lot quicker and don’t have as much arch support. 

Vans are also a lot less versatile than Converse. As mentioned earlier, there is a style of Converse for absolutely everybody, whereas Vans are a little less versatile.

Vans have a very distinct, rugged appearance (owing to their skater-shoe origins), but this means that they don’t necessarily fit everybody’s particular style. It also makes them more difficult to pair with different outfits or work them into something dressier. 

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, your own style preferences are going to have the biggest impact on whether you should be picking up a new pair of Converse or a new pair of Vans.

Either way, you’re getting a quality pair of shoes that should last you a good few years. Go onto the Vans or Converse website to see if either of the companies have a product that really speaks to you.

Miranda Cole
Latest posts by Miranda Cole (see all)