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When you think of Vans, what comes to mind? More than likely it’s an artistic-style brand that makes shoes for extreme sports and daily wear. If you’re a strength athlete, then lifting might come to mind when asked this question, however, I really doubt many folks are thinking “cross-training” when asked about Vans shoes.
Incomes the Vans UltraRange EXO shoes, which are a nod to a Vans classic, but with a slightly more functional feel. The Vans UltraRange EXO shoes are designed for daily wear with a focus on comfort.
In my world of training, these have actually become one of my favorite shoes for casual workouts. Never would I have thought I’d be saying that I like to cross-train in a pair of Vans.
In this Vans UltraRange EXO review, we’re going to break down all of the key details that go into this model to help you decide if it’s a good fit for you.
Vans UltraRange EXO Quick Take: The Vans UltraRange EXO can be a great shoe option for daily wear, casual workouts, and even light hiking. I also really enjoy the refined and casual appearance of the Vans UltraRange EXO.
- These can be great shoes for casual and daily wear. They’re comfortable and stylish for different contexts.
- If you’re on your feet all day, then I think you’ll enjoy the Vans UltraRange EXO. The midsole has a good cushion and the outsole has decent tread.
- I like that you get a nice range with these shoes and that they can work for versatile training, light hiking, and moderate lifting.
- The width of these shoes isn’t the best, especially for wider feet and individuals that want more toe box room.
- The upper durability can be problematic around the toe box and can be prone to ripping and breaking down fast.
- On top of their limited width, there’s not a ton of volume through the toe box’s upper which can be an issue for high-volume/thicker feet.
Author’s Note: This article was updated in April 2023 to reflect performance updates I’ve had with this shoe. Also, make sure you try my cross-training shoe finder to be paired with the best training shoes for your needs.
Who Should Invest In the Vans UltraRange EXO Shoes?
The Vans UltraRange EXO shoes are a great choice for the lifter and athlete that trains recreationally and wants a pair of shoes that also work for day-to-day wear.
I think one of the beauties of this shoe is that it’s comfortable for daily wear, looks fantastic, and can hold its own with recreational training. This is a good shoe for traveling, walking, standing, and doing some casual training.
It’s not going to be the best shoe when it comes to aspects like maximal stability in the gym, but for someone who’s training up to 315 lbs, I think this model will be a good bet for providing them with enough stability to excel.
Vans UltraRange EXO Pros
Over the course of my training sessions and daily wear in the Vans Ultrarange EXO shoes, I’ve found three key pros that I really enjoy about them.
- Good Comfort and Responsiveness for Training
- Great Shoe for Daily Wear, Walking, and Standing
- Lightweight and Cost-Efficient
I think the biggest pro with this model is its overall comfort. This model utilizes Vans’ co-molded UltraCush® Lite Midsole which provides this shoe with a responsive surface to walk, jump, and train on.
Whether you’re walking longer distances or cross-training casually, this model does a great job at providing you with a lightweight responsive midsole. This model will work best for recreational training settings where you’re not going super heavy with your weights.
Another pro that comes with this shoe that you don’t always get with normal cross-training shoes is the overall aesthetic. For daily wear, this model looks great and you can rock them with gym shorts, jeans, and really whatever you want and they look pretty solid.
This is a nice perk for those that love the streetwear appeal of Vans and want a Vans shoe to do some casual training in. I found this model to be comfortable for all-day wear and walking, so if you want this shoe for working a job where you’re on your feet all day, then these could be worth looking into.
The final aspect that I’ve enjoyed about the Vans UltraRange EXO shoe has been their overall lightweight construction and cost-efficient price This model’s upper, midsole, and outsole construction are all lightweight which makes this model easy to wear.
More specifically, I like the lightweight mesh on the medial and lateral sides and the UltraCush tongue does a good job of providing the foot with some breathability which is great for wearing this shoe in warmer climates.
The price point for this model is also pretty fair for what this shoe has to offer. At a price point of around $90 USD, I like that this shoe can perform well in so many different contexts.
I think if you’re someone looking into this shoe specifically for daily wear and some training here and there, then the price for this shoe makes sense. Plus, this model looks good and casual, which is something most training shoes fall short of.
Vans UltraRange EXO
- Daily Wear
- Casual Training
- Lighter Lifting
- For Long-Term Durability
- For Skating
- For Heavy Lifting
Vans UltraRange EXO Cons
While I do enjoy this shoe for training and daily wear, there are two potential cons I could see others having with this model.
- Lacks Maximal Stability for Training
- Long-Term Upper Durability
The first drawback of the Vans UltraRange EXO shoes is that their overall stability in the gym will be limited. This shoe is marketed as an all-terrain style shoe, so it’s important to contextually note where they’re going to excel most.
In the gym, they work, but when it comes to heavy loading their UltraCush midsole is not going to be your best for stability. If you plan to train in these shoes, then I’d recommend capping loading to about 315 lbs.
I’ve worked a tad heavier than that in them and I initially started to notice compression once I passed around 285 lbs, so I’d say make 315 lbs the upper limit for deadlifting and squatting in the Vans Ultrarange EXO.
The second potential drawback with this model is the midsole and upper long-term durability. After a week and while wearing these shoes ONCE while casually skating, I had the upper in this model rip.
I know it’s not a skate shoe, but for one wear and a couple of ollies to get up on curbs and down a few stairs, I was a little disappointed in this model’s upper durability. I could also see the UltraCush midsole having long-term durability issues for certain training contexts, so definitely keep an eye on this construction feature, too.
If you’re wearing the Vans Ultrarange EXO on a daily basis and casually training in them, then I think you should be fine with durability. However, I would highly suggest limiting friction from external surfaces and keeping in mind that this model will have its limitations.
To discuss the Vans Ultrarange EXO’s performance, I’m going to break down how this model performs in a variety of training and daily wear contexts. Since this shoe is marketed as a shoe that can do it all, I wanted to see the range of activities where they excel and fall short.
By doing this, you can better assess and contextualize if this shoe is a good fit for your training and daily wear wants and needs.
Testing the Vans Ultrarange EXO for Lifting and Cross-Training
When it comes to lifting and training in the Vans Ultrarange Exo, this shoe does an okay job. I think if you’re using them more casually and training lighter, then you’ll enjoy the performance that this shoe has to offer.
In regard to stability, this shoe’s performance does fall short a bit, especially compared to other cross-training shoes, and I’d suggest capping lifts in this shoe to about 315 lbs. For the recreational lifter that wants a shoe for more casual training, I think this model’s stability will work though.
I like this shoe for days where I’m working remotely and want a casual shoe for all-day wear, then heading to the gym later in the day for lighter leg day training or upper body sessions.
For cross-training, this shoe does okay as well, but it’s definitely going to fall short if you plan to do more intense cross-training sessions in them. The UltraCush midsole provides a nice “pop” for some exercises, but there are a few construction elements of the shoe that fall a bit short.
A couple of these construction elements include the toe spring in this model and the upper’s long-term durability. The toe spring on this model could be a little better for grounding the feet when doing things like dumbbell snatches and kettlebell swings, and the upper durability could be an issue for high friction training contexts.
Testing the Vans UltraRange EXO for HIIT Workouts, Agility Training, and Plyometrics
This model works pretty well for some casual HIIT workouts, agility training, and plyometrics. When I say casual, I’m more so referencing the athlete and lifter that hits things like box jumps and other bounding activities throughout a workout, but they’re not their main focus.
The UltraCush midsole is responsive enough for casual jumping and HIIT-style training and the outsole tread and construction provide a pretty good grip on different surfaces.
While the traction is good in this model, I could see the flatter outsole in this shoe could be a turnoff for the athlete that has a primary focus on agility training and multi-directional activities. To add to this, this shoe doesn’t have the best medial and lateral support for this training context.
Basically, if you’re an athlete or super-niche in your training with a heavy focus on maximal performance output in these activities, then you’ll want to explore other options that are more hyper-focused on supporting athletic-style training like the Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2.
Testing the Vans UltraRange EXO for Walking, Standing, and Running
For daily wear, I really like the Vans UltraRange EXO. The midsole is super responsive and comfortable so you can wear it all day with ease. It’s a good model for anyone that wants a flatter shoe with a nice level of cushion and support.
The lightweight construction and rubber outsole make this a viable option for things like traveling, running errands, and wearing it to work.
In regard to running performance, I would say you might want to explore other options. You can get away with running shorter distances in this shoe if you have to, but it might not be the best option or most comfortable. Plus, its durability could be an issue for this performance ask.
Vans UltraRange EXO Sizing
For sizing, you should be safe going true to size in the Vans UltraRange EXO. This model’s length fits true and its toe box has a more neutral width to it so I think it will fit a variety of feet well.
- Vans UltraRange Exo Sizing Thoughts: Go true to size.
If you have additional Vans UltraRange Exo sizing questions or how they compare to other models, drop a comment below.
For a pair of new Vans UltraRange EXO shoes, you can expect to pay around $90 USD. Overall, this is a fairly cost-efficient price for a shoe that can be used for a wide range of activities.
Personally, I think this price point is worth it especially if you plan to wear these on a daily basis and train with them very casually. They’re a nice hybrid shoe for tackling a wide range of activities and looking good for daily wear.
Conversely, if you need a shoe for more serious training and lifting, then you’ll want to explore other options as this shoe’s performance will be limited.
Vans UltraRange EXO
- Daily Wear
- Casual Training
- Lighter Lifting
- For Long-Term Durability
- For Skating
- For Heavy Lifting
For those interested in the construction of the Vans UltraRange EXO I’ve provided some key features below. I think the biggest points to note are this model’s midsole and EXO skeleton construction.
- Heel-to-Toe Drop: Not specified (it feels like 0mm though!)
- Weight: 10.05 oz (for my size 10 model)
- Removable Insole: No
- UltraCush Lite Midsole
- Rubber Outsole for Traction
- Lightweight Mesh Upper
- UltraCush Tongue
- EXO Skeleton Construction
If you have additional questions about the Vans UltraRange Exo’s construction, drop a comment below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q:Are vans UltraRange EXO good for walking?
Q:Can you run in the Vans UltraRange EXO?
Q:What are Vans UltraRange for?
Q:Can you skate in vans UltraRange exo?
Overall, I enjoy the Vans UltraRange EXO shoes. They’re a great day-to-day model that you can casually train in, so if you are someone looking for a “best-of-all-worlds” style of shoe, then I think this model is worth exploring.
It’s important to note that this shoe’s training performance and long-term durability could be limiting factors, so I’d suggest keeping an eye on or being conscious of this when investing in this shoe.
If you have additional questions about the Vans UltraRange EXO shoes, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend)!