Vans Old Skool vs Sk8 Hi Shoes [My Comparison of Sizing & Design]


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The Vans Old Skool and Sk8-Hi have an obvious difference in that the Old Skool is low-top and the Sk8-Hi, as the name would suggest, is hi-top. But when you compare Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi you find a few other not-so-obvious design differences that may impact which style best fits your needs.

Quickly, this is what jumps out the most to me:

  • Perhaps the biggest difference in design is the fact that the Vans Sk8-Hi is made with a durable canvas upper, and although the Vans Old Skool also uses the canvas material for the upper, it also has suede detailing over the toe, heel, and eyestay (eyelets).
  • Both styles differ from Vans Authentic (which has no padding) because these styles use padding around the collar and tongue. The Sk8-Hi is popular because the entire ankle area is padded, which provides comfortable support for performance.
  • Despite being low-top, the Vans Old Skool fits a bit higher on the foot and has more eyelets for lacing than other types of Vans low-tops. So even though the Vans Sk8-Hi has more ankle support, the Old Skool does provide higher support than some of Vans other low-tops.
  • I found the sizing to be very similar. If you scroll down, later in the article I use my side-by-side comparison photos to compare the sizing of these Vans shoes to other popular brands (and to other types of Vans shoes).
  • Both styles have the waffle rubber outsole with backside heel tab logo. And both styles feature the iconic sidestrip Vans logo.
  • These two styles do differ on weight, but not by much. My Vans Old Skool shoes weigh 1.03 pounds per shoe and my Vans Sk8-Hi shoes weigh 1.15 pounds per shoe (based on a size 12 men’s shoe).

Both styles were originally designed to be performance skate shoes and debuted in the 1970’s.

I recently tried six different types of Vans shoes. Just to give you an idea where the Vans Sk8-Hi and Vans Old Skool compare to other styles regarding weight, I listed all of the weights below (weights based off one size 12 men’s shoe):

ShoeWeight (lbs)Photo
Vans UltraRange 0.63click here to view
Vans EVDNT UW0.87click here to view
Vans Authentic 0.98click here to view
Vans Slip On0.99click here to view
Vans Old Skool 1.03click here to view
Vans Sk8-Hi1.15click here to view

In this article let’s take a closer look at the Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi so you can decide which style might be best for you. I will use specific sizing photos that I have comparing these styles to other popular types of shoes so you can feel more confident you are ordering the right size.

Table of Contents

Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi Shoes

Vans Sk8-Hi Shoes

The Vans Sk8-Hi shoes stick out from the pack when compared to other classic Vans shoes because they are high-top design. This shoe debuted in the 1970’s and is known for the padded support it provides around the ankle.

Although it was originally designed for performance, its retro design and iconic sidestripe logo has made it a popular casual shoe in recent decades. This shoe was originally known as “style 38”. It has the popular waffle outsole and features unique stitch detailing over the toe box that is not available in some of the other classics types of Vans shoes.

vans-sk8-hi-outsole

This shoe is a standard high-top design. Here are the four things to know about this style:

  • Padding — The Vans Sk8-Hi is known for padding around the ankle.
  • Sidestripe — This style does have the iconic sidestripe Vans logo.
  • Toe Stitched – Unique stitching across the toe box area.
  • Narrow design — This is a performance shoe made to fit snug for dependable grip.

The high-top padded collar really makes these shoes stand out from other types of classic Vans shoes. Here is a look at the padded collar on mine:

sk8-hi-padded-collar

The Vans Old Skool also has a padded collar, but obviously doesn’t fit up around the ankle like the Vans Sk8-Hi shoes do. Here is a look at the difference in height:

vans-old-skool-vs-sk8-hi-height

Perhaps the biggest difference in design is the fact that the Vans Sk8-Hi is made with a durable canvas upper, and although the Vans Old Skool also uses the canvas material for the upper, it also has suede detailing over the toe, heel, and eyestay (eyelets).

vans-old-skool-vs-sk8-hi-shoes
vans-old-skool-vs-sk8-hi-heel

The Vans Sk8-Hi shoes have the iconic sidestripe logo on both sides of the shoe (so does the Old Skool):

sk8-hi-vans-logo

I personally have found the Vans Sk8-Hi shoes to fit true to size with a snug design. They are sized consistently with other popular types of Vans shoes.

This is where you can view the entire selection of Vans Sk8-Hi shoes available at Vans.com (paid affiliate link takes you to Vans.com). To order Vans Sk8-Hi shoes in wide sizing, you actually need to go to the Vans “Custom” page, where you can make custom changes which include ordering custom wide fit shoes. Click here to view the custom wides available at Vans.com (affiliate link takes you to Vans.com).


Vans Old Skool Shoes

The Vans Old Skool shoes are another popular low-top design.

The Old Skool was made in the 1970’s, but rose to popularity in the 1990’s. When comparing the Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi, one design element that they have in common is both styles have the iconic ‘sidestripe’ logo.

vans-old-skool-shoes-side
vans-old-skool-logo
vans-old-skool-shoes-outsole

Here are the four things to know about the Vans Old Skool shoe:

  • Padding — The Vans Old Skool has padding around the collar of the shoe.
  • Sidestripe — This style does have the iconic sidestripe Vans logo.
  • Reinforced Toe – The toe box area on this shoe is reinforced.
  • Narrow design — This is a performance shoe made to fit snug for dependable grip.

Just like the Vans Sk8-Hi shoes, these Old Skool shoes use a canvas upper that makes it durable, but these Old Skool shoes have the suede detailing over the toe and heel that the Sk8-Hi shoes do not have.

These Vans Old Skool shoes have padding around the collar and tongue. Here’s a close-up look at the the padded collar of the Vans Old Skool:

vans-old-skool-padded-collar

Even though the Vans Old Skool fits lower than the Vans Sk8-Hi, it is important to note that the Vans Old Skool does fit higher on the foot than certain other low-top Vans (for example, the Vans Authentic shoes). This means more laces, which means more control passed over to your foot (a more secure fit).

For example, here are my Vans Old Skool shoes (right) compared to the Authentics:

vans-old-skool-vs-authentic-laces

The Vans Old Skool is made with a durable canvas upper (just like the Sk8-Hi), but as we discussed above, the Vans Old Skool has suede detailing on the toe, heel, and eyelets.

vans-old-skool-vs-sk8-hi-height
vans-old-skool-vs-sk8-hi-heel
logo-vans-old-skool-sidestripe

This style presents a retro low-top that Vans offers in many different styles and colors.

This is where you can view the entire selection of Vans Old Skool shoes available at Vans.com (paid affiliate link takes you to Vans.com). This shoe was originally known as “style 36”. It has the popular heel tab logo on the back.


Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi Shoe Sizing

In my experience regarding Vans sizing, all classic types of Vans shoes have a narrow, snug design. I order my normal sizing, but if you prefer a looser fit, you may need to size up (read more about Vans sizing).

Because they were originally built to be performance shoes, both the Vans Old Skool and Vans Sk8-Hi have this narrow, snug fit. I found the sizing of these two styles to be practically the same.

Here is my side-by-side comparison photo of my Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi sizing (Old Skool on left):

vans-old-skool-vs-sk8-hi

Again, I ordered my normal sizing, but don’t expect a loose fit. It might be best to verify your sizing using the link below that takes you to Vans.com sizing tutorial which which matches your foot size to a Vans shoe size.

***Verify Your Size***: Vans.com now has its own sizing tutorial which matches your foot size to a Vans shoe size. Click here to view it at Vans.com (paid affiliate link takes you to Vans.com).

Also, if you are looking for quick Vans sizing advice and don’t want to browse through all the comparison photos on this page, then this quick video below just summarizes my thoughts regarding how Vans fit:


Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing Comparison Photos

Below are the sizing photos I took for the Vans Sk8-Hi shoes compared to other brands (all shoes are size 12 men’s). I personally have found the Vans Sk8-Hi shoes to fit true to size with a snug design. They are sized consistently with other popular types of Vans shoes.

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Converse Chucks

sk8-hi-vans-vs-converse-chucks

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Converse Pro Leather

sk8-hi-vans-vs-converse-pro-leather

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Converse One Stars

one-star-converse-sizing-vs-vans-sk8-hi

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Adidas Superstars

sk8-hi-vans-vs-adidas-superstar

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Adidas Gazelles

adidas-gazelle-vs-vans-sk8-hi-sizing

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Adidas Busenitz

vans-sk8-hi-sizing-vs-adidas-busenitz

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Adidas Samba

vans-sk8-hi-sizing-vs-adidas-samba

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Adidas Nizza

vans-sk8-hi-sizing-vs-adidas-nizza

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Nike Cortez

vans-sk8-hi-sizing-vs-nike-cortez

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Nike Blazer

sk8-hi-vans-vs-nike-blazer

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Nike Air Max Excee

sk8-hi-vans-vs-nike-air-max-excee-sizing

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Nike Air Max 90

sk8-hi-vans-vs-nike-air-max-90

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Under Armour Hovr

sk8-hi-vans-vs-ua

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs New Balance 574

sk8-hi-vans-vs-new-balance-574

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Hey Dude Wally

sk8-hi-vans-vs-hey-dude

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Crocs

sk8-hi-vans-vs-crocs

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Adidas 2k Boost

sk8-hi-vans-vs-adidas-boost

Vans Sk8-Hi Sizing vs Vans Slip-On

sk8-hi-vans-vs-slip-on-vans

Vans Old Skool Sizing Comparison Photos

Below are the sizing photos I took for the Vans Old Skool shoes compared to other brands (all shoes are size 12 men’s). I personally have found the Vans Old Skool shoes to fit true to size with a snug design. They are sized consistently with other popular types of Vans shoes (Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi sizing is basically the same).

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Converse Chucks

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-converse-chucks

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Converse Pro Leather

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-converse-pro-leathers

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Converse One Stars

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-converse-one-stars

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Adidas Superstars

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-adidas-superstars

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Adidas Gazelles

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-adidas-gazelle

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Adidas Busenitz

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-adidas-busenitz

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Adidas Samba

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-adidas-samba

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Adidas Nizza

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-adidas-nizza

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Hey Dude Wally

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-hey-dude

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Nike Cortez

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-nike-cortez

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Nike Blazer

vans-old-skool-sizing-vs-nike-blazer

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Nike Air Max Excee

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-nike-air-max

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Crocs

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-crocs-sizing

Vans Old Skool vs New Balance 574 Sizing

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-new-balance-sizing

Vans Old Skool Sizing vs Under Armour Hovr

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-under-armour-sizing

Vans Old Skool vs Vans Slip On Sizing

vans-old-skool-vs-slip-on-shoes

Vans Old Skool vs Adidas 2k Boost

vans-old-skool-shoe-vs-adidas-boost-sizing

Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi Design

Side Logo

Both the Vans Old Skool and Vans Sk8-Hi shoes made their debuts in the 1970’s. One feature that stands out is both styles have the iconic “Sidestripe” logo.

Here’s a look at the side of my Vans Sk8-Hi:

vans-sk8-hi-shoes-side

Here’s a look at the side of my Vans Old Skool:

logo-vans-old-skool-sidestripe

Padded Collar

The Vans Old Skool and Vans Sk8-Hi may differ in that one is high top and one is low top, but both styles do feature a padded collar and padded tongue for cushioned support. Not all styles of classic Vans have padded collars like these two styles have.

Here’s a close-up look at the padding around the collar of one of my Vans Old Skool shoes:

vans-old-skool-padded-collar

Here’s a close-up look at the padding around the collar of my Vans Sk8-Hi shoes:

sk8-hi-padded-collar

Waffle Outsole

Both styles have the waffle rubber outsole with the iconic backside heel tab logo.

vans-sk8-hi-outsole
vans-sk8-hi-back-logo
vans-old-skool-shoes-outsole
vans-old-skool-logo

Upper Material

When comparing the Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi, the upper material is slightly different. Yes, both styles use the durable canvas upper that gives these shoes some toughness.

But the Old Skool has suede detailing over the toe box, eyestay (eyelets), and heel that the Sk8-Hi does not have. Below is a look at the toe box and the heel on my Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi shoes (Sk8-Hi is white):

vans-old-skool-vs-sk8-hi-shoes
vans-old-skool-vs-sk8-hi-heel

Performance Shoes

Both styles were originally designed to be low-top performance skate shoes. As we discussed, both styles debuted in the 1970’s.

Because they were originally built to be performance shoes, both the Vans Old Skool and Vans Sk8-Hi shoes have this narrow, snug fit. I found the sizing of these two styles to be practically the same.

vans-old-skool-vs-sk8-hi

Weight

When I weighed all the popular styles of Vans shoes, I found the Vans Old Skool and Vans Sk8-Hi to be two of the heaviest. My Vans Old Skool shoes weigh 1.03 pounds per shoe and my Vans Sk8-Hi shoes weigh 1.15 pounds per shoe (based on a size 12 men’s shoe).

To see how these shoes compared to other styles of Vans shoes regarding weight, visit my article about how much Vans classic shoes weigh.

Other Vans Shoes to Consider

In this article we compared the Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi shoes. If you want to read about other Vans shoes, visit our articles linked below:


My Vans Old Skool vs Sk8-Hi Conclusion

Both the Vans Old Skool and Sk8-Hi were originally designed to be performance skate shoes. The Vans Old Skool is a low-top design and the Vans Sk8-Hi is a hi-top design.

Perhaps the biggest difference in design is the fact that the Vans Sk8-Hi is made with a durable canvas upper, and although the Vans Old Skool also uses the canvas material for the upper, it also has suede detailing over the toe, heel, and eyestay (eyelets).

Both styles differ from Vans Authentic (which has no padding) because these styles use padding around the collar and tongue. The Sk8-Hi is popular because the entire ankle area is padded, which provides comfortable support for performance.

Both styles have the waffle rubber outsole with backside heel tab logo. And both styles feature the iconic sidestrip Vans logo.

Regarding sizing, my recommendation is to order your normal shoe size, but do not expect a loose fit. If you prefer a loose fit, you may need to size up. These shoes have a narrow, snug design.

To order wide Vans sizing, you actually need to go to the Vans “Custom” page, where you can make custom changes which include ordering custom wide shoes. Click here to view the custom wides available at Vans.com (affiliate link takes you to Vans.com).

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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