Shoes Like Vans: 25 Alternatives for Every Style

Shoes Like Vans
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Last Updated on July 2, 2022

After more than two decades, Vans footwear is still as famous as it was at its peak during the 90s. They are a symbol of the alternative skate community and its values, and truth be told, the mystic associated with the brand has only managed to grow over the years. 

Wearing Vans means something and there is no escaping it.

But, what if you wanted to leave behind all of the connotations that are associated with the brand and still rock the looks? Could it be done? We dived in deep and did the most thorough research you will ever find on the best Vans look-alike sneakers so you didn’t have to. 

For women and men…Slip Ons, high tops, low tops…Canvas shoes, leather shoes, vegan shoes…Embroidered, printed, monogrammed…You name it. We’ve got you covered! 

Read on to find out which Vans’ look-alike is the right one for you.

Fair warning
Chances are you won’t finish reading this list without adding a couple of items to your cart. Thankfully it’s that perfect time of the year to do some very early shopping for the holidays. You won’t be disappointed, there is something for everyone on this list!

Brands with Shoes Like Vans

#1. Converse shoes like Vans

Historically, Converse was Vans’ nemesis and its biggest competitor. I already covered all about their epic rivalry and history in a previous blog post, so read here if I’ve got you curious!

This brand really looks a lot like the Old Skool Vans… The All-Stars logo is their biggest giveaway but in truth, both their low tops and high tops differ quite a bit in construction. 

Mainly, they have a rubber pointer and a long stitched tongue that runs all over the top, with shiny and pronounced eyelets, whereas Vans have a shorter tongue, canvas upper pointers, and a supportive collar.

They pride themselves on their quality so you really can’t go wrong with this brand. For me, it comes down to an aesthetic decision of not being a huge fan of the long tongues and drawstrings.


Battle of the Footwear: Vans vs Converse

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The Clash of All-Stars: Converse High Tops vs Low Tops

#2. Levis shoes like Vans

Levi’s might not be the first brand that pops to your mind when you think of Vans look-alike sneakers, but you would be surprised at how many similar shoes they have! 

I am a huge fan of Levi’s, particularly of their jeans and footwear, because in my personal experience their superb quality makes them a great investment that usually lasts a bunch of years. In fact, I ended up getting a pair of those Nappa Classic Black Leather Low Tops for my hubby right after putting this list together!

That particular model is very similar to the Vans Era model as far as construction goes, but their all-black style with a tiny red Levi’s label is as nondescript as they come. If you are not into the whole logomania trend, these are the shoes for you. 

The second option resembles an Old Skool model and is a bit more similar to a Converse. The stripes on the side are a nice touch that brings attention to the brand and adds a little flair!

#3. Adidas shoes like Vans

This top-of-the-line sports footwear brand is recognized worldwide for its quality and design. Their most famous shoes tend to be ergonomic marvels of technical innovation that ensure the best performance for athletes of diverse sports. However, they also have a bunch of pretty streamlined models that resemble Vans very closely.

This particular model features a long tongue and drawstring closure, hallmark shell toe, a rubber sole, and a 100% leather top. Aesthetically, it is slightly rounder than a Converse or a Vans and features a handy molded sock liner. Oh, the ankle collar is slightly taller than what it generally is on low tops, making it look like a cross between a running sneaker and a boating low top. 

In both models, their hallmark shell toe transforms into an elongated tongue and the sides are pulled together by drawstrings. In this case, instead of a logo, the side features three parallel stripes.  The top of the shoe is taller in this model too.

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#4. Nike shoes like Vans

Nike is as big a sports footwear brand as they come. From their origins to their media presence in movies like Forrest Gump or Back to the Future, it is the brand you want to be wearing if you are into sports professionally. I mean, we already covered their history and amazing star models here, so visit my other blog post if you want to know more about the brand!

I have to admit my surprise at spotting these Vans lost-at-birth twins. The design is pretty much the same, with a curved front and padded ankle collar. Nike’s logo makes it crystal clear who is behind this crimson pretty though.

On the other hand, a black logo over a velvety-looking black canvas low top makes for a practically indistinguishable and nondescript shoe that is betting against our favorite Levis pick to play undercover sneaker of the year. 

Read: Reebok vs Nike: Battle of the Footwear Brands

#5. Fila shoes like Vans

These Fila high tops really got me nostalgic! It is precisely the model we used to wear back in the day! Its black and red color combination would go nicely with my favorite sporty joggers, too. Although I am not a huge fan of high tops, it really made me pause and reconsider.

This low-top model on the other hand is very similar to Adidas but with a rather simpler look and all-white design that minimizes their logo’s importance (unlike Adidas!). I really love the minimalist aesthetic and simple lines!


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#6. Keds shoes like Vans

Keds are another of my favorite brands. They have a ton of very classic models but what I really love about them is their collaborations! My favorite pair of Keds is actually one from the Rifle Paper Co collaboration in printed canvas. 

This is one of my preferred classics models. It is a slip-on shoe with sewn eyelets and a comfortable rubber sole. An innovative and super comfortable boating shoe! And the pink hue is absolutely adorable!

Speaking of the Rifle Paper Co collab, these Strawbeyy sneakers have printed soles. Their quality is amazing and after washing mine several times, I can vouch for the print’s longevity.


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Vans Look-alikes (with Different Materials)

#7. Canvas shoes

Everyone should at least own one pair of canvas shoes, be it adult or child! They are beyond comfortable, fresh for summer, and the best combination for a pair of jean cutoffs or shorts. 

Levi’s waxed canvas model makes them extra durable and comes with a rugged sole for extra traction. Converse pair on the other hand is their most classic model ever with pointed rubber, All-Star logo, and striped sole.

#8. Vegan shoes

Lots of people are against using leather because of its origins, so I thought to include a few options that are vegan and made of all man-made materials.

These Levi’s low tops that look exactly like Vans Era are made entirely from synthetic leather and they look very similar to their leather counterparts. An excellent buy for a budget price with all the comfort and the best reviews!

If you are more into the long tongue and drawstrings Converse-style model, this is the perfect option for you. Shop for the looks, 100% synthetic materials, and rest assured that your sneakers won’t have any animal parts!

#9. Embroidered shoes

Puma has an amazing pair of suede low tops with flower embroidery on the side over a curved stripe that surrounds the show. I love the colors and how striking they look over a black upper.

Speaking of striking embroidery, these navy keds with a padded collar look delicious covered in tiny strawberries. 

This SeaVeeds model brings a refreshing take to the table. Its cotton-blend design looks like scratched over denim but in fact, it’s embroidered over the upper canvas. One of my absolute favorites! I can totally picture it with white linen pants or colored chinos. 

#10. Loafer shoes

Loafers are pretty similar to moccasins, they have a sewn border around the top and are closed with a short drawstring at the height of the shaft. They usually have rubber soles and can be slipped on and off without much trouble.

I can’t stress enough how much I love Keds in general, and their loafers are not an exception to this! Soft grey fabric combined with white drawstrings and a white rubber sole guarantee the perfect boating look. 

If you would rather go for the string-less look, these slip-on leather loafers are just for you. They are the perfect shoe to dress up or down depending on the occasion. They can look great both with formal pants or nautical shorts. And since they are made with noble materials they can withstand a little water and wear too. 

#11. Nonslip shoes

There is nothing that guarantees a tight grip and a nonslip shoe like a rubber sole. Vans are renowned for their amazing design precisely for this characteristic and all lookalikes have taken great care to emulate this particular aspect. 

Be it Levi’s, Adidas, or Keds, all brands take care to make their soles rugged or striated so their grip on wet surfaces is the best it can be. 

#12. Checkered or monogrammed shoes

Checkered Vans are a classic, sadly, it is so much a staple of the brand that no other famous company wants to poach the look! The closest thing I found was this monogrammed Levi’s pair of hightops. Definitely a stunner! And it’s got that luxurious feel about it. I can totally picture Kristen Stewart pulling a red carpet look in one of these!

#13. Cotton shoes

These all-white classic Levi’s low tops are a fit-all type of sneakers that you cannot go wrong with. From flowery printed tight leggings to shredded dark denim, you can create your favorite look with them be it preppy, punk, or skater. 

These washed and faded organic Keds on the other hand are so grunge, there is no mistaking their vibe! Go for your favorite band t-shirt, wide jeans, and loose cardigan to complete the ensemble. I love the fact that they look so broken-in already like they have been a part of your closet forever!


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By Type of Vans Shoes

#14. Low-Tops

These skateboarding low tops are hardy and resistant, made to handle the extreme wear of the sport, and offer the best qualities with their hallmark shell toe and cushioned sole. Their golden logo on the tongue looks stylish combined with an all-black sneaker with three parallel white stripes on the side. 

This Fila model is anything but classic. The bubblegum pink tongue and ankle match the Fila logo, embroidered in pink thread on the side over the white synthetic vegan leather upper. They would look great with ankle cargo pants and a strapless tube top!

Read: 13 Gnarly Skateboard Brands from the 90s

#15. Hi-Tops

These high-top Levi’s sneakers have a certain cottagecore feel about them. Maybe it’s the suede or the tan stitching or the novel way the pointer has been sewed to give way to the shaft. Anyhow, they are a nice addition to our list that provides an interesting alternative in a different style. 

The Adidas model, on the other hand, is the epitome of a basketball shoe! Its slightly retro black and white construction is very reminiscent of early Chuck models. Completely made out of synthetic fibers, it sports a leather upper for a smooth feel and a mesh collar on the ankle padding for breathability.

Speaking of All-Stars, this pair of Converse all-white hightops are as old-school as you can get. The brand is one of the best when it comes to maintaining its iconic look over the years. They are in fact, one of my top iconic 90s footwear shoes to shop for! Their durability is off the charts, your Chucks will last you a lifetime and you won’t stop wearing them until you have run them down to rags. I guarantee it!

#16. Slip-ons

When it comes to slip-ons, I prefer the shoes that have a low shaft for added comfort, which makes this Keds model one of my preferred ones! They are supple and elegant. They make your feet look dainty and they offer amazing grip without causing blisters or abrasions on your ankles. The design itself is super minimal and streamlined, adding to the feeling of elegance and slimness. 

For those of you that want a shoe that grips the foot a bit more, these Nike’s might be a better fit. They have elastic bands on the shaft that comfortably allows you to slip in and out and guarantee your shoes won’t fall off! 

If you are on the lookout for a pretty print that will decorate your otherwise neutral ensemble, these Keds slip-ons might just be the perfect buy for you. I know I’ve already said this before, but the Rifle Paper collaboration is one of the best collections the brand has produced so far! It has all of the best models in gorgeous and varied designs, both in prints and embroideries. 

#17. Lo Pros

The Lo Pros are one of Vans’ most underrated models. They have almost no added details, with a clean design and an ultra-light composition. 

These Nike low tops try to emulate the look, but they sort of miss the point of it altogether by including a huge Nike logo on the side. 

Keds actually happened to get the concept of clean design down pat. Their low top could very well be mistaken for another brand’s shoe. Although their construction differs from Lo Pros in how their pointer transforms into the tongue (similar to Chucks), they really nailed the minimal look. 

#18. Vans Authentic

Vans Authentic are characterized by their unique look with curved stitching over the lower part of the shaft and short tongue with drawstrings. There is literally no brand that dares copy that particular combo, and with good reason! 

However, both Levi’s and Converse have nailed down pretty good similar low-tops that, without having that stitching (using the long tongue and drawstrings features), have the same decorative stitching over the border and a low-key ergonomic design that is light, comfortable, and multi-terrain. 

Read: Vans Authentic vs Vans Era: An Epic Rivalry

Vans Lookalikes based on Occasion

#19. Casual shoes

Of course, this type of sneakers is easily associated with casual occasions. One of the fastest combos to pull with Vans and any lookalike sneakers is that of a pair of jeans and a t-shirt! 

If you are into the woodsy cottage vibe that Levi’s manages to pull so well, you might want to pair the Alpine model with a flannel checkered or plaid shirt and a pair of slightly rugged denim jeans. 

Whether you go for low tops or high tops, the appeal of these Levi’s models is undeniable, they each bring a special vibe to the table. Particularly with the high tops, I can totally picture them in a snowy scenario!

#20. Formal shoes

I have to admit that going formal with sneakers is a look I don’t usually go for. But, taking a page from some celebs red carpet looks, I can totally vouch for these shiny and glittering Keds. 

They are part of a collaboration collection with Kate Spade and they are giving me tulle and princessy vibes. Maybe something that Avril Lavigne would wear paired with a rock t-shirt and heavy dark smudged eye makeup?

#21. Luxury shoes

There is nothing that says luxury like a nice pair of monogrammed shoes!

A luxurious ensemble can also be informal and play around with comfortable sneakers. To make the most of both of these Levi’s styles, pair them up with soft merino wool sweaters or mohair turtlenecks. 

Read: 90’s Turtlenecks – A Tactical Garment That Is Vaguely French For Some Reason

Shoes like Vans by comfort or color

#22. Shoes like Vans but wider

Vans tend to be quite slim around the toes and not the best choice for wider feet. Keds are quite slim too and if your foot is not naturally pointy, you might get a slight burn on your pinky before it stretches and molds to your feet. (Speaking from personal experience!)

It seems only logical that Adidas would capitalize on this and create a shoe that is wider and rounder around the toes. It also features the hallmark round and rugged toe and sport gold, white, and black color combo. 

#23. Shoes like Vans but comfortable

Authentic Vans tend to offer little support on the sides, so if that is an issue you struggle with these models might just be the thing for you. They also look great, you could easily dress them up if you wanted to go on a date or out with friends. 

On a more informal note, this Adidas model looks super comfy and ready for anything with its trendy grey camouflage print.

The no-strings Chillax model from Keds offers comfort in a different way. This disguised slip-on shoe looks like a sneaker, down to the sewn-in eyelets but has all the best qualities of a slip-on boat shoe. 

#24. Shoes like white Vans

White Vans are a staple that looks great and adds to any capsule wardrobe. Some of my favorite options for lookalike sneakers share in the slim lines and sleek design like this Keds perforated slip ons.

This bulky Fila model works a different angle and goes for an all-white bulky design that is constructed very similarly to a Vans Authentic but feels more robust.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a true all-white model, Converse will rock your boat with this retro style that is completely void of color. 

#25. Shoes like black Vans

 If I had to go for one pair of high-top sneakers it would definitely be a tough decision between this Levi’s model and the black-on-red Fila model from the beginning. Such a hard choice! Both look great, the all-black model would blend in on any type of ensemble whereas the black on red is much more striking. 

This low top version is more comfortable and offers stiffer construction, perfect for a low-impact gym session or a stroll downtown. The all-black coloring makes it the perfect low-key addition to your relaxed uniform of joggers and sweatshirt.

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Lorena Lombardo
Lorena Lombardo is a fashion designer specialized in trend forecasting and fashion journalism. She studied at the UAL (University of London), ORT (Universidad ORT Uruguay), and taken various courses about traditional craftsmanship while living in Tokyo. Some of her favorite memories during the 90s include wearing bucket hats and trying to copy Rachel’s hairstyle. Her absolute favorite show was Buffy: the Vampire Slayer but she was also a huge fan of Clueless because of its amazing fashion choices. Her top track of the decade is currently disputed between How soon is Now? by the Smiths and Here with me by Dido. Both also happen to be the opening songs for two great 90s shows: Charmed and Roswell. Coincidence? I think not!