For decades, the Converse Chuck Taylor has been a wardrobe staple for cool kids, but Vans Authentics has experienced a massive spike in popularity in the last few years, being worn by celebrities such as Kristen Stewart and Justin Bieber.
Converse and Vans are timeless shoes that were once made in the US and were popularized there, but have found fans all over the world. They also have a similar construction.
But which shoes should you wear to complete your outfit? Vans or Converse? Read on to find out! But first, let’s look a little deeper at the two brands’ most famous shoes: The All Star, and the slip-on.
What Are Converse All Stars?
Also referred to as All Stars, Chuck Taylors, or Chucks, Converse’s Chuck Taylor All-Stars were an essential part of a scene kid’s wardrobe, and were worn by many pop punk frontmen and women.
Converse began way back in 1908 and specialized in rubber-soled shoes perfect for winter. In 1910, they turned their attention to making shoes specifically for athletes and were one of the first mass-produced athletic shoes on the market.
In 1921, Converse joined forces with Charles H Taylor, or Chuck Taylor, a notable basketball player at the time.
Taylor saw Converse’s talent for creating athletic shoes and convinced the company to design a shoe just for basketball – and they created the All Star.
Since their creation, Converse has remained faithful to the original design of the Chuck. They have an all white rubber sole with a fabric body normally made of canvas. You can buy a high-top version or a low-top version of these shoes.
Over time, the monochrome canvas body evolved into different designs, with kids of the 2000s taking the simple design of their Chuck Tyalors and customizing them with patches or drawing/writing on them with markers.
Chucks are a versatile shoe that you can wear throughout the day and night, and while they were originally designed for athletes, in later years they became popular with teens just hanging out with their friends or jumping around at gigs, their favorite lyrics scrawled on their sneakers!
What Are Vans Slip-Ons?
Vans have been releasing their much-loved slip on shoes since 1966. Created in Anaheim, California, Vans began as the Van Doren Rubber Company with the goal of being a custom-designed shoe manufacturer.
They soon grew their business to become the skate-punk icon they are today.
And it’s just not Vans who rode the skating trend, they were crucial in developing California’s skate culture due to their easy-to wear, no-slip, comfortable shoes that soon became popular with skate punks everywhere.
Their sponsorship of Warped Tour and their hand in creating many skate parks in California have cemented Vans as skating legends.
From its classic monochrome checkered design, plain monochrome design, and colorful print designs, Vans slip-ons have become an essential shoe for skaters.
The design and construction of Vans are almost identical to Chucks. They have white rubber soles and a canvas body, but slip-ons do not have laces.
Naturally, Vans have released other shoes that look more like traditional sneakers, but slip-ons are still associated with Vans.
Popular Vans Shoes
The shoe that started it all, the Vans #44 – now called the ‘Authentic’ – was the shoe that took the world by storm, and served as inspiration for future Vans shoes with their sticky rubber sole and their rugged style.
The Vans #36 debuted in 1977, and was the first design that featured the Off the Wall logo and the side stripe. They also have leather panels to make them durable.
These are one of the most recognizable athletic shoes that isn’t just beloved by skaters, but by BMX riders and surfers too.
First introduced in 1978, these shoes introduced the iconic white stripe on the sides. Their higher padded ankle border also protected your ankles while skateboarding, which was much appreciated by skaters!
Popular Converse Shoes
The Chuck Taylor All Star is the classic Converse design. Whether you like them as a high-top or a low-top shoe, these still remain the most popular Converse design.
One of the best collaborations Converse ever made was with designer brand Commes des Garçon. The design is striking yet minimal, with a peek of the CdG’s iconic heart and eyes logo on the upper.
It’s one of the most coveted designs, and the brands even released two colorways – blue and grey – to respond to the hype.
The Converse All Star Pro Leather burst onto the scene in the late 1970s which was the start of a new era in the NBA. Converse released a revamped version of the shoe 45 years later, to mark the anniversary.
Converse Pros & Cons
As we have previously mentioned, Converse shoes were originally designed to be sportswear, so are there any downsides to wearing Converse shoes? Let’s find out.
Versatile For Most Outfits
Unlike Vans, Converse are more versatile when it comes to what outfits you pair them with. They’ll look just as cute with a sundress or a short skirt, as they do with a t-shirt and jeans.
This makes Converse an amazing option for any number of events or occasions.
Has A Variety Of Styles
With Converse, you can have the option to choose between high tops or low tops. Plus, they came in a wide range of colors and patterns. Plus, their designs just get more unique, so it’s hard to find a pair of Converse that’s not to your taste.
Hard To Clean
Because Converse are normally more rugged than Vans, they are harder to clean. They normally need a considerable amount of scrubbing to get clean.
So if you purchase some beautiful Converse, it’s best to wear them in circumstances where it’s unlikely they’ll get overly dirty.
They Have A Narrow Shape
The construction of Converse shoes makes them a lot more narrow than other shoe brands, and while this isn’t an issue for most people, they may be uncomfortable for people with wide feet, especially when wearing Converse for extended periods of time.
Hard To Put On And Take Off
Since Converse are pretty narrow, it can be hard to put them on and take them off sometimes, and you may need to make the top few laces looser every time.
Vans Pros & Cons
They Are Versatile
One of the best things about Vans is their versatility. Their rubber soles give you amazing grip, which makes them ideal for wearing when playing sports, or just hanging out with friends.
You can find Vans in high-top, low-top, and slip-on styles.
Available In A Variety Of Colors And Styles
Vans are available in a wide range of styles, so there is sure to be a pair that suits your own personal style.
The different styles make them great to wear no matter what the activity, and today Vans work with the best lifestyle brands to design styles for a variety of functions.
They Are Comfortable
You can wear Vans for a few hours and not have to deal with discomfort or blisters because of their thin fabric. They are also comfortable because they are not as narrow as Converse, so provide plenty of room for your feet.
They Are Durable
Vans are designed to put up with wear and tear caused by skateboarding and are more durable than Converse if you take good care of them.
They Have No Arch Support
You may feel slightly uncomfortable when wearing a new pair of Vans due to their lack of arch support in their thin insoles. If you have flat feet, Vans will be pretty uncomfortable for you.
They Don’t Match With Some Outfits
One of the most crucial aspects of buying a pair of shoes is how they match your outfit. Vans were originally designed for skaters, so they may not be the best shoes to wear with more formal outfits.
Vans Vs Converse: Which Is More Comfortable?
Converse sneakers are designed for athletes, so when you wear them they are likely to conform to your feet and will feel pretty comfortable.
Plus, Nike is now the owner of Converse, the insoles give you extra stability and cushioning found in Nike shoes.
However, Converse footwear is narrow, which isn’t an issue once you break your shoes in, but does mean they will be uncomfortable the first few times you wear them and if you have wide feet.
Classic Vans slip-ons are useful shoes if you want shoes to wear every day. The simplest Vans slip-ons have no laces and have a wide front so you have plenty of space for your toes.
A disadvantage of Vans is that the fabric is thinner but they are lightweight, comfortable shoes. However, they have thin insoles and don’t provide sufficient arch support, particularly if you want to wear them for an extended period of time.
But they do now provide new premium ComfyCush insoles that provide arch support and padding. But it’s all subjective. Some people will find Converse more comfortable, but some will find Vans more comfortable.
Vans Vs Converse: Which Are More Durable?
As the shoes are made for the rough and ready sport of skateboarding where your shoes need to be durable and have outsoles, vans are definitely more durable.
Skating tricks like kickflips and backslides can cause your standard sneakers to quickly wear out, and this is why Vans sneakers are the best sneakers for skating.
Meanwhile, original Converse shoes were also intended for athletic purposes, particularly the Chuck Taylors that were promoted and named after the basketball player of the same name, that were designed to withstand basketball courts.
However, most modern Converse shoes have lighter soles that are not so durable, so for a sturdier sneaker, we recommend Vans.
Vans Vs Converse: Which Is Higher Quality?
Vans and Converse are both high-quality shoes. Whenever you buy a new pair of Vans and Converse, you’re sure to get a good quality shoe every time.
There are a variety of styles across both brands, and some will have improved cushioning, higher rubber foxing, a sturdier canvas, and uppers made with a range of materials.
But when it comes to quality shoes, the Vans Pro styles are seriously strong and are the most durable shoes that Vans have released. Meanwhile, the Converse Chuck 70 has a thicker canvas which makes it the most durable pair of Converse.
Since Vans were originally designed for skateboarders, they have a thick waffle design rubber sole that gives you amazing grip. They often feature a suede upper or flexible canvas, so you can wear them in pretty much all weather.
However, Converse are a bit more weather-resistant, as they are made from a rugged canvas that is slightly thicker. But this doesn’t make them waterproof, so they will get wet quicker.
Both Vans and Converse shoes normally last about 18 months if they’re not subject to consistent heavyweight wear.
Vans Vs Converse: What Is The Sizing Like?
Sizing is crucial when it comes to buying new shoes, but this becomes easier when buying Vans as they tend to be true to size. Meanwhile, Converse tend to be half a size larger, so it’s recommended to go half a size down or a whole size down.
If you have wider feet, you may want to go a size up on Vans as well as Converse, as this will give your feet more room and make breaking them in more comfortable which will carry through into everyday wear.
Both Converse and Vans conform to the shape of your feet, so the best way to break them in is to wear them as much as possible.
Vans Vs Converse: Which Should You Wear To The Gym?
You can wear both Converse and Vans for lifting weights recreationally.
Vans have a 0 mm heel-to-toe drop which keeps your feet flat to the ground so you can remain stable and keep your balance. Plus, they provide pretty stable shoes that make it fantastic for recreational lifting.
The flatter soles give your feet extra room to spread out, and allow you to grip the floor better so you can improve your stability.
Still, Van’s insoles are not as durable as All-Stars, so they do have the edge over Vans for recreational lifting, and you will often see Chuck Taylors being worn in the gym more often than Vans.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that both shoes give you great stability for recreational lifting, so if you have a pair of Vans and a pair of Converse, why not try them both out at the gym to see which works for you?
Vans Vs Converse: Which Are Better For Skating?
To effortlessly pull off skating tricks, you need a good pair of shoes. They should also have decent grip to keep you upright while you skate.
As Vans were originally made with skateboarders in mind, they have cushioned insoles, fantastic grip, durability, and flexibility. Basically, everything you could ask for in a skating shoe!
Meanwhile, Converse All-Stars began life as a durable shoe designed for basketball players.
As skaters back in the day used to wear no shoes at all to replicate the experience of surfing, some skaters turned to Converse as it gave them a similar amount of control.
In fact, until Vans burst onto the scene, Converse All-Stars were the go-to shoes for skaters! Converse brought out Converse CONS in 2009, shoes designed specifically for skating.
Still, many people consider Vans the best shoes for skateboarding, although CONS are also a fantastic option. It all comes down to which shoes you like the most!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Converse And Vans The Same?
No, Converse and Vans are not the same. They are both shoe brands made in America using the same vulcanization process, and both have rubber soles, canvas uppers, and available in low-top and high-top styles.
Vans began production in 1966 and became the staple shoe for skateboarders, while Converse made production in 1908 with basketball players in mind.
Which Shoes Are Better For Your Feet?
Since Converse are wider than Vans, they are more comfortable and provide better grip. Still, their insoles are thin so they are lacking in arch support.
Meanwhile, Converse are narrow and thin but when you’re breaking them in they conform to the shape of your feet. Still, they are not great for those with wide feet.
Do Converse Or Vans Look Better?
While both Converse and Vans look great, offering low-tops and high-tops in a range of patterns and colors, some prefer Converse high-tops to Vans high-tops with their padded collars.
Still, Vans low-tops tend to be more popular than black low-top Converse sneakers, as they are narrower and can make your feet look bigger than they are. Ultimately, you should pick the shoe brand that aligns with your style.
Are Vans Owned By Converse?
No, Converse does not own Vans. Brothers Jim and Paul Van Doren founded Vans in 1966, which later joined the VF Corporation. Still, the Van Doren family owns the Vans brand.
Meanwhile, Nike now owns Converse and has adopted some features commonly found in Nike shoes.
Do People Still Wear Converse?
Converse All-Star continue to be popular, and have evolved from their humble beginnings as a shoe for basketball players to become an iconic brand offering a wide range of patterns and styles, that are perfect for a variety of activities.
Converse are still beloved shoes for teenagers and young adults.
Are Vans Good For Running?
No, Vans are not the best shoes for running, and most of their styles are not designed with the support necessary for running. Many Vans styles, however, are suitable for skateboarding and walking.
If you’re looking for shoes for running, then we recommend buying shoes specifically designed for running.
The timeless Converse and Vans sneaker styles prompted a debate that continues to this day. Both have a range of classic, iconic silhouettes and a rich heritage, and both brands have a commitment to designing high-quality shoes.
The advantages and disadvantages of both brands have elicited a range of discussions both online and offline.
Although they are both extremely popular brands, there are some major differences between Vans and Converse, and which shoe is best for you will all depend on your needs, foot shape, and what you will be primarily using your shoes for.
We hope our article has helped you make a decision about whether you should wear Vans or Converse!