Converse vs. Vans: The shoe showdown

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Converse vs. Vans: The shoe showdown

Suvee Ranasinghe

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What a person’s wearing can say a lot about them. A women dressed in slacks, a blazer and high heels can assert that she’s confident, busy and in charge. A man dressed in floral shorts, a tank top and Rainbow sandals can make him seem like one of the stereotypical Ventura beach boys. For most teens, factors to decide whether to put on Converse or Vans on the way to school include comfort and style.

 

In a random survey of 61 Foothill students who were asked to choose between the shoes, 25 students choose Vans, 23 choose Converse and 13 declared a liking to both shoes.

 

Converse, also known as Chuck Taylors, were originally a basketball shoe, but made a transition to casual footwear when they gained popularity through  the media. As leisure was on the rise and fashion trends loosened across America in the 1950’s, Chuck Taylors were seen on the feet of star James Dean in the film Rebel Without a Cause. Without a doubt it was this movie that surged Converse onto the feet of the American Youth.conv-v-vans

Vans celebrate their 50 year anniversary in 2016, but didn’t gain their popularity until worn by skaters throughout California in the early 70’s. In a similar incident to how Converse gained recognition, Vans slip ons gained even more appeal when “worn by Sean Penn in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High” in 1982.

Though Vans are a very similar shoe in that they are casual and support almost any outfit, they do have their own characteristics. Unlike Converse, Vans come in a larger variety of styles. Converse are commonly found with their classic or sometimes cliche, striped rubber band along the bottom. Every style of converse includes their logo in the same places along the tongue and heel of the shoe, whereas Vans’ can be found in high top, mid rise and slip ons. Vans come in solid colors but also various prints, patterns and textures.

When Foothill students were surveyed and asked to rank both shoes on a comfort scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being painful and 10 being “I could go on a long hike in them,” it was evident that students felt Vans were more comfortable. While most responses for Vans were higher, responses for Converse were more scattered. Vans won with an average ranking of 7.16 in the comfortability scale, and Converse trailed shortly behind with an average of 6.31.

These results likely spurred from the different widths and arches of the shoes. Multiple students responded to the survey stating something along the lines of “I have wide feet and Vans are wider than Converse.” However, some students, like junior Natasha Urban stated that she preferred converse for the reason that they made her feet look slimmer.

Nonetheless, Converse are notably much more difficult to put on due to the small width of the shoe and the narrowness of the fabric that allows your foot to slide in. For high top Converse, individuals will find themselves loosening the first several rows of lace before being able to secure their feet inside.

Freshman Ryan Aranda expressed that Converse are “always a pain when you take them on or off” and also how “Vans are more suitable for special occasions.”

Freshman Vanessa Luna said that she enjoyed Converse for their ever lasting style and vintage appearance. “Converse have been in style for more than 40 years. My parents have owned pairs, and now I own a couple pairs,” Luna said.

Some students expressed their love for the shoe of their choice with immense passion. Senior Cliff Danza shared how Vans provide him with an artistic space unlike any other shoe. “Personalizing your shoes to be tailored to your specific tastes and sensibilities is so easy, especially with the generously proportioned surface area the shoes have.”

 

Vans won with an average ranking of 7.16 in the comfortability scale, and Converse trailed shortly behind with an average of 6.31.

 

“Ultimately, Vans shoes are more than a creative canvas for ingenious minds, or even the superior choice for day-to-day foot-care, they are a way of life,” Danza concluded.

In a random survey of 61 Foothill students who were asked to choose between the shoes, 25 students choose Vans, 23 choose Converse and 13 declared a liking to both shoes.

Regardless of what shoe you choose, each offers unique styles that will suit most outfits. Both provide durability, comfort and are sure to be worn for generations to come.

 

 

Background Illustration Credit, Infographic Credit: Jenny Chang / The Foothill Dragon Press

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