Are Vans Barefoot Shoes? Everything You Need to Know

The simple answer is no. But there’s more to the story. Presently, Vans are the most desirable footwear, but they might not be the best. Many people like them because they’re comfortable and affordable. However, some think they’re bad for your health.

In contrast, new users feel uncomfortable in Barefoot shoes. They also complain about their high prices. But experts state that barefoot shoes are good for health that revive the tissues and muscles present in the feet and legs. In addition, you feel the texture of the earth and vividly experience nature.

You can convert your vans into barefoot shoes if you can’t decide between Vans and barefoot shoes. This way, you can transition at a reasonable price and see if it works for you or not.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the topic.

What’s the Difference Between Vans and Barefoot Shoes?

striped vans on street

Vans and its Advantages

Vans is a time-tested shoe brand providing comfortable cushioned footwear to its customers. In addition, vans shoes have a thick rubber layer to preserve your feet from hard and uneven surfaces.

  • In addition, they possess padding in the arch and toe area to provide stability and ease while walking.

Disadvantages of Vans

However, according to some, this much comfortability can be unhealthy. The padding for stability and ease can result in weak sensors and less responsive muscles.

  • This way, you will lose contact with nature, vital for living beings.

Disadvantages of Barefoot Shoes

On the other hand, Barefoot shoes don’t refer to a brand but a type of shoes. Barefoot or minimalist shoes might not be as comfortable and ease-providing as vans.

  • There’s no padding to save you from hard and harsh surfaces or blisters.

Advantages of Barefoot Shoes

Unlike vans, they let you connect with the earth and nature. Your feet sense every inch under them, and your muscles respond.

They don’t alter the structure of your feet and have good space for your toes to move.

  • In addition, barefoot shoes have thin, lightweight soles, which help them run faster.

Barefoot Is the Natural Way of Walking

kid wearing red vans on wooden bridge

Today, technology has taken over our lives, and we seek comfort. But this wasn’t always the case. Humans are born barefoot and have walked barefoot for most of human history.

They had no problem with it until recently. But then converted the natural soil and grass into stones and concrete for our ease. Hence, most of us are unable to walk barefoot.

Even though Barefoot shoes don’t protect against hard surfaces, they offer more flexibility than Vans. They have minimalistic soles which are very flexible. You can receive most of the feedback through your sensors from the earth.

  • Feedback is necessary because your muscles work according to feedback. If there is no or low feedback, the muscles won’t respond effectively. That’s why our feet go numb occasionally.

Running in Vans vs. Barefoot Shoes

someone in new vans without socks

When I compared Van and barefoot shoes while running, I felt Vans were better. They were more comfortable, and I could hit the ground as hard or quick as possible. But these benefits turned out to be superficial and even harmful from a medical point of view.

Let me explain.

How Shoes Affect Mechanics of Your Feet

When you wear Vans while running, you strike the ground with your heel. It is an efficient way to cover more ground with less time and effort. But the impact that the heel receives is absorbed by the shoe and your knee. As a result, your knee can develop problems.

  • This way of running is beneficial in the short run but harmful in the long run.

In contrast, you don’t hit the ground with your heels when running in barefoot shoes. It hurts. You land on the ball of your foot and go for the next step. This way, the impact is absorbed by your foot’s arch and the calf muscle, leaving joints out of it.

Moreover, you will take smaller and quicker steps. Consequently, you will lean forward instead of upward and consume less energy to reach your goal.

Which Shoe to Wear While Training

a man with vans and skateboard in halfpipe

Training means exercising and using your tissues, organs, and muscles. All your muscles should move and practice. In this case, Barefoot shoes are your best friends. When under heavy loads during training, you need stress to improve.

Barefoot shoes don’t support the arch and force it to bear and respond to the stress.

  • That’s how minimal shoes provide the best experience and health benefits.

In contrast, if you do jumping, skipping, or sprinting, you need shoes that will protect your feet. If you are training on a hard surface like concrete, you should opt for Vans.

Don’t Adopt Barefoot Shoes: Transition to Barefoot Shoes

someone sitting with black vans shoes on stairs

THEY INTRIGUED ME when I saw different ads and pictures of barefoot shoes. I wanted a change and started consuming content related to barefoot shoes. But soon came across studies stating that many people get hurt, develop blisters, etc.

At first, I dropped the idea but, then I read more and found out that people usually abruptly adopt barefoot shoes. So, if you want to switch from traditional to minimal footwear, you have to transition to minimal shoe step by step.

  • Initially, you must walk on grass and soft soil.
  • Then, go from grass to sidewalks and concrete to get used to it.
  • After some time, you will walk in jungles and go hiking in them.

Can I convert Vans into Barefoot Shoes?

someone walking with vans on wooden bridge

Yes, you can. Try this method if you are unsure whether you should transition from Vans to barefoot shoes. It does need some work, but you will get your pair of barefoot shoes without spending extra bucks.

Many Vans are zero-drop. They have thin outer soles and removable inner soles. Remove the inner sole and replace it with a slim and flexible sole. Give the shoes finishing touches and test your barefoot shoes.

The method best works with The Old Skool and The Original models of Vans.

Vans Men's Low-Top Trainers Sneaker, Mixed Camo Black White, 9.5*
  • Double-Stitched Upper for Durability
  • Metal Eyelets
  • Padded Tongue & Collar


Both; Vans and Barefoot shoes have their importance. They serve different purposes and provide different experiences. However, from a health and medical point of view, barefoot shoes are the better choice.

They provide a wide area for the toes for natural adjustment and movement. The lack of cushions in the heel and arch area means healthy feet and strong legs. In addition, they don’t force your feet to reshape and adjust to the shape of the shoes.

In contrast, Vans lack these features in the name of comfort and ease.

Therefore, I prefer and wear barefoot shoes for walking and running. I can walk around in it on hard and uneven surfaces comfortably to sink in nature and feel every bit of it.

Feel Grounded


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