Why Are Vans Shoes So Expensive? 10 REASONS WHY

Vans shoes are expensive because they have become fashion symbols and status items, newer styles incorporate more advanced technologies and materials, and the brand has cultivated loyal followers who will pay higher prices for the iconic Vans styles and reputation.

Vans shoes have become one of the most popular sneaker brands over the last few decades, especially among teens and young adults. Known for their simple canvas slip-on styles and colorful checkerboard prints, Vans seem like an affordable shoe option compared to big athletic brands like Nike or Adidas.

However, many consumers are surprised to find that Vans don’t always live up to their reputation as an inexpensive brand. While you can find some classic Vans styles for around $50, other pairs can cost $70, $80, or even over $100. This begs the question – why are Vans shoes so expensive?

Top 10 Reasons Why Vans Shoes Are So Expensive

1. They are seen as a fashion symbol

Vans have become a fashion statement, especially in youth culture. Their iconic styles are recognizable symbols of streetwear, skater culture, and more. When shoes double as fashion pieces, brands can drive up prices and still see strong sales. The demand allows Vans to charge more for styles that are trendy or in limited releases.

2. More technology and materials in newer styles

While classics like the slip-on and Old Skool have a simple canvas design, newer Vans styles feature more athletic shoe technology. This includes cushioning, traction soles, suede/leather, and durability features. For example, the UltraRange line has a lightweight UltraCush midsole and durable outsoles. These upgrades allow for higher pricing.

3. Limited edition collections

From partnerships with artists, musicians, and designers – Vans is known for frequent limited edition collections. Scarcity allows them to charge collectors and hypebeasts higher prices for exclusive prints and colorways. Some past partnerships include collections with Disney, Nintendo, and famous artists like Basquiat.

4. Premium and collaborative designs

Along with limited editions, Vans creates general releases with premium materials and collaborative designs. Examples include the Horween leather collections, Made for the Makers packs with high-end materials, and collabs with brands like A Tribe Called Quest and Odd Future.

These unique designs involve more input, quality materials, and exclusivity that support higher prices.

5. Celebrity/influencer endorsements

Like other major sneaker brands, Vans utilizes celebrity endorsers and influencers to increase hype around their shoes. Mega-stars like Kristen Stewart, Rihanna, and Bruno Mars have all had Vans deals and collections. In the age of social media, influencer marketing helps justify higher pricing for branded or limited release Vans.

6. Focus on distributing through skate/surf shops

While Vans has expanded into big box retailers, the brand remains committed to stocking shoes at local skate, surf, and specialty shops. These small businesses have higher overhead costs than big retailers, so Vans likely adjusts wholesale pricing to accommodate small distribution channels. The higher wholesale prices then drive up retail costs.

7. Operating costs have increased over time

Vans first opened in 1966, when operating costs were lower across the board. Factors like manufacturing, equipment, shipping, and labor costs have all increased dramatically in 50+ years. These long-term rising costs both within Vans and across suppliers contribute to gradual price increases.

8. Promotional pricing strategy

Vans doesn’t heavily discount or offer many sales on their shoes. This promotional pricing strategy allows them to justify higher everyday prices. When you pay near full price most of the time, it makes periodic promotions seem more exciting. This helps Vans maintain perceived value in their shoes.

9. Strong brand loyalty allows for pricing power

Diehard Vans fans continue buying despite higher costs. The company has built strong brand recognition and loyalty over decades. Fans are less sensitive to high or increasing prices because they identify with the Vans brand and look. This gives Vans leverage to charge more without losing customers.

10. Air of exclusivity from limited distribution

Unlike brands that saturate the market, Vans limits distribution to create an air of exclusivity. Consumers tend to perceive products that are harder to obtain as being worth more.

Limited distribution makes finding certain Vans shoes more challenging, which leads consumers to believe they have more inherent value. This perception allows the brand to justify premium pricing.

IS Vans A Good Shoe Brand?

Yes, Vans is considered a good and reputable shoe brand known for classic skater styles, durable canvas, and unique collaborations with artists and musicians.

Are Vans Shoes Good?

Vans shoes are praised for being comfortable, versatile for casual wear, and having unique styles for self-expression, though some criticize the lack of arch support.

Are Vans Shoes Worth The Price?

For their iconic styles and brand cache, most find Vans worth the price, though their increased costs in recent years have caused some buyers to view them as overpriced.

Where To Buy Vans Shoes?

Vans are sold at Vans retail stores, skate/surf shops, specialty boutiques, and major retailers like Journeys, Tilly’s, Zumiez, and DSW, along with online at Vans.com and sites like Zappos.

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