DC vs. Vans: What Shoe Is Right for You?

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There are plenty of big battles in the world of pop culture. There’s King Kong vs. Godzilla, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, and Marvel vs. DC. Of course, rivalries exist in plenty of other areas, as well, including the footwear preference of skaters and those who enjoy skater culture and style. The biggest question that tends to come up regarding shoes revolves around DC vs. Vans. Which is the better option? Does it matter?

Table of Contents

A Brief History of DC

Damon Way and Ken Block started DC Shoes in 1994, and it was sold 10 years later to Quicksilver. From the beginning, the goal of the company was to design and manufacture high-quality footwear. They focused on shoes for active people, particularly for skateboarders and snowboarders. However, they also created shoes for other activities, including casual footwear and even apparel.

Today, you can find many types of quality options when it comes to skateboarding and snowboarding shoes, hiking shoes, and much more. They offer low-top and high-top skate shoes in a wide range of colors and styles. They’ve even partnered with different skaters over the years to create unique skate shoes.

DC has become known for making quality products with great style that are priced comparably to other shoes on the market. You will notice that the styles are often a bit more subdued than what you will find with Vans.

A Brief History of Vans

Vans was formed just a couple of years after DC in 1996. The company was created by Paul Van Doren and was started in Anaheim, California. The initial offerings of shoes and apparel were geared toward skateboarders. You may also recognize their name from the Vans Warped Tour, the annual rock festival that they sponsor.

Vans is a skateboard-centric company and has even opened skateparks around the world. The first skatepark was opened at The Outlets at Orange in Orange County, CA, and in 2010, they built a park in Huntington Beach, CA. They even have a skate park in London, called the House of Vans, at the Old Vic Tunnels.

The first skate shoe they made was called #44. This shoe is still offered today and is still popular. However, today, it’s known as the Authentic. Their next shoe was the #95, which is the Era today.

You’ll find quite a few models today for men, women, and children. There are some interesting styles and colors available, including some options that have graphics you might not expect. One of their new shoes is called the Vans X Exorcist, and it features a graphic that you might recognize from the old-school horror film.

Most Important Things to Consider When Choosing Skateboarding Shoes

While brands are important to many, the logo on the shoes should never be your only consideration. You also have to think about quite a few other factors when you are choosing your skate shoes.

Durability and Comfort

You want to have skate shoes that are going to last, naturally. Some of them can cost upwards of $100. When you are choosing shoes, you want to consider how they are made. Does the manufacturer use quality materials and stitching? Are the soles going to provide you with the amount of grip you need for your riding style? Do they provide quality laces? How thick are the soles?

It’s hard to determine how comfortable the shoes will be since opinions are subjective. However, you can check out some reviews to get an idea of the comfort level.

Style and Aesthetics

Of course, you also have to consider the style and look of the shoes. You want to have a style that will work with the way you skate and the way you dress. Do you prefer slip-on shoes, or do you like the feel of laces, knowing there’s no way your feet will slip out of the shoes? Do you prefer low or high-tops?

The colors and graphics will be important, as well, although this is admittedly more about form than function. Do you prefer a simple shoe, or do you like the idea of having some wild and fun graphics on the shoes?


Price is likely to be important to you, as well. You want to buy quality shoes at an affordable price. Fortunately, you’ll find that DC and Vans tend to have prices similar to one another. Keep in mind that if you are choosing a lesser-known brand, the price might be lower. However, it could also mean that the quality is lower, as well.

Don’t Forget Other Options

Although DC and Vans shoes are some of the most commonly used skate shoes, it doesn’t mean they are the only options on the market. There are plenty of other companies that have just as much pedigree. Converse and Nike, for example, offer many options for skate shoes. It’s nice to have even more choices when it comes to picking your new shoes for skateboarding.

Related: How to Spot Fake Vans?

Always Check Reviews Before Making a Purchase

Both Vans and DC have great shoes. Whether you choose a show from one of those manufacturers or a different company, it’s important that you know what you are getting. Of course, you can’t rely on marketing information from the companies alone. Instead, you need to dig a little and do some research on each of the models that interests you.

Spend a bit of time looking at reviews from actual skaters that have used the shoe. It will give you a better idea of what to expect and whether it’s the right choice for your skating style or not. Just be careful when you are looking at the reviews. You will inevitably come across “superfans” of one brand or another that try to disparage what they see as their favorite manufacturer’s rivals.