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Vans Sk8-Hi Review | Best Vans Shoe for Lifting Weights?

That Fit Friend is supported by its readers. I [Jake Boly] run this site myself and buy the gear I review. If you purchase through my site, I may earn commissions on sales, read more here!

The Vans Sk8-Hi is an absolute Vans classic and is worn in a variety of settings. You can style the Van Sk8-Hi casually, rock them for skating, and wear them to the gym. As a powerlifter who’s regularly lifting in Vans, the Vans Sk8-Hi is one of my go-to Vans shoes for lifting. The stability, fit, and style they provide are all really solid.

If you’re interested in Vans for training, then you’ve likely considered the Vans Sk8-Hi. Personally, I like the Vans Sk8-Hi for lifting due to its stable sole construction and outsole traction.

This Vans Sk8-Hi review is going to focus primarily on how this shoe performs in the gym, for working out, and for wearing on a casual basis.

Who Should Invest In the Vans Sk8-Hi?

The Vans Sk8-Hi is an awesome shoe for tackling recreational lifting and general workouts. This model has a stable sole made with Vans’ signature rubber waffle design and the upper in the Sk8-Hi is durable. For general workouts, these shoes work really well and will provide you with ample stability.

More specifically, I think this shoe will be best for lifters who primarily train in a powerlifting or bodybuilding style and like having additional ankle support. The boot in this model provides a nice, comfortable yet supportive fit and feel, and this model looks good for casual wear, too.

If you’re new to lifting or want a solid daily driver and shoe for working out, then I think the Vans Sk8-Hi is a good fit for your needs. It won’t be the most versatile shoe for lifting, but for more static strength work the Sk8-Hi works well.

Vans Sk8-Hi


vans sk8 hi

Best For

  • Barbell Training
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Squats and Deadlifts
  • Daily Wear

Falls Short

  • For Breathability
  • For Versatile Training

Vans Sk8-Hi Pros

The Vans Sk8-Hi comes with multiple pros if you’re thinking of getting these shoes for lifting and daily wear. Below are some of my favorite perks with these shoes.

  1. Great Shoe for Beginner and Intermediate Recreational Lifters
  2. Dual-Functionality for Training and Daily Wear
  3. Fair Price Point for their Construction

The first thing to like about the Vans Sk8-Hi is that it’s a consistently strong performer for recreational lifters. I like the Vans Sk8-Hi best for beginners and intermediates who are starting to take their training a bit more seriously. The Sk8-Hi has a stable sole construction and rubber waffle outsole grips machines, deadlift platforms, and gym floors well.

vans sk8 hi review

The 0mm heel-to-toe drop in this shoe can also be a perk for those who are trying to learn proper deadlift mechanics and for those working to improve their squat form. Additionally, since this shoe has a zero drop construction it can help highlight if heel elevation can be useful for your squats as you’ll notice pretty quickly if a 0mm heel-to-toe drop feels right for you when squatting.

If you’re starting to train heavier, then the Vans Sk8-Hi is an awesome option to look into. Their ability to remain stable under heavyweights and look nice on a daily wear basis helps to make them a nice dual-functionality shoe.

If you’re like me and want a pair of shoes that you can wear out and about then to the gym without bringing extra shoes with you, then the Vans Sk8-Hi is a solid model. With multiple colorways, generally, you can find a Vans Sk8-Hi that resonates with your tastes really well.

vans sk8 hi for lifting

The final pro with the Vans Sk8-Hi is their price point. For the standard canvas upper Sk8-Hi, you can expect to pay $70 USD. Compared to other shoes on the market for lifting, this price is fair especially when you consider how you can rock the Vans Sk8-Hi in multiple settings.

Vans Sk8-Hi Cons

When it comes to lifting and daily wear, the Vans Sk8-Hi does have a couple of cons that are worth noting and considering before investing.

  1. Not the Best Stack Height for Deadlifts
  2. Heavy Canvas Upper Can Get Hot

The first drawback to the Vans Sk8-Hi is the stack height of this model and how it can impact deadlift performance. Stack height entails the amount of material that separates the foot from the floor. For deadlifts specifically, you’re going to want as little stack height as possible so you can limit your range of motion and better leverage your deadlift mechanics.

With the Vans Sk8-Hi, you’re getting a stack height of about an inch to an inch and a half. For beginners and intermediates, this is not going to be the biggest deal and hurt deadlift performance, but it is sub-optimal especially if you’re getting more serious with your deadlift training or plan to compete in powerlifting where every inch matters.

vans sk8 hi for deadlifts

Another drawback to the Vans Sk8-Hi is that their upper construction does not breathe well. If you’re training in crowded commercial gyms or in hotter environments and you’re training hard, then you may experience your feet getting pretty warm in these shoes.

This isn’t the biggest deal, but it is something to note for those that tend to find their feet getting exceptionally hot in certain training shoes. I’d suggest rocking thinner socks in these shoes, too, to help prevent how hot they can run in certain lifting settings.


Since this Vans Sk8-Hi review is intended to discuss lifting specifically, I’m going to talk about how the Sk8-Hi performs in different lifting settings below.

vans sk8 hi lifting performance review

Vans Sk8-Hi for Recreational Lifting and Bodybuilding

For recreational lifting and for more casual gym workouts, the Vans Sk8-Hi performs really well. They don’t compress under moderate loads and if you plan to do machine work, some barbell lifts, and free weight exercises, then I think you’ll like the Vans Sk8-Hi and their versatility in this context.

The rubber waffle outsole grips the floor well and after a few weeks of breaking these shoes in, they start to move well as well. For example, if you’re tackling lunges and other exercises that are more dynamic in nature, then the Vans Sk8-Hi can be a good option for the more casual lifter.

vans sk8 hi for working out

Vans Sk8-Hi for Deadlifts and Squats

The Vans Sk8-Hi performs well for deadlifts and squats, but they have their limitations. For deadlifts, the Sk8-Hi is a fine option for the casual lifter, but their stack height limits their true potential as being a fantastic deadlift shoe. For context, I’ve deadlifted well over 500 lbs in the Vans Sk8-Hi and they were fine, but I’ll generally reach for barefoot shoes for most of my heavy deadlift training.

Similarly for squats, the Sk8-Hi work well, however, they may not be for everyone. If you like having a flat foot position when squatting, then this model will resonate better with you. For my friends like myself who enjoy and need an elevated heel when squatting, then the Sk8-Hi will be capped with their performance.

vans sk8 hi for lifting weights

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing

For the Vans Sk8-Hi, most lifters should be safe going true-to-size in this shoe. They do run a tad bit long though, so if you normally have a ton of room at the end of your toe box, then you may want to go a half size down.

What I’ve found is that even if this model runs a bit long for you, the boot does a good job at locking down the foot so you won’t experience much heel slip at all.

  • Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing Thoughts: Go true-to-size. If you normally have ample length in your toe box, then size down a half size.

vans sk8 hi sizing and fit

If you have additional sizing and fit questions about the Vans Sk8-Hi or how they compared to other Vans models, drop a comment below.

Vans Sk8-Hi Vs Converse for Lifting

The age-old question of Vans vs Converse continues to rage on in lifting and training circles. Both of these shoes have roots that date back decades in the powerlifting ad strength-focused scenes.

Since both of these provide 0mm heel-to-toe drops, stable soles, and adequate outsole traction they’re often compared as being super similar options for lifting. Between the two, there are subtle details that may help you decide which option is best for your lifting needs.

vans sk8 hi vs converse chuck taylor all star

When it comes to stack height, both of these shoes are similar, but the Converse Chuck Taylor does have a slight edge on the Vans Sk8-Hi. The difference is pretty minimal and I don’t think it will matter for 99% of the lifting population, however, it is a difference to note nonetheless.

Another difference is their upper constructions and their durability. Both shoes feature canvas uppers, but the Vans Sk8-Hi delivers a much thicker canvas upper. I’ve had Converse models rip in the past during heavier squat sets after about 8-months of rocking them consistently.

vans sk8 hi vs converse chuck taylor all star for lifting

The Vans Sk8-Hi’s boot’s canvas is a lot thicker than the Converse so they maintain their shape longer. If it bothers you that the Converse material starts to fold over after some time, then the Vans Sk8-Hi is the better call. The Vans Sk8-Hi’s outsole also has a bit more grip long-term compared to the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star.

In a nutshell, I’d say go Vans Sk8-Hi if you want a shoe with a more durable upper construction that also looks great for daily wear and for lifting. The Converse is also solid and has a slight edge for stack height, but they fall short for long-term durability. Both models should be plenty stable for most recreational lifters.

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star


Converse Taylor All-Star

Best For

  • Powerlifting
  • Heavier Strength Training
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Deadlifting

Falls Short

  • For Versatile Training
  • Long-Term Durability

Vans Sk8-Hi Vs Vans Sk8-Low for Lifting

For lifting specifically, both the Vans Sk8-Hi and Sk8-Low deliver strong and similar performances. Across the board, you can expect similar levels of stability and functionality with these two shoes in the gym when lifting weights.

In fact, their sole construction, outsole design, and style are all pretty much similar. The one major difference between the two shoes is in the name and that’s the boot construction they provide. Some lifters prefer training in higher boot shoes while others like more traditional boot constructions.

vans sk8 hi vs vans sk8 low for lifting

I personally like having a bit more material hugging my ankle when bodybuilding and deadlifting and this is why I also regularly reach for high-top Converse and NOBULL as well. The ankle construction in the Sk8-Hi never feels limiting and if you like having a high-top boot then you’ll enjoy training in this shoe.

Either way, I don’t think you can wrong with the Sk8-Hi or Sk8-Low for lifting and it’s more so a matter of boot preference since both shoes have super similar levels of stability and function.

Construction Details

If you’re interested in the construction of the Vans Sk8-Hi, then check out the information below. The Sk8-Hi is pretty simplistic in nature and below are some of their key construction features that influence this shoe’s performance.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 17.5 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: No
  • Canvas Upper Construction
  • Rubber Waffle Outsole
  • Reinforced Toe Box Stitching
  • Padded Collars Around Boot
  • Vulcanized Sole Construction

If you have additional questions on the Vans Sk8-Hi construction or how they compare to the Sk8-Low or Converse, drop a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to clean Vans Sk8-Hi?

To clean your Vans Sk8-Hi, you're going to want to use a spot cleaning method. Take a washcloth, get it a little damp, and use a light soap void of harsh colors and fragrances. From here, gently wipe areas on your Sk8-Hi that are dirty to spot clean without ruining the canvas or coloring of your shoes.

Is Vans Sk8-Hi good for working out?

The Vans Sk8-Hi shoe is an overall good shoe for working out and lifting weights. This model works best for recreational lifting and for powerlifting.

Takeaway Thoughts

If you’re looking for a Vans shoe for lifting, then the Vans Sk8-Hi is an awesome option to look into. This shoe delivers consistent performance for weight lifting and they have a nice casual look into them for daily wear.

If you have additional questions on the Vans Sk8-Hi, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly).

That Fit Friend is supported by its readers. I [Jake Boly] run this site myself and buy the gear I review. If you purchase through my site, I may earn commissions on sales, read more here!

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

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