Converse vs Vans

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On the left, a pair of black and white Converse high-tops. On the right, a pair of white and black chequered Vans high-tops on a rusted green metal floor.
Credit: Rachael Ren & Maria Fernanda Pissioli

Since Converse and Vans are two of the most popular trainers for everyday wear, you may have wondered what the differences are between them.

That said, it's hard to decide which is better between them as both brands have been consistently producing some of their best sneakers in recent years. Therefore, it's the perfect time to learn more about these two revolutionary sneaker brands to help you make an informed decision on which to buy.

So, to decide which of the two to buy, we've created a guide that compares some of the similarities and differences between their price tags and designs before giving our overall opinion on the two sneaker brands.

So, to kick things off, let's go back to where it all began by discussing the history behind Converse and Vans sneakers...


Converse was the first of the two companies to launch, debuting in 1908 as the Converse Rubber Shoe Company in Massachusetts, USA.

Back then, the company specialised in a type of rubber footwear called galoshes. However, by 1915, the company started to develop athletic footwear to improve sales.

This eventually spawned the first Converse All Stars which, as evidenced by these Chuck Taylor All Stars, are arguably some of the best high-tops on the market, which still get made to this day thanks to their timeless design.

Converse product image of a white and black Chuck Taylor All Star.
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Credit: Converse

The Chuck Taylor name was later added in honour of Charles Hollis “Chuck” Taylor, a basketball player-turned-salesman and ambassador for the brand.

This is because the Converse All Stars were originally some of the best basketball shoes around worn by legends such as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

However, recent years have seen them transition into some of the most versatile lifestyle sneakers tailored more towards the fashion industry, as exhibited by the Devin Brooker x Converse Chuck 70s and the Patta x Converse One Star Pros.

Patta x Converse One Star Pro "Four Leaf Clover" product image of a fluffy brown pair of shoes with white soles and featuring four leaf clover symbols in green on the sides.
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Credit: Converse

Fast-forward to 1966 to see the debut of The Van Doren Rubber Company opened in California by brothers Paul Van Doren and Jim Van Doren, along with partners Gordon Lee and Serge Delia.

The brand gained popularity in the early '70s as skateboarders took a liking to the rugged design of the Style #44 deck shoes, now more commonly known today as the Vans Authentics.

Vans product image of a classic black and white pair of Authentic's.
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Credit: Vans

Vans leaned into their popularity within the skateboarding community by releasing more colourful #95s, now known as the Eras, and #36s, known as the Old Skools with the now infamous side stripes.

The first Sk8-Hi was introduced in 1978 as well, giving skaters an even more functional pair of sneakers due to the additional ankle protection and support.

Vans product image of black and white high-top Sk8-Hi's.
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Credit: Schuh

Due to their timeless designs, both brands are still thriving to this day, releasing new colourways and designs each year that are, more often than not, universally loved.


With their histories covered, you may now be wondering which of the two sneakers is the cheapest.

Generally speaking, Converse and Vans shoes are similarly priced across most models. This is evidenced by these "Black White" Old Skools costing around the same as a comparable pair of "White" Chuck Taylor All Stars.

Converse product image of white Chuck Taylor All Star's with red and blue accents.
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Credit: Pro:Direct

However, you may find some Converse models to be slightly more expensive than Vans, particularly if you're looking at the brand's top-of-the-range options.

The difference isn't huge though, which is worth keeping in mind when deciding between the two.

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On the surface, both sneakers can appear quite similar in their designs, particularly as they're both typically made from canvas.

That said, there are some subtle differences between the two. For example, Converse shoes tend to be narrower than Vans, making them a little challenging to wear for those with wider feet.

A pair of black Converse All Star's next to black Vans Old Skool's.
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Credit: Converse and Vans

However, Converse sneakers are incredibly varied, offering both low and high tops in almost every colour imaginable. Ultimately, this makes them versatile as there is usually a style of Converse sneakers out there to suit every outfit.

Vans, on the other hand, tend to be super functional thanks to the brand's skateboarding background and aim to be the best skate shoes on the market. Not only are the shoes rugged, but they're also incredibly grippy due to their non-slip rubber outsoles for skating.

They also feature additional padding around the heels, mainly for protection; however, the padding should also help increase how comfortable they are to wear.

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Converse vs Vans: Which should you buy?


Picking between Vans and Converse is like choosing between Jordan 1s and Air Force 1s - a tough decision that ultimately depends on your personal style and taste. But let's be real, you're here for some guidance, right?

If you're looking for kicks that'll withstand a skateboarding thrashing, Vans are the way to go. But for everyday wear, we'd have to say that Converse shoes are a winner, thanks to their versatile design that can easily match any outfit in your wardrobe.

Now, don't get us wrong - Converse sneakers can sometimes be a bit pricier than Vans, but usually only by a smidge. Still, it's always a good idea to try both pairs on before making your final decision, especially if you're torn between the two.

So, which is it going to be? Grab some Vans or Converse and make a statement with your style!

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