The common reason why most of the basic Vans styles seem hard to put on is because of the heel. It can be even very painful to your finger when you try to slip them on after loosening the shoelace.
If the Vans shoes are extremely hard to put on, and when worn it rubs the back of your heel then you possibly do not have them sized correctly. According to Vans, your shoe should fit snugly and not slide up and down your heels because you forced them in.
The tragic part is that if you eventually struggle to wear them, and resort to just slipping them on, you end up bending/destroying the heels. I understand the feeling, and you are definitely not alone on this.
This post has been developed to show you why your Vans is hard to put on and what you can do to solve this problem. I will also show you how to expand the Vans so it doesnâ€™t become hard to put on again.
But before we proceed, first understand that Vans are skate shoes. The overall design of most basic Vans shoes are for skateboarding. This means that they are not going to have a lot of cushioning and arch support in them.
Vans only boast of the solid feel and positive control it offers when riding a skateboard. Nevertheless, there are classic Vans styles that can be worn even without using for skateboarding. The problem is that some of these Vans can be hard to put on. Now, here is what to do when you notice that your Vans shoes are hard to put on.
What to do when your Vans are hard to put on
I have been using my Vans Old Skool Unisex Adults Low-Top Trainers for quite a period of time now and, to be honest, there was never a time when I experience difficulty in wearing the shoe. Even with the shoelace not loosened fully, I still wear them effortlessly.
So, I had to ask other Vans lovers who have been using their Vans for a while now, and who have actually faced a hard time putting on their vans.
The average response I got was that the Vans shoes will loosen/soften after time.
As lame and â€˜not-helpingâ€™ as it sounds, This is very much true because the longer the wear Vans, the better it becomes for your feet.
The designs of Vans shoes are not rigid and tend to adjust over time. Soon enough, it adapts to your feet size and you won’t necessarily have to force your feet in.
But it does not sound enoughâ€¦ to wait till the shoes soften. So I did further research on what you can do when your Vans are hard to put on, and here is what I found out.
I found out there are two immediate first-aid approaches you can take to stop your Vans from being hard to put on. One involves bending the vans shoes to be able to break in without difficulty in wearing, while the other involves turning the heat up to help the Vans shoes soften (this is best for the vans leather styles).
So, let’s look into these approaches one after the other.
Bend your shoes with your hands to soften them
Vans shoes consist of sturdily designed vulcanized rubber soles that offer long-term durability and support. Having this in mind, if your Vans shoes are hard to put on, donâ€™t be afraid to soften them.
This is something you can do right on the spot if your Vans is not far from reach. All you need do is:
- Use your left hand to hold the toe of the shoe, and your right hand the heel of the Vans shoe
- Make sure you are holding that single pair firmly.
- Now, slowly bend the shoe inwards pressing the two ends towards each other until you feel resistance
- By doing this, the soles of the Vans shoes are adapting to the arches of your feet, thereby causing the heels area to be a little less stiff for when you want to put them on
- Do not forget to repeat steps with the other pair of the Vans shoe.
Heat your Vans with a hairdryer
Another thing you can do when you see that your Vans shoes are hard to put on is to turn the heat up such that it helps mold the shoes (most especially the heels area where you experience stiffness) to your feet for that perfect fit.
However, this works particularly well for the Vans leather styles.
- In this approach, you will be using an ideal hairdryer:
- Heat any area of the shoe causing discomfort. In this case, where you experience difficulty in putting the shoes on, it would be the heels part.
- Use the hairdryer on medium heat until warm and soft.
- Repeat on the opposite shoe.
How to make vans less stiff
Like I mentioned earlier, Vans brand shoes are specifically mainly designed for skateboarding. You find Vans shoes to be your best option when you want to comfortably grip the top of the deck as it offers support, durability, and precise control when doing tricks.
So if you want to make your Vans less stiff, it is probably as a result of the difficulty you face when trying to put it on, or as a result of the fact that the shoes are hurting the back of your ankle.
The practical ways to ensure that your Vans are less stiff is by stretching/softening/widening the size of the shoe to perfectly fit your feet, or trying to remove the Vans sole.
While you can simply have a professional cobbler widen the rear of the shoe, it is not as cost-effective as trying out some of these DIY ways to making your Vans shoes less stiff:
The use of simple shoe stretching tools
Given that one of the practical ways to ensure that your Vans are less stiff is by stretching or widening the size of the shoe to perfectly fit your feet, you can alternatively stretch out the shoes with your own feet is by inserting other items into your tight pair of Vans shoes.
In simpler terms, you can try over-stuffing socks into the Vans shoes or crumpled up newspaper and leaving overnight. This helps the shoe to widen up a little bit and become less stiff.
In addition, there are other shoe-stretching tools are out there specifically for the purpose of stretching out vans shoes.
I can recommend using this Dasco Hardwood Two-Way Shoe Stretcher as it helps in adjusting the length as well as the width of your Vans shoe. Shoe stretchers work fine and are even used by most cobblers.
Freezing your vans shoes to make them less stiff
This is one of the common methods of expanding shoes in general. When you freeze your Vans shoes, it expands them just as water expands when it freezes.
And when the Vans shoes expand a little, they become less stiff.
If you are going to take this approach:
- Fill a sandwich bag for each foot of your Vans with water that’s about a quarter full
- Insert the bags up into your shoes
- Sick them in the freezer and leave them there until the water freezes.
- Once it does, allow it to thaw, take out the bags and try on your Vans shoes to see if it is still hard to put on.
- You can give it a second time and third trial if the first attempt doesn’t achieve the goal.
- Most importantly, you want to make sure that the water doesnâ€™t leak when put inside the shoe.
- But since Vans and canvas can get wet, freezing the whole shoe can work as well.
Heating your vans shoes to make it less stiff
Apart from freezing your Vans shoes or using simple shoe stretching tools, heating the Vans shoes is another option to make them less stiff so that they donâ€™t become too hard to put on.
This approach is similar to what we talked about when discussing what to do when your Vans shoes are hard to put on. But this time, I will be going into more details about it.
All you need to do here:
- Put on some thick socks and then your Vans shoes
- Get your hairdryer and put it on high heat
- Pick the area of the shoe that is tight and stiff, then heat it
- You can bend your toes back and forth as you do this to ensure more flexibility on the shoe material and area of concern.
Trust me, these methods work like magic, only that it sounds quite uncomfortable.
But like I cited the other time, it will work best with most of the Vans leather styles because leather, once stretched, will not go back to its former state.
Now that you know the several ways to make your Vans less stiff by stretching them, you can now pick up that your Vans shoe that has been giving your hard to putting it on and make it less stiff.
But this is quite different from expanding your Vans shoes.
They may sound alike, but expanding has to do with the overall sizing of the Vans shoes and not only when trying to put it on. Expanding your vans also has to do with breaking in a new vans shoe or making them fit more perfectly.
So before I conclude this post, I will take you through the various ways you can expand your Vans shoes.
What are the ways to expand your Vans?
There are a number of reasons that may necessitate the need to expand your Vans shoes. This is beyond fixing the problem of difficulty when trying to put the shoes on. It could be that you simply want to break in the Vans shoes and will need to expand it a little, or that the Vans shoes are too tight when you wear them and you need to expand them.
So this segment will show you TWO of the easiest ways to go about expanding your Vans shoes into the perfect fit.
I will begin with the very common method that you have probably hear of – the use of thick socks.
Wearing thick socks with your Vans shoes is a way of slowly stretching the material of the Vans without even causing any damage to your feet.
The use of thick socks
This is a pretty simple approach, the steps include:
- Wear a pair of winter socks inside your new Vans shoes
- Tie your shoelaces as you normally would (but you donâ€™t have to make the shoelaces too tight)
- Wear your Vans shoes around the house for a couple of hours at a time
- Repeat the process as necessary
Over time, you will notice that you have been able to slowly and gradually stretch your Vans shoes to just the right amount. If you are scared of overstretching your Vans shoes, this is the right approach for you.
Using a ball and ring stretcher
A ball and ring stretcher are one of the shoe stretching tools you can buy to help loosen the material. But this one, in particular, helps to widen specific problem areas. If you want to expand your Vans shoes, you can invest in a ball and ring stretcher like this one HERE.
Here is how you go about it:
- First, pick the area of the Vans shoe that needs stretching the most
- Put the ball side of the tool inside the Vans shoe and the ring on the outside
- Pull the arms of the stretcher together
- Ensure that the ball on the inside of the shoe is pushing the fabric out to the desired amount
- Use the integrated screw fitting to screw the arms into place
- There will be a noticeable instant movement.
- You can as well leave the stretcher in your shoes overnight to loosen further
This brings us to the end of this post, and I hope you now know why your vans shoes are hard to put on. We have also been able to look at the various things you can do when you discover that your vans are hard to put on, from making them less stiff to expanding the Vans shoes.
What difficulty are you facing with wearing your Vans shoes, do you mind sharing in the comment section?
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