Vans is a brand that, like Converse or Doc Martens before it, transformed a shoe made for a particular purpose into a fashion icon. Shoes such as Vans embody California’s laid-back, casual cool. They are defined by their low-profile canvas construction and narrow laces.
But you don’t have to buy Vans to get the look. Vans alternatives provide more options, such as lower prices, a wider range of colors and patterns, and shoes produced with eco-conscious and ethical materials.
Even if sport shoes are not your thing, every man can benefit from having a pair of thick-soled slip ons in his collection. This style has been given a sleek, elegant look by many brands. Shoes that look like Vans promote easy living. A casual look that is easy to achieve.
That being said, let’s take a look at the best 8 kicks like Vans below.
The Key Takeaways
In order to find the best Vans-like sneakers, I searched the web, read reviews and even looked through my own closet until I came up with the list of seven finalists that you can see below.
Overall, the best shoes like Vans are Cariuma Catbia Pro because they’re built for skaters, with board feel, traction, and comfort thanks to ankle stability, arch support, and memory foam. Seavees Hawthorne slip-ons are a good choice. The Hawthorne from Seavees has a durable outsole with a supple footbed and cooling airflow channels.
Why it’s Great: It doesn’t just look like a killer skate sneaker, it’s built like one, too. Cariuma, founded in 2018 by Brazilians who were united over their passion for surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding, is a surprising shoe. Built with board feel, traction, and comfort, it’s got the same gummy bottom as Vans Old Skool—with ankle stability and reinforced flick point to boot. As for construction, it’s all premium, including a fully stitched outsole with 100% slip-resistance to last you a lifetime.
What it feels like: Because it’s meant to support the foot all day in sport, the Catbia is wildly comfortable on the foot, thanks to arch support designed to mimic the natural shape of the foot, a springy cork insole, and cozy memory foam.
Flaws are not dealbreakers Honestly, I can’t find any. All materials are biodegradable, natural and organic. Even the laces are made from recycled plastic. Even the price is approachable—under the $100 mark.
Sizes Available: 5-13 | Colors Available: 13 | Material: Suede, organic canvas cotton, natural rubber and bio-based cork | Care: Spot Clean
Why it’s Great: Yes, it’s possible to dress up shoes similar to Vans, especially if they’re made from stunning suede calf leather. Velasca takes pride in the quality of its leather, which is all made by hand. It’s gorgeous and minimal, and designed with a light box bottom sole that pays respect to the tradition of sneaker culture.
What it feels like: With two beautiful tones to choose from, I’d say they’re great for a refined yet casual all-purpose look. You can have a cocktail on your veranda while the sun is setting or even go for a casual lunch.
There are flaws, but they’re not fatal. Designed for walking, I wish I could say this shoe could do more, but I think it’s all about looks here.
Sizes Available: 6-13 | Colors Available: 2 | Material: Suede calf Leather, Rubber | Care: Spot Clean
Why it’s Great: It wouldn’t be a Vans-adjacent list without a killer high top option. I couldn’t help but highlight another Cariuma pair, especially when you consider their use of sustainable materials, ethical factory operations, and strict code of conduct. As for the shoe, it’s clean, fresh, and attractive, with a vegan cork insole for tons of support and rebound. They’re lightweight on the foot, yet durable thanks to vulcanized rubber.
What it feels like: Many reviewers have said that they feel more cushioned than Vans. They are highly wearable because of the memory foam, ankle support and cotton canvas.
There are some flaws in the design, but these are not major problems. Because it’s canvas, the shoes will absorb water in inclement weather, unfortunately.
Sizes Available: 5-13 | Colors Available: 2 | Material: 100% cotton | Care: Spot Clean
Why it’s Great: The Vans brand was created with the same spirit and nonchalance.
What it feels like: Durable and lightweight, these shoes feel amazing on your feet. You can remove the insole if you need to.
There are flaws, but they’re not fatal. While I love the looks and feel, there could be more gripping and traction.
Sizes Available: 5-15 | Colors Available: 113 | Material: Calfskin Leather | Care: Spot Clean
Why it’s Great: Casual footwear is especially popular in the slip-on style. This pair from Lugz has all the right details, including a breathable lining that’s perfect for summer, a padded collar so it doesn’t rub, and stretchy gore panels so it’s easy to slip off and on. Oh, and don’t forget a highly cushioned insole. The quality is exceptional for a budget shoe. It is a great pair of shoes for the money.
What it feels like: I love that they come in a variety of attractive neutrals to pair back to khakis, jeans, shorts—basically your entire casual wardrobe. If you’re looking for that fresh white pair, they have it (cleaner not included).
There are flaws, but they’re not fatal. One look at that thick vulcanized rubber sole and you can imagine it’s on the heavier side.
Sizes Available: 3.5-16 | Colors Available: 29 | Material: 100% canvas, rubber | Care: Spot Clean
Why it’s Great: Sperry shares the same tradition as Vans. Sperry was the pioneer of deck shoes that were designed for maximum grip at sea. The Striper II boasts a flexible rubber sole with Wave-Siping molded into it for increased traction. It has a similar low-top, easy slip-on look to Vans Original, with a secure fitting.
What it feels like: This versatile canvas shoe is available in many colors to match with your favorite summer shorts.
There are flaws, but they’re not fatal. The Striper II, while Sperry has a Seacycled shoe line made of recycled plastics, is synthetic.
Sizes Available: 4-16 | Colors Available: 26 | Material: 100% Synthetic Twill Rubber | Care: Spot Clean
Why it’s Great: Seavees make some of the best Vans-like shoes you’ve likely never heard of. That’s because the brand took a 40-year hiatus after originally launching the first casual sneaker in 1964, before returning with vengeance in 2008. Hawthorne is the name of the Beach Boys’ hometown. Their Legend sneakers are similar to Vans. It might look straight-forward, but it’s all about comfort, solid construction, and an insanely powerful grip at the sole from natural vulcanized rubber.
What it feels like: The cotton poplin fabric is casual, but the memory foam footbed with airflow channels provides cooling comfort. Ideal for hot weather.
Flaws are not dealbreakers Some people may not like the logo visible on the sole.
Sizes Available: 7-16 | Colors Available: 14 | Material: Cotton poplin, suede | Care: Spot Clean
Vans Shoes: What to Consider When Buying?
Vans are available in slip-ons, high-tops, authentic or old school styles. There are many shoes that look like Vans, some of which, like Cariuma do so even better.
Typically, the style determines the occasion, with the slip-on variety being the most suitable for ‘dressier’ moments. Old skool and high top shoes are the best for sports, but it is important to note that they are not designed for gym, running or training.
Shoes similar to Vans are made with ethical and sustainable practices. Many of the shoes on this list are made from recycled plastic and natural rubber, as well as bio-based cork.
The materials used are also more durable and supportive of the body. The uppers of most Vans shoes are canvas. Some alternatives include leather, suede or cotton poplin.
Comfort might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not guaranteed. The shoes on this page were all carefully selected for their comfort and cool factor. It’s mainly the footbed, insole and padded collar that make a difference.
Memory foam and cork cushion like a dream. Vans shoes are made more comfortable by the addition of ankle support and arch support.
Why You Should Trust Us
I’m a fashion and grooming writer as Fashionbeans, which means researching and highlighting the best products isn’t just my job, it’s my passion. My years of experience in the fashion industry has informed all my decisions. I consult trusted sources, as well as my own closet, to truly understand what makes quality products so great, both in terms function and style.
I began with dozens and then narrowed them down to seven top choices that would be best for a variety of customers. I want everyone to find their perfect Vans shoes.
Cariuma Catiba Pro, for example, is the perfect shoe to wear with Vans. It should be simple, casual, and very comfortable. This shoe is not only stylish, but it was designed specifically for skateboarding. It provides board feel and arch support.
You can find out more about this by clicking here.
Cariuma, for example, makes shoes that look like Vans and are specifically designed for skateboarding.
Seavees, for example, makes durable, wearable sneakers that reflect the Californian lifestyle, which is laid back and outdoorsy.
Cariuma’s, Seavees’, and Sperry’s slip-ons, old-school sneakers, and hightops are all similar to Vans.