Why Do Vans Hurt The Back Of My Foot?

If your Vans are too tight, they can hurt the back of your foot. Vans shoes that are too loose, also, will hurt the back of your foot because they rub against your heels and cause friction.

With continuous friction and pressure at every step, it will result in pain and injury. The solution to this problem lies in the proper sizing of the shoes, breaking in of the shoes, proper lacing style, or even stretching the Vans shoes.

Why Do Vans Hurt The Back Of My Foot

Apart from this, there are other reasons why your Vans shoes hurt the back of your foot. For some, they are temporary and quite expected, while some can lead to long-time injuries over time.

You should not joke about situations like ankle hurt when you wear shoes. Once you notice that the back of your feet hurt whenever you wear a shoe, be quick to look for solutions.

In this post, I will take you through the steps on how to stop Vans from hurting the back of your foot, how you can soften your Vans canvas shoes, and also other safety measures for making your new Vans shoes fit perfectly.

Depending on the height of your Vans around your ankle, continuous rubbing of the back of your foot against the shoe may irritate your Achilles tendon and contribute to bursitis, among other conditions.

Here are the ways your can stop your Vans from hurting the back of your foot.

How to stop Vans from hurting the back of your foot

Why Do Vans Hurt The Back Of My Foot

There are quite a number of areas to consider if you are to stop your Vans from hurting any part of your feet. You can avoid the shoe from hurting the back of your foot right from the buying stage. Being mindful of the Vans material and also getting rid of the insoles can help in stopping the shoe from hurting.

You can also consider checking for rough edges at the heel area of the shoe or even stretching the Vans to fit your feet. These measures are what we will look into individually to stop Vans from hurting your foot

Ensure that you buy your shoes in the morning

You might have purchased your Vans shoe already before noticing that it hurts the back of your feet so bad. But this is not coming late.

Whenever you are shopping for your new pair of Vans shoes or any other sneakers or canvas, make sure you are buying them late in the day to get a better fit so they’re not too tight.

Do you know that during the day, our feet swell by up to half a size? In other words, shoes that fit perfectly in the morning might not fit so well in the afternoon.

At the same time, do not go for shoes that are too loose, these are also a source of rubbing that can also lead to the hurting of the back of your foot after excessive wearing.

You should also know which of your feet is longer. A mistake many people make is to measure the size of their smaller foot and use it to buy a shoe of their choice.

At the end of the day, they discover that the shoe is a little too tight for the other foot.

Tight shoes can lead to really bad hurt, you should know.

Consider removing the Vans insoles

In my recent post about insoles, I stressed the importance of using insoles, as well as instances where you will not need them that much.

Insoles are included in shoes for support and comfort. But there are cases where the shoes are too tight and will become much comfortable when you take out insoles.

If you find your Vans shoes rubbing against your feet or causing unbearable pain, either you make sure the insoles are well-fitted and designed, or you take them out to reduce the tightness and hurt.

You can read this post HERE on how to take out any type of insoles from any type of shoe.

If you want to leave the insoles, make sure it is the right height, shape, and fit that you add inside your shoes.

The shoe material of the Vans also matters

There are so many Vans styles and designs, each made with some particular shoe material. The material of your Vans also plays a huge role in the factors that can cause the shoe to hurt the back of your feet.

Shoes made from good materials that feel comfortable and have a good fit from the get-go will likely not give you any problem. There are some shoe materials that tend to stretch over time.

Vans canvas, for example, is soft and comfortable. However, it is a common source of rubbing, especially as these shoes are often worn with bare feet and no sock protection.

So when you first have a Vans canvas, and you find the shoe hurting the back of your feet, try wearing it around the house, try bending them backward and forwards, and also adjust your lacing if your shoes are feeling too tight or loose.

Check for rough edges 

This does not really apply to new pair of Vans shoes, anyway. But if you have been wearing the shoes for a while now and you notice that it starts hurting you at the back of your foot, it could be that the layers of materials at the back of the heels have turned rough.

For instance, the stitching can come out, or they may be uneven or unmatched to your foot characteristics to start with.

This can lead to rubbing or irritating your skin. From this point, it is better to fix the shoe, than simply using a bandage at the back of your heel every time.

You can meet a professional shoe repairer who will sew moleskin pads over the rough areas at the back of your shoes.

Stretch the Vans shoes

This is the true one-stop solution to stop your Vans shoe from hurting the back of your foot, and that is why it is coming as the last recommendation on this segment.

If you have considered all the above solutions and none of them seem to be bringing any solution, stretching your Vans shoes to reduce or eliminate the hurting at the back of your foot is a good option.

However, there are a couple of ways you can go about it:

  • Look for two pairs of thick socks
  • Put your shoes on wearing the two pairs of thick socks.
  • Walk around the house with the shoes but don’t overdo it or stay in these shoes for long periods
  • Take them off if they begin to cause any further foot pain or cramps

Now, you may ask: how does that stretch the shoes? Adding to your sock thickness can help with quickly stretching your Vans.

This method is mainly used by many hikers who use Vans shoes. The socks also help prevent blisters. It also works with most Vans leather styles.

There are other ways you can stretch your Vans shoes to stop them from hurting the back of your feet, some of these methods have to do with first softening the Vans shoes to make them stretch or expand. (we shall look at ways to soften your Vans shoes soon).

But If you do not want to go through any of this stress at all, you can simply take your Vans shoes to your local shoe cobbler or shoe repair store who should be able to stretch your shoes using professional equipment such as two-way shoe stretchers.

There are sprays available that are designed to help shoe stretch, but most of them work well for leather shoes. So I will not recommend them for Vans canvas and sneakers.

How do you soften Vans canvas shoes?

Why Do Vans Hurt The Back Of My Foot

The primary intention of trying to soften your Vans shoes is to stretch them so they perfectly fit your feet.

There are straightforward methods to soften your Vans canvas shoes: You can use a stretching device, you can use a foot fitter shoe stretcher, or you can use simple DIY methods to stretch the Vans canvas material.

Shoe stretchers

Not every shoe stretcher will work effectively to soften the Vans canvas shoe material and stretching. There are types of shoe stretchers.

What happens is that the two-way shoe stretcher stretches all parts of the canvas at the same time, the ball and ring stretcher cannot do that. It can only stretch some parts of the Canvas. The latter is advised for stretching canvas and synthetic shoes.

  • First, spray the shoe stretch spray over the shoe
  • Then place the stretcher inside your shoe.
  • Align the device correctly according to the instructions
  • Turn shoe stretcher’s knob at one full turn
  • Allow it then to sit for 6 to 8 hours
  • You will see that the shoe stretcher has been able to soften the Vans canvas material, and stretched them.

Use a Hairdryer

Canvas soften and stretch easily when you apply a bit of water and heat to the shoe material. The heat from the hair dryer will soften the canvas material, allowing you to extend it to the size of your feet.

In other words, you can use a  blow dryer to safely soften your Vans canvas. You will need a Hairdryer, Spray bottle, Pair of socks and of course, Water.

Here is how you go about it:

  • Put on a pair of thick socks and slip on your Vans canvas.
  • Fill a bottle sprayer with warm water and spritz the surface of your canvas
  • Aim the hairdryer at your shoes for 30 seconds
  • As you do this, move the heat from section to section.
  • Flex your toes around while you heat them so that the material of the shoe stretches
  • Afterward, remove the shoes and thick socks
  • Now, switch to socks you usually wear before replacing the shoes.
  • If they still feel snug, repeat the process again.

Use Steam

This will work most especially if your Vans canvas shrinks after washing. The use of steam will not only be able to soften the canvas material but also stretch the material to its original fit.

Since hot steam is an excellent tool for stretching canvas shoes wider, it will be an effective way to soften your canvas. For this method, you will need a large pot, water, and oven mitts.

Here is how you go about it:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  • Protect your hands and forearms from burning by wearing a pair of oven mitts
  • Hold your shoes over steam and let it stay there for 5 minutes
  • Let your pair of shoes stay over the steam for close to five minutes.
  • Afterward, slip your feet into the warm but not hot shoes
  • Walk around to stretch them out
  • You can repeat the process if they require more softening and stretching

Use your Freezer

Tightening of Vans canvas shoes could be because the shoes are a half size too small. You can use your freezer to soften the material of your canvas, which will eventually lead to its stretching. Like I have discussed in some of my recent posts, water expands when it freezes.

This makes it an ideal method for stretching shoes without any hassle. You will need sandwich bags or Zip-lock bags, Water, a freezer.

Here is how you go about it:

  • Fill the sandwich bags with water
  • Ensure that you double the sandwich bags so the water doesn’t get into the shoes
  • Slide the water bags into the toe area of your Vans canvas
  • You can still add a second bag if you’ve got room in your Vans
  • Do this with the other shoe and keep the pair in your freezer
  • Allow the shoes to freeze overnight
  • Then you can remove the shoes from the freezer, get out the frozen bags and try them on

This method also works well for stretching leather shoes or boots, I like this method because you are not involved in any hassle at all. All you need to do is the necessary preparation, and then you leave your shoes in the freezer overnight to see changes.

Can I put my Vans in the microwave?

Putting your Vans in the microwave is another way to soften the shoe so that it stretches. However, you have to be extremely careful as the shoe can get damaged if you do it the wrong way.

Some of the potential risks of putting your Vans in the microwave are that the glue can get melt, there is a metal circle where you put the shoelaces in which can lead to something really terrible as it is dangerous to put metal in the microwave, or you can end up spoiling the shoe.

So it is more like a risk. But if you have the right guidelines, you can utilize the method. True, the microwave isn’t just for heating and cooking food. It can also be used to stretch canvas shoes wider.

However, ensure that there are no metal pieces in the shoe, including the eyelets, and when you put the microwave on high, your shoe should not exceed a maximum of 30 seconds in there.


I hope you now know why your Vans shoes hurt the back of your foot and the different ways you can solve the problem.

Getting a comfortable fit in your Vans shoes is prime and important. If the hurt is persistent, any of these methods shared in this post can help you out.

If you have got any contributions to these solutions, do share in the comment section.

Thanks for reading.

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