Do Vans Stretch? 5 Easy Ways To Break-In Vans Faster

Vans are known to run true to size. To discover more about Vans sizing, I bought a new pair of Vans Slip-Ons in a size smaller than my normal size to check if they would fit perfectly on my feet. Instead, they needed to be stretched as they were too snug on my feet and I couldn’t flex my toes properly.

If you bought vans online without realizing you have wide feet, they are very likely to be too narrow for your feet.

Although Van’s size chart is generally applicable to everyone, you may come upon a pair of Vans shoes that will be too tight for you. So you’d be looking forward to stretching them out in that situation.

Do vans stretch and how do you break in vans?

Vans stretch because they are made of canvas and suede. It usually takes a couple of days if you wear them regularly before you notice any stretch, but you can speed up the process by putting them in the microwave for 30 seconds at a high temperature, or using a hairdryer for 20 to 30 seconds. You can apply steam over the vans to widen them. You can also try out other methods to make vans stretch faster, such as inserting a damp towel, newspaper, socks, or shoe tree inside the shoes.

Wearing vans that are too tight can cause many foot problems including blisters, numbness, bunions, inflammation, and pain in the heels. To avoid these foot problems you need to stretch and break in vans using the right methods. 

In this article, we will look at various methods for stretching your new or existing vans. We’ll also have a good idea of how long vans take to break in, why vans are so tight at first, and how to easily break them in.

Do Vans Stretch Overtime?

Yes, Vans do stretch over time as you wear them regularly but this can take a couple of days before you notice any significant stretch. Generally, all Vans are made of canvas uppers with rubberized soles which is the main factor behind vans stretching and breaking out in a few days of wearing them. 

Vans Slip-Ons are known to stretch with time after being worn for a few hours every day. Vans have vulcanized rubber soles that loosen up with time. Vans are very tough and durable, therefore canvas shoes will take longer to break in than suede shoes.

On the other hand, the Vans authentic, which has a canvas upper, a low top profile, and a rubber grip, requires less time to break in. Vans authentic are a pair of sneakers that are both comfortable and adaptable. They’re significantly easier to break in than Vans Slip-Ons. Vans authentic shoes have a waffle outsole and a canvas toe box, which allows the toe box to stretch quickly.

Vans are highly flexible and durable. You can feel comfortable eventually if you continue wearing them regularly. 

If you have Vans with laces, such as Vans Authentic, Vans Chukkas, Vans Chima Pro, and so on, it is quite simple to stretch and loosen them by relaxing and adjusting the laces. This method does not provide total flexibility to your feet, but it can provide flexibility to your feet near the vamp region.

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5 Quick Ways To Stretch Vans Shoes

Method 1: Putting Vans in a Microwave. 

The quickest and easiest way to stretch your new vans is to put them in the microwave.

Here are a few steps you need to follow to carry out this method properly.

Before you place vans in the oven, make sure there are no metal fragments inside the shoes.

  • Place your vans in the microwave for 30 seconds at a high-temperature setting. Make sure you don’t leave them in the oven for more than 30 seconds, as this can cause your vans to melt and deteriorate completely due to overheating.
  • Using a potholder or oven mitts, carefully remove the vans from the oven. You should use them because the shoes will be warm and you might run the risk of burning your hands while taking them off.
  • Allow the shoes to cool for 10 seconds after removing them from the oven. Then, while the shoes are still warm, put them on.
  • Take a few minutes to go around the house until they’ve cooled off. Stretch your toes and feet back and forth to make sure that vans uppers, toe box, and heel region are spreading out according to your feet.
  • After the vans have cooled, remove them and place them in the microwave for another 20 seconds.
  • After 20 seconds, remove them from the oven and try them again; you should be able to see that they have widened up. This method is effective but if you feel that the shoes are still too tight, then you can try other methods.

Method 2: Using a Hair Dryer To Stretch Vans

One of the most proven ways to stretch any canvas shoes including Vans is applying a hairdryer on them for 20 to 30 seconds at medium temperature settings. 

Here are the steps by step guide to going with this method

  • Wear thick socks and then put on your Vans shoes. Thick socks help keep your feet protected from dryers’ direct heat and also help to loosen up the shoes.
  • Set your dryer at medium-high heat settings for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Direct the dryer all over the places of the shoes where you want them to stretch. Keep in mind that you need to keep the dryer a few inches away from the shoes to protect them from burns. 
  • While applying the dryer, flex your toes and back heels to slacken the fabric material in the shoes.
  • Once you feel that you can flex your feet properly then remove your feet from the shoes.
  • Remove the thick socks and try the vans shoes again you will see that they have loosened up. If your Vans still feel rigid, repeat this process 2 to 3 times. They will eventually break in.

Method 3: Using Steam to Loosen Vans Shoes

In this method, We’ll apply steam to the Vans for 3 to 5 minutes. To avoid getting your skin burned, you must take precautions. To safeguard your hands, you must put on a pair of gloves.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to what you’ll need to do:

  • Boil a pot of water first, then remove the kettle’s upper cover.
  • For 3 to 5 minutes, keep the shoes above the steam.
  • Steam causes the fibers to expand, allowing you to stretch your shoes to that of your feet. The fabric(cloth) material in the Vans will loosen with steam.
  • After steaming the Vans for 3 to 5 minutes, try them on and stretch your feet until you feel the shoes have been flexed around the areas where you felt uncomfortable and snug. 
  • If your Vans still don’t seem to have stretched much, repeat the method two to three times.

Method 4: Flexing and Bending Vans To Stretch Them Faster

As Vans have a waffle outsole and a rubberized insole, they stretch more quickly when flexed and bent. This also aids in the canvas’s quick stretching.

Step by step to flex and correctly bend vans:

  • Hold the toe of the Vans in one hand and the heel of the Vans in the other. 
  • Now bend the shoe inwards slowly until it forms a “U” shape. 
  • Bending your Vans frequently will help to quickly stretch their sides and toe parts.
  • The other way to stretch is to flex them horizontally by grabbing the toe and heel and stretching them. 
  • Repeat this process again and again. In a couple of days the Vans will break in and you will feel comfy while wearing them.

Method 5: Freezing Vans Helps In Quick Stretch

Freezing Vans works just as well as heating them in the microwave. This strategy is one of the most effective ways to break into vans without damaging your shoes.

How to freeze and extend your vans is as follows:

  • Pour water into two Ziploc bags and securely seal them. You can double-cover this bag to prevent water from leaking out.
  • Place these bags inside the shoes and arrange them properly to provide support in regions that require more stretching, such as the toe area. 
  • Now place the shoes in the freezer, along with the bags inside.
  • The water in your shoes will freeze and expand, and this frozen water will be the main reason for your shoes expanding out in the places you needed them to. 
  • You can take your shoes off after a day and leave them out for 20 to 30 minutes. After the water has melted, you can remove your shoes. Try on the shoes after cleaning them with a cloth. The Vans would have stretched and you would immediately notice the difference.
  • If you still have a snug fit, repeat the method once or twice more, and you will gradually see the results.

Other Methods To Loosen Vans

Stuffing The Vans 

Vans can be stuffed with tightly screwed newspaper, socks, or damp towels to stretch them. You can leave the shoes overnight to stretch and then remove the stuffed materials in the morning once they’ve done their job. 

Socks, like newspapers, can be used to stuff your shoes overnight and enlarge them. To guarantee that the canvas shoes’ toes get a good stretch overnight, pack the ball of socks tightly.

Using a Shoe Tree(Shoe Stretcher) 

A shoe tree is a piece of equipment used to keep the shape and structural integrity of a shoe. They are quite effective at stretching canvas, suede, and leather shoes. Vans are composed of canvas, which makes stretching them out a breeze.

Place the shoe tree inside the shoes first. They have bunion plugs that help stretch parts of the shoe such as bunions, toes, and the side parts of shoes. 

The shoe tree vented slot keeps the shoes moist and allows air to circulate, keeping them breathable. There are a variety of shoe trees available in various sizes.


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Two-way stretchers are superior to other shoe stretchers since they are composed of tough and durable polyurethane plastic.

Stretching spray can be used to improve the amount of flex and stretch in the shoe tree. You can rotate the shoe tree handle a complete turn after applying the spray. Allow it to sit for a day and see how much more stretch your feet require, then repeat the process.

Conclusion: Do Vans Stretch?

Stretching your vans without a proper method is not always a good idea. This not only deteriorates and reduces the longevity of your vans, but it can also harm you in many ways, such as burning your hands and skin if you do not use the steam method or microwave method to stretch vans properly.

As mentioned earlier, Van’s stretch is due to the canvas and suede. Putting them in the microwave for 30 seconds at a high temperature or using a hairdryer for 20 to 30 seconds will speed up the process. Steam can be used to broaden the vans. You can also try putting a damp towel, newspaper, socks, or a shoe tree inside the shoes to help them stretch faster.

You can also use a shoe stretcher, but a two-way stretcher is preferred because it not only helps in stretching or breaking into your vans but also helps to remove the odor. Wearing the vans daily can also facilitate properly stretching the vans to conform with your feet.

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