Are Vans Good for Lifting? An In-Depth Overview

Written By Sunny

Are you confused about whether or not to use Vans for lifting? It’s totally fine if you are, as I’ve been there too!

Don’t worry! Being a huge Vans enthusiast, I know a thing or two. You’ll be surprised to know about the versatility these shoes offer.

So, let’s get to the point first: Are Vans suitable for lifting?


In simple terms, Yes!  Vans are suitable for lifting if you’re a casual lifter or you’re on a budget. Vans shoes have rugged, flat soles that are great for lifting and other leg day exercises. They cost less than regular lifting shoes and are more reliable compared to running shoes.

Now that you have your answer. Allow me to indulge you in some interesting facts that could be pretty handy before you go lifting in Van’s shoes. Go through the analysis carefully to know it all.

5 Reasons Vans Are Good for Lifting

While Vans are quite good for lifting! However, they do lag behind the likes of Chuck Taylors (commonly known as Converse) or traditional lifting shoes. What really attracts lifters to Vans is the price and the availability. You can easily get yourself a pair of Vans at an affordable price.

I’ve listed five excellent reasons that make Vans capable of the job.

Here are reasons why Vans are Good for Lifting:

1. Vans have flat, non-slip and firm soles


The prominent reason Vans are soles is that they are eligible for lifting. The flat soles are non-slip as well as firm. Why are flat soles good for lifting? Flat soles offer increased friction, which boosts ground reaction force, allowing for a more substantial training response.

The soles being firm is equally important. Why so? Firm soles are crucial because they make it easier to push up from the ground when you’re lifting.

On the other hand, squishy soles make it challenging to lift your weight off the ground. The reason is you have to brace against the softer surface in the shoes, which is why running shoes are not at all recommended.

Check out our separate post: What Is The Return Policy For Vans.

2. Vans are zero-drop shoes

Vans shoes were made for skateboarding in particular and they’ve been zero-drop from the very beginning. What is zero-drop? It means there’s no drop in the shoe’s sole, starting from the heel to the toe.

What makes the zero-drop factor suitable? The zero-drop factor is so good because it provides excellent stability, which is crucial for lifting weight.

Lifters prefer less arch support because it pushes the arch to do more work and allows the lifters to feel the floor to a greater extent—an essential aspect in exercise such as deadlifts on squats, where stability is critical.

3. Vans have both high-top and low-top shoes.


Frankly speaking, it’s your choice whether you prefer high-top or low-top shoes. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed it, but most traditional lifting shoes are low on top.

So, what’s the advantage of high tops? High-top shoes stretch above the ankle, which aids in maintaining the normal posture of the body. On the other hand, low-top shoes allow you to keep your ankle open for an extra bit of flexibility.

Now that you know, you can choose the variant that suits you the most.

You may check out who is the ultimate winner between Vans Doheny Vs Authentic.

4. Vans shoes allow proper air circulation.

Vans shoes are made up of superior quality Canvas. What is Canvas, you ask? It’s a plain-woven fabric made by tightly weaving yarns together in a plain weave, usually made out of cotton and linen to some extent.

Canvas is known for its durability and sturdiness and, ofcourse, its breathability. The sturdiness keeps your feet locked in one place and the breathability means there’s no internal heating. You’ll also be happy to know Canvas is very lightweight. It sounds like the complete package, doesn’t it?

5. Vans shoes are durable and affordable.

As mentioned earlier, Vans were made keeping skateboarding in mind. Skateboarding involves swift heel-to-toe movement and lateral movement. Keeping these in mind, the lateral steam and the toe box were made sturdy enough to endure all the opposing forces. Otherwise, the shoes simply wouldn’t last.

All in one, Vans will last for a long time to come if you use them for lifting in particular.

If you’re a casual lifter or on a tight budget, investing in a Vans pair should be a priority. Lifting shoes cost around $200, whereas Vans cost less than half the amount.

I know Vans aren’t tailor-made for lifting but when the situation arrives where you can’t afford lifting shoes, Vans aren’t that bad.

Related content you should read: Are Vans Non Slip Shoes.

Can You Squat Wearing a Pair of Vans?

Squats require you to push against the ground, and it doesn’t matter how rugged or durable your sole is. The firmness matters! The firmness of the sole allows you to push against the ground. Vans’ signature flat soles bring your foot as close to the ground as possible.

Vans shoes are equipped with flat, firm, and non-slip soles. One thing I haven’t mentioned much is the squishiness of the soles. Vans soles are squishy, along with the other qualities they possess.

All of these features combine so that you can push against the ground with great energy. While it’s specific, you can squat in these shoes. Unfortunately, the experience won’t be as good as using traditional lifting shoes.

Exercises You Should Avoid Using Vans

While there are few activities you can do using Vans, a few exercises are not suited to this particular shoe. Why so? Primarily because the design of the shoes doesn’t allow you to execute them properly.

Also, check out our separate post: Vans Authentic Vs. Old Skool.

Here are the exercises you should avoid in Van’s shoes:

Any kind of agility exercise

Agility boosters such as jump box drills, lateral plyometric jumps, dot drills, etc. involve standing on your toes and require quick movement. The flat sole of Vans prevents you from standing on your toes and the design is simply not meant for quick movements. A pair of running shoes would be ideal for such exercises.


Lunges are a big “No” in Vans shoes. Why so? Lunges require bending your foot at the toe. Vans’ design makes it very difficult for you to execute lunges, and if done so, you may end up hurting yourself.

Any sort of calf exercise

Calf raises such as Jump rope, downward dog, standing wall calf stretch, etc require you to bend your toes to activate the calf muscles. This exercise, too, can not be executed properly due to Vans’ design. Calf raises are a great exercise but it’s for the better you avoid doing them in Van’s shoes.

Running Or Cardio

Yes, these aren’t lifting and you should avoid doing such exercises in shoes such as Converse, Vans, or any type of canvas shoes. These shoes are simply not suited for fitness exercises—a pair of running shoe complaint their exercises just fine.

Also read, Vans Classic Slip-Ons Vs Asher.

Vans Vs. Converse – Which One’s Better For Lifting?


Like Vans, Converse has a massive base of admirers. Also known as Chuck Taylors, these shoes have not changed in the last 50 years and remain evergreen. But are they any good when it comes to lifting?

The answer’s “Yes.” You’ll be surprised to know most lifters prefer Converse to Vans when it comes to lifting. Converse edges over Vans in this category by a slight margin.

Here are the reasons lifters prefer Converse over Vans.

Converse have flatter soles compared to Vans.

By now, you know the advantage of flat soles for lifting. Flat soles help you to push off the ground more efficiently. Converse, having incredibly flatter soles compared to other shoes, makes it a whole lot easier for lifters.

Chucks are cost-efficient

Like Vans, Converse is cheap too. In some cases, they offer a better value for money as well. So it’s up to you whether you choose a pair of Vans or Converse.

Converse are readily available

Compared to Vans or regular lifting shoes, Chucks are easy to find. You can walk into any store or visit any website to find a pair. The fact that they’ve been around for almost a century speaks volumes.

Chucks’ soles are less cushioned

On the bottom, Chucks have less cushioning than most shoes out there. Why does less cushioning matter? When you’re lifting or doing squats, you’re pushing up against the ground with your feet. When you’ve more cushioning, you’re pushing up off the first, then the ground.

Having less cushioning means more contact with the ground and more efficiency in lifting.

Converse are comfortable

Chucks are just comfortable! Maybe not on the same scale as original weight lifting shoes or slippers, but the comfort they offer is better than Vans.

Common Questions People Ask

Is it okay to wear Vans to the gym?

Yes, it’s okay to wear Vans to the gym but only when you’re lifting or doing squats. The design Vans have is just not meant for other exercises.

What are the best Vans shoes for lifting? 

While authentic vans are good for lifting, you’ve to keep in mind that not all of them are up to the mark. Models such as the Vans Authentic Shoes, Vans Atwood Shoes, and Vans Sk8-Hi Shoes are great for lifting or doing squats.

Is lifting in barefoot better than lifting in Vans?

Lifting barefoot is even better than lifting in actual lifting shoes. It is so because your feet are in direct contact with the ground without any layer in between. Your feet push directly against the ground which makes the whole process easier.

How long do Vans last?

Vans are relatively durable shoes and last longer compared to other shoes. On average, a pair lasts up to a couple of years. Their longevity depends on how you use them. But regular use will make them more prone to wear and tear and.

Happy Lifting

Now you know it all. Vans are suitable for lifting when you’re on a budget or doing it casually. If you pursue lifting professionally, then investing in a pair of actual lifting shoes would be ideal. Nonetheless, Vans do the job pretty well and save you money.

I hope my guide has helped you to conclude. If you’ve any confusion, feel free to let me know in the comment section.

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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