When it comes to sneakers, Vans and Converse make some of the best casual shoes on the market. These iconic footwear brands make several high-quality low-top and high-top sneakers as well as comfortable slip-on shoes. As fashionable wardrobe staples, you can wear your Converse and Vans shoes with many different outfits to create an effortlessly stylish and cool look. While both companies offer several styles and colors, there are differences to consider that can make buying Vans or Chuck Taylors a better option.
Some guys prefer the Vans Old Skool line for the classic styling and durable suede material, while some women love the Converse One and All Star collections for their versatility, textured canvas constructions and trendy look. In a perfect world, people could get a pair of white Chucks and black Vans to suit all types of outfits.
With so many different designs and colorways, it can be a challenge choosing between Vans and Converse. To help you decide, we’ve compiled this guide on Vans and Converse shoes. From style to comfort, explore the pros and cons of Converse and Vans to find the better sneakers for your needs.
Vans is a popular American footwear brand that makes comfortable and casual shoes for men and women. The company started by designing skateboarding footwear and apparel, and has since become a mainstream brand that creates fashionable clothing. While there are many popular styles, the Vans Old Skool sneaker and the Classic Slip-On are generally must-have footwear.
Stylish and relaxed, Vans Classic Slip-Ons are cool and comfortable casual shoes to wear with a range of trendy outfits. While the solid-colored versions of this iconic shoe are understated and versatile, the black and white checkerboard style offers the timeless look most people want.
The brand also offers the basic original heritage line as well as updated classic styles that feature softer and more cushioned outsoles for extra comfort.
Today, the brand’s Old Skool sneakers are their best-selling line. Although they strike a vintage tone, these low-profile suede shoes are easy to wear and always look fresh. The sleek side stripe on the upper is exceptionally recognizable and offers a unique styling that will make your footwear stand out. You can choose from black, brown, gray, blue or orange Old Skool shoes to find the perfect fit for your outfit.
Another popular heritage line, the Vans Sk8-Hi is a high-top sneaker that features cool colors and trendy styling for a different look. These high-tops are youthful and chic, and come in countless colorways. The standard black shoes are a safe and timeless option for modern men.
When it comes to women’s footwear, you’ll find high-top sneakers with the classic design, platform bumpers and thicker outsoles or more eye-catching color combinations. With so many superb options, fashionable guys and girls tend to experiment with different designs to create the perfect outfit.
Vans Pros and Cons
With Vans’ versatility in designs and colorways, the brand offers a level of customization and style options beyond the skater look. When flipping through Vans’ catalog, you’ll find standard skater footwear as well as more versatile designs. Vans is known for its impressive partnerships with lifestyle brands like Supreme and North Face.
Durable and long-lasting, Vans shoes offer a practical and affordable approach to fashionable footwear. In addition to low-tops and high-tops, their trademark slip-ons offer an effortless look for modern men and women.
The famous textured waffling on the bottoms of their shoes ensures traction for those days you’re running around town or skating in the park. For a premium, you can get their ComfyCush sublines, which offer more padding and arch support.
Most Vans last for one to two years with moderate use and regular cleaning, making the brand affordable and well-made. Vans will likely last longer than Converse with proper care since the footwear was originally designed to be durable enough for skaters.
Unless you want to splurge and buy from the more expensive comfort line, Vans sneakers have thin insoles with minimal arch support. These shoes eventually conform to your foot but won’t be comfortable for those with flat feet.
How To Wear Vans
You can wear Vans with many different casual and smart casual outfits, creating a comfortable and cool look. Most men and women will style their Vans shoes with a pair of skinny jeans or straight-leg pants like Dickies and a graphic t-shirt, sweatshirt or hoodie for a universally-flattering finish.
For a youthful skater look, combine your Vans with slim jeans and a relaxed-fit t-shirt. For a rugged vibe, swap the jeans out for slim work pants and top your ensemble off with a denim or cargo jacket. You can also have fun with your favorite graphic tees.
To get a popular athletic look, Vans high-tops and low-tops can be styled like trainers and paired well with jeans and fitted crew-neck shirts. For a touch of elegance, accessorize with a sports watch and designer sunglasses.
For a bold and effortlessly stylish look, go for a monochromatic combination and accent the outfit with colorful footwear. The sherpa upper Sk8-His or multi-toned Classics make eye-catching statement pieces. Level up the boldness with a bomber jacket that matches the color of your Vans.
Black all-leather slip-ons are a great way to dress up and style a smart casual outfit. Their classic silhouette and sleek construction partner beautifully with chinos, a button-down, and a blazer. Complete the dapper combination with a leather-strapped dress watch. Just make sure the strap leather matches the leather on your Vans.
Fashionable ladies can wear a scoop neck sweater, ripped jeans and low-profile Vans sneakers for a casual look that flatters all body types. A simple sweatshirt and jeans create the classic All-American look. You can even switch out the jeans for an A-line skirt for a feminine and flirty twist. To dress up your sneakers, consider a sundress or skinny jeans with a stylish band shirt and a leather jacket.
Converse is a popular American shoe company that designs stylish sneakers and apparel for men and women. This classic footwear brand has been a fashion staple for over 100 years, and even new high-end brands like Golden Goose and Common Projects take inspiration from their designs.
Their top line is the popular and iconic Chuck Taylors model, a versatile and athletic shoe that everyone recognizes. Since their debut in the 1920s, Chucks have featured the same efficient and exceptional design language.
They sport a highly-favored silhouette that’s low and long, a stitched upper portion, a white rubber toe cap, and the trademark All Star patch. The original Chucks feature a flattering high-top ankle, though they’re also available as a practical and convenient low-top. Chucks are usually made of cotton canvas, but there are other variations these days, such as leather.
When Nike bought Converse, they released the highly functional Chuck Taylor II sneakers. The sleek and charming aesthetic remained, but comfort and performance technology was added. As a lightweight trainer, Chucks are equal parts fashionable and practical.
Today, Chuck Taylors remain Converse’s best-seller. Other popular lines are based on the Chuck design, including the All Star Shorelines Slip, which features an edgy napped and distressed aesthetic, and the laceless All Star Slip, which is modern and minimalist.
Always a popular fashion-favorite, Chuck Taylors come in black, white, red, blue and and several other lively patterns. Go for the camo variation for a military-inspired casual look, or the floral colorway for a lovely summer look.
Converse Pros and Cons
With the brand’s signature athletic look, Converse shoes can be worn with any casual outfit and most smart casual ensembles. While the brand’s footwear is reasonably priced, Converse boasts partnerships with high-fashion brands and art houses like John Varvatos, Comme des Garçons and Basquiat. For this reason, Converse has a distinguished runway quality, boosted by their trademark design accents, like the All Star patch and the white toe cap.
Stylish and functional, Converse shoes feature Nike’s athletic technologies. Chuck Taylors are comfortable, flexible and offer more arch support than Vans sneakers.
Most Converse shoes are designed to be narrow and thin. People with wide feet may find this uncomfortable, while others with long/big feet may find the look unflattering.
While the Chuck Taylors are fashion must-haves, most Converse footwear is directly based on this design. These sneakers come in several styles, but Vans offers more variety.
How To Wear Converse
Most people choose to wear Converse with casual and smart casual outfits like jeans and a shirt or sweater, allowing Vans and Chucks to be styled very similarly. In most cases, Converse sneakers can be paired with a wider range of styles, allowing you to dress your footwear up or down to suit your desired look.
Some stylish men will wear Chuck Taylors with a fitted t-shirt and slim-fit jeans since these casual pieces generally match the tight design and silhouette of the shoes. Depending on the occasion, you can also style your Chucks with shorts or pants and a loose sweater or hoodie with a long cargo coat.
For an edgy and sleek outfit that you can wear during the day or at the club, try black low-top Converse sneakers with no-show socks. Pair your footwear with cuffed slim-fitting black jeans, a long lightly-woven white shirt, a slim blue denim shirt jacket or a fitted leather jacket.
Because of the red and white accent lines, the White Converse All-Star Madisons are the perfect shoes for the irreverent academic look that’s trendy with men and women today. Sport them with fitted chinos and a t-shirt, and a varsity jacket.
For a smart casual approach, men can wear all-black Converse sneakers with fitted chinos, a dress shirt and a cashmere sweater. Top it off with a blazer for more formal occasions or on cooler days.
You can wear your Converse with jeans and a t-shirt, sweater or cute top for a cool and casual outfit. Classic black Converse look great with all types of pieces, but skinny jeans and simple tops are effortless with low-profile sneakers. When you want to dress up, you’ll want to upgrade to high-tops and pair your footwear with high-waisted jeans and a flannel, crop top or designer shirt.
Some ladies may also want to consider a shirt dress with a denim jacket, jeans with a cool band shirt and a leather biker jacket or a cute dress with no-show socks to take their look to the next level. Converse sneakers come in many different colorways such as pink or floral prints that pair nicely with sundresses, providing that balance of sporty and feminine that trendy women would love.
To create a smart casual look, you can go for a gold-buttoned navy blazer and skinny khakis. With this stylish outfit, you can choose an earth-tone cable-knit turtleneck on cooler days or a sexy silk camisole shirt in the summer.
Which Are More Comfortable: Vans or Converse Shoes?
Converse shoes are generally more comfortable than Vans. While Vans shoes eventually conform to your foot, the insoles are thin and lack arch support. Compared, Converse sneakers boast genuine athletic features. Chuck Taylors were made for actual basketball players.
Since Converse is owned by Nike, some of their footwear comes equipped with the same technology such as the company’s full-length Lunarlon insoles, which are known to provide extra stability and cushion.
It is important to note that Vans slip-ons are extremely comfortable and provide excellent short-term comfort for walking, skating and lifting.
Generally speaking, Vans and Converse are comfortable shoes that are great for everyday wear.
Vans vs Converse Sizing
Vans shoes fit true to size so you can go for your usual sneaker number with any model. Converse shoes fit a half size bigger than most sneakers so you should always go a half size down.
If you put Converse Chuck Taylors side by side with Vans Sk8-His, you’ll see that Chucks are noticeably longer. While similar, Converse Chucks are about a half size bigger than the Vans Sk8-Hi shoes so you’ll want to order accordingly when comparing sizes.
Men and women with narrow feet might have to go a full-size down. Those who wear extra wides can go for their average sneaker number size.