How to Break in Vans [3 Easy Methods]

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Written By Logan Adler
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Vans are a classic California skating shoe that are great when you’re going for a more casual look. If you’re wondering how to break in Vans, we’ve got some pointers you can start using right away to make your new pair feel more comfortable.

Vans are durable shoes and breaking them in is easy. In short, you can walk, bend, or even blow dry them. Whatever type of Vans shoes you have, these methods will work.

Table of Contents

How to Break in Vans Slip Ons

Vans slip ons are one of the staple styles the company offers. With that, we are going to jump right in and talk about how to break in this specific style. Here are several methods that are useable and easy to help you break in your new pair of slip on Vans.

  1. Wear your Vans slip ons indoors: Let your feet adjust to the new shoes by wearing them around your house for a few days.
  2. Use a hairdryer: If the shoes are tight or uncomfortable, use a hairdryer to warm them up. The material will become softer and easier to stretch as a result. Overheating the shoes can damage the material, so be careful.
  3. Wear them with thick socks: To stretch out Vans slip ons, pair them with thick socks.. Socks will stretch the shoes and make them more comfortable.
  4. Stretch them with a shoe stretcher: If your Vans are too tight in certain places, think about using a shoe stretcher to make them more comfortable. The shoes will break in more quickly and become more comfortable this way.
  5. Walk in them regularly: Vans slip ons will naturally break in and fit to your feet the more you wear them. If you’re persistent and patient, you’ll notice that your shoes get more comfortable with time.

A Brief History of Vans

Paul and Jim Van Doren, two brothers, created Vans in 1966. Their first store was located at 704 E. Broadway in Anaheim, California.

They formally launched for business on March 16th of that year, and on that same day, the first 12 pairs of Vans were manufactured and sold from their East Broadway location.

Over the next few years, Vans became very popular among skateboarders as they loved the shoes’ sticky soles. By the 1970s, Vans were on the feet of skaters all throughout Southern California

The “Off the Wall” logo makes its debut in 1976

In 1977, the Old Skool, makes its first appearance with the Vans Sidestripe.

The Sidestripe began as a haphazard doodle by inventor Paul Van Doren, which he dubbed the “jazz stripe.” The Vans Sidestripe is now one of the most known symbols in casual footwear and a trademark of the company.

Vans Old Skool

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03/09/2024 03:22 am GMT

Another key Van’s staple is born in 1977. The Classic Slip-Ons came to life with input from local BMX and skateboarders in the Southern California area. The Slip-Ons were an instant sensation, but they really skyrocketed in popularity after Sean Penn wore them in the 1982 classic film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Check out the video below for more Vans history and milestones.

What are Vans Made Out of?

The soles of Vans are made using vulcanized rubber.

Vulcanization is a multi-step procedure for hardening rubber. The rubber is first immersed in sulfur, then heated and molded into the required shape.

The shoe’s upper area consists of long-lasting canvas and suede. Vans uses these materials because they can survive the high temperatures involved in the vulcanization process. Other materials, such as nylon or EVA foam, might melt as a result of the heat put off during the course of vulcanization.

3 Methods to Break Vans in

1. Wear Them Around the House

This one seems obvious, but simply wearing your Vans around the house as much as possible will break then in quickly.

  1. Put your Vans and wear socks
  2. Walk around your home, and where possible up and down stairs
  3. After about 10-15 minutes, or once you feel discomfort, take your Vans off
  4. Repeat these steps as needed

2. Bending Method

Vans are for active lifestyles, and because of that, they can easily withstand a little bending.

  1. Grab the toe of your shoe in one hand, and the heel in the other
  2. Carefully bend your shoe inwards by compressing the toe towards the heel
  3. Spend 5 to 10 minutes bending your shoes and make sure you feel resistance as you’re curving them
  4. Repeat steps with the opposite shoe

3. Hairdryer Method

  1. Put your hairdryer on Medium heat
  2. Hold the hairdryer about 6 inches away from your Vans
  3. Move the hairdryer around your shoes for 30 to 45 second intervals
  4. Repeat as needed

How Long do Vans Take to Break in?

Vans don’t take long to break in. Depending on the method you choose, you can break your Vans in as quickly as a day.

That said, no matter how you do it, after a few days of wearing them, your feet should feel much more comfortable inside you Vans.

Wrapping Up

Breaking in your Vans is straight forward, but may take a few days before you feel fully comfortable wearing them regularly. They are a perfect shoe for more casual occasions and pair nicely with jeans, shorts, or chinos.

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Logan Adler
I enjoy good bourbon, cool gear, and well-made clothing. When I'm not writing for The Bullfighter, you can catch me playing chess or practicing jiu-jitsu. Happy to connect on Instagram or drop me an email at

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