Last Updated on September 3, 2023 by Martina McKeough
If you own skate shoes or sneaker-style footwear then invariably you will know of both Vans and Converse. Both have their own unique style but which is more comfortable for walking around in? Should you choose Vans or Converse for walking or is there a better alternative to protect your feet?
It is surprising how many people are not aware of the differences between these popular shoe brands and whether either makes comfortable walking shoes. So here’s what I can tell you about the two different brands and whether you should be wearing them for extended periods of time.
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Are Vans Shoes Good For Walking?
So let’s start with talking about Vans. These are skate shoes that I know that my goddaughter and her brothers love. They tend to wear the classic slip-on style shoe and they all own a number of pairs which means they definitely find them comfortable shoes.
Vans are great for general walking around even though they were originally designed for skateboarding but I personally do not believe that Vans shoes are good for long walks or for wearing for extended periods of time especially if we are talking about the original Vans sneakers designs.
Whilst they are good casual shoes there are a number of areas where Vans fall down. In particular their lack of support and cushioning. These are not shoes or sneakers for long-distance walking or running.
Some of the alternative Vans styles fare better which I’ll discuss later.
Is Converse Good For Walking?
Converse sneakers which my goddaughter and niece own are also hugely popular shoes. They love them because they are stylish in a casual way and go with so many outfits. They don’t particularly wear them for walking huge distances but they do wear them around the neighborhood for long periods of time.
As an older wearer, I wanted to love them but I found that their flat soles and lack of cushioning made them feel super uncomfortable. I do have flat feet and tendonitis in one of my feet which doesn’t help but generally, I am not a fan of Converse shoes. In fact, my pair got consigned to the back of my closet because I couldn’t get on with them.
The fact is that Converse shoes have even less cushioning and support than Vans because of their flatter sole. If you have problem feet this means that they aren’t so good for everyday wear.
Certainly, Converse themselves would also agree that their standard Chuck Taylors haven’t been designed for lots of walking.
There are plenty of other brands and styles that offer better alternatives for walking long distances. Vans and Converse classic-style footwear should be for casual wear only. Remember that shoes can’t always multi-task and you often may need a number of different designs and styles for different occasions and activities.
Which Vans Are The Most Comfortable For Walking?
Whilst most people associate Vans shoes with their slip-on classic styles the brand does in fact manufacture a huge range of different shoes and sneakers. If you are looking for additional comfort for walking then you need to look at their ComfyCush range which comes in lace up styles as well as slip-ons.
The ComfyCush range has a couple of extra features that make Vans shoes easier to wear for walking.
Firstly they have a softer and more cushioned footbed which makes them significantly easier to wear when walking. Part of the reason I dislike skater-style shoes is because of the lack of cushioning but the new styles help to minimize this problem.
Secondly, Vans have added more arch support to stabilize your feet. Arch support is crucial for many people especially if they have flat feet like I do. Whilst the arch support is still not as good as it would be it is significantly better than in their standard designs.
So when we talk about Vans or Converse for walking does this now mean they are suitable for distance walking or hikes? Well sadly no. ComfyCush Vans styles are still designed for casual wear and walking short distances. You will still need a better style of shoe or sneaker for extended walking or hiking.
Best Converse For Walking?
Converse shoes like Vans also have a number of different styles which vary in degrees of comfort. Interestingly enough the brand did come up with two styles with extra comfort the Chuck Taylor ii and the Converse One Star but even though they were a more comfortable shoe the brand discontinued making them.
This is interesting and shows that although I may want extra comfort Converse footwear is primarily bought by a young demographic who are less likely to need arch support and cushioning.
Currently, the most comfortable Converse for walking and everyday wear at the moment is the Chuck 70. These have a more cushioned footbed and better durability and traction. Some versions also have an OrthoLite insole which adds cushioning and arch support.
Just like Vans shoes none of their current range of footwear is really designed for long walks or hiking.
Are Vans More Comfortable That Converse?
So if you were to choose Vans or Converse for walking which are the most comfortable?
I’ll start by mentioning that often it comes down to personal style and preference. Some people can’t get enough of Converse shoes whilst others are going to be Vans Sneakers fans. These are two popular shoe brands with lots of fans on either side.
I do however have an opinion and in my case, I would much prefer to wear Vans than Converse. This is because they have a thicker sole and a little more cushioning. I also find that they are better for my wide feet.
I found the thin soles and lack of cushion on my Converse sneakers so bad that I stopped wearing them because they felt so uncomfortable.
Of course not everyone will have my opinion and there will be of be people who prefer Converse vs Vans.
Are Vans and Converse the Same?
The strange thing about Vans Vs Converse is that because they are both casual footwear with a canvas outsole many people think they are the same. The reality is that Vans and Converse are two very different shoes.
Vans have a flat sole to help with skateboarding which is what they were originally designed for. Converse Chucks on the other hand have thinner soles and the classic design is lace-up rather than slip-on.
These design differences aren’t the only thing that is different between the two.
Difference Between Converse and Vans
If you are considering Vans or Converse for walking short distances then it is good to know the big differences between the two types of shoes. Here are some of the reasons why you may choose one shoe over the other.
One big area where the two types of footwear differ is with regard to cushioning. The classic Vans shoes tend to have thicker and more cushioned insoles. This makes a huge difference to comfort levels when you are walking or standing for any significant period of time. The lack of cushioning in Converse was a deal breaker for me.
Vans also have a better level of arch support in their sneakers than Converse although neither is perfect. This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker however as buying an arch support orthotic and slipping it inside your shoe can work so that you get the support and stability you need.
Many Vans tend to have memory foam insoles which can make the shoe feel considerably more comfortable. This is probably part of the reason why Vans generally cost more than Converse. However, I add insoles to most of my shoes to get extra comfort so there is no reason why you couldn’t do the same with Converse to make them more comfortable.
When it comes to the outsoles both Vans and Converse tend to primarily use canvas material. You should find that Converse has a softer material which is more flexible which makes them easier to wear for some people.
Toe Box Shape
If you have wider feet then Vans shoes are going to be more helpful because they have a more rounded toe box and the general width of their shoes is slightly larger. Converse is known for being narrower which can be problematic for some people.
If you don’t like heavy shoes then Vans do tend to be lighter but as both brands have a canvas upper and rubber bottom they are not super heavy like some boots or leather shoes.
Finally, Vans have a more supportive heel design than Converse. This doesn’t just help with comfort and stability but it also can help if you suffer from a problem such as plantar fasciitis.
Better Shoes and Sneakers For Walking Longer Distances
Whilst Vans and Converse shoes are fine for casual wear and walking short distances they are really not suitable for long-distance walking or hikes. Therefore it makes sense to invest in a pair of sneakers or shoes that can cope with more significant walks.
Yes of course it costs more to buy another pair of shoes but wearing casual shoes for the wrong purpose can cause foot pain. It makes far more sense to own a more athletic shoe if you are planning to walk considerable distances.
Here are some of my favorites that will be much better for your feet.
Running shoes can often double up as walking shoes and Hoka makes some of the best on the market. My sister-in-law loves her Hoka sneakers for running and walking around Adelaide and in her opinion they are better than Brooks which is one of my other recommendations that my husband wears.
These are lightweight, have great cushioning, and also have considerable arch support for a running shoe. This makes them the perfect shoe for walking long distances. Note that these are not hiking shoes which I’ll talk about later.
As my husband wears Brooks shoes they get a mention as well. Whilst this brand is better known for its running shoes they also have a walking shoe the Brooks Addiction Walker 2 that has rave reviews.
These have a leather upper which is great for durability and good traction which is great when you are walking outdoors in all weathers. They are also supportive and have great cushioning which makes them incredibly comfortable. It is worth noting that they are also certified diabetic shoes.
Whilst sneakers might work well for long walks you really need something a little bit more robust if you are going hiking in more challenging terrains.
Hiking shoes need to be durable, have great traction, and be waterproof as well as having great comfort and cushioning. If you are a little more serious with your walking then you can’t go far from with the Keen Targhee 3 Hiking boots.
These are supportive and breathable as well as waterproof meaning your feet won’t get too sweaty when you are wearing them.
So when it comes down to Vans or Converse for walking remember that they are great casual shoes but they are not going to be comfortable enough for any significant walking.
Think about buying more comfortable shoes or sneakers for longer walks and save your casual shoes for short walks around the neighborhood. There are plenty of alternatives out there for sneaker enthusiasts when you look and your feet will thank you for it in the longer term.
Find Out More About Vans Shoes
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