How to Prevent Vans from rubbing blisters into your heels and ankles

Whether you're a skater or just "doing fashion" ūüôĆ , Vans have been a wardrobe staple for a while.

But for a shoe that's supposed to be super comfortable, these sneakers sure do cause a lot of headaches. So many, in fact, that it's common to hear you just need to "break them in".

This just isn't always the best advice.

"Breaking in Vans" really often actually means "breaking in your feet" to build up callouses where uncomfortable shoes rub. It can work for some people, but for those of us that don't wear them often enough or just can't seem to get it to work, we need another solution.

And getting to the point of callouses means rubbing your heel and ankle skin (especially in the achilles tendon area) so much that blisters form.

And then you still sometimes don't get relief after the blisters heal.

Why are my heels rubbing in Vans?

This is the right question to ask. First the "why" and then the solution.

Heel rubbing occurs because Vans come in "standard" sizes for "typical" foot shapes.

But many people have foot shapes that are just different enough that it causes a foot-shoe mismatch.

One of the most common mismatches that causes ankle/heel rubbing is when the wearer's feet or heels are narrow.

Many people don't even know they have narrow heels, but if you find that your heel can't quite stay in place when the rest of your shoe fits properly, this is likely your issue.

As a note, heel rubbing is more common with Vans slip-on shoes, but it can happen in the laced styles as well.

Okay, so how do I wear Vans without painful heel rubbing or blisters?

You've got options:

  • (Try to) break in the Vans... possibly with petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
    • BUT: If you can get this to work, you'll have to endure¬†a cycle of blisters and callouses, and it doesn't even work for many people
  • Utilize adhesive heel pads¬†on the inside back wall of the shoe
    • BUT: These keep the friction against your skin! And they tend¬†to focus more on the¬†lower back wall of the heel counter,¬†leaving the top "collar area" of the shoe's heel "counter" to rub against your achilles tendon.
  • Use insoles
    • BUT: These tend to push your foot up into the "upper" but don't change the heel geometry that you need help with. They can even make it worse by¬†pushing your heel too high for the "shoe collar" to grip above your heel.
  • Rock those¬†extra-thick¬†tube socks
    • Spoiler: These usually work great!
    • BUT:¬†Tube socks force you into an exposed-sock look. If you're looking for that look, this is amazing. But if you want the "sockless" look (especially with slip-ons),¬†tube socks won't work.
  • Slip on conventional thin no-show socks
    • BUT: These are usually either paper-thin (not giving your heels the padding they need) and/or are cut way too high to remain hidden
  • Wear Skinnys extra-thick padded-heel sock liners
    • A great solution, if we do say so ourselves. Please read on.

How will Skinnys solve for Vans heel-rubbing?

Photo of a lady's feet wearing Skinnys

Rather than trying (and failing) to make your shoes adapt to fit your unique feet (like with adhesive heel pads), or trying to toughen your feet by building up callouses through pain, Skinnys use targeted heel-wall padding to help your feet adapt to the shoes, while wrapping them in cushioned comfort.

Unlike virtually every other no-show sock‚ÄĒwhich are inexplicably paper thin‚ÄĒSkinnys¬†focus¬†padded attention straight to your heel walls to make your foot the shape that Vans "expect".

And... they're some of the lowest-cut no-shows on the market for maximum invisibility. We promise they won't show in your Vans... even a little bit.

Illustration of sock highlighting extra-thick heel cup and wrap-around silicone grip (also: stay-put elastic band, super invisible cut, and comfort-padded sole)

  • 3x-thick heel cups, padded with terry cloth (thickness compared to other no-show socks)
  • 2x-poured silicone grip that wraps all the way around the heel cup to ensure a snug fit even on the sides of the heel (compared to other brands that only use a thin layer directly behind the heel, with nothing on the sides)
  • Super-low cut to¬†stay hidden in most slip-on walking shoes.
  • Available for women and men in various sizes

Beware: All "padded socks" are not the same

Other liners marketed as "thick" or "padded" are most often unpadded in the heel counters with little silicone to grip.

Read our blog post to see why... and how to find out if socks are actually thick in the heel!

What if I'm blistering in my Vans even with tube socks?

For even more thickness and blister-protection, Skinnys can also be used as an underlayer beneath tube socks.

In underlayer usage, blistering is almost always completely eliminated, as the "rubbing" surface is shifted... from the edge between your skin and the sock (or shoe)... to the surfaces between the Skinnys underlayer liner sock and the outer tube sock.

This also allows you to wear tube socks with your Vans but get extra padding protection, especially in the heels.

Time to try Skinnys?

We'd love to have you try a pair of Skinnys. (Or, even a 3-pack.) We think they'll work for you, because they worked for us. And because 25% of our business is repeat customers, we're pretty sure they're becoming the best new tool in the arsenal to tighten people's step.

If you have any questions, please contact us. We're quick to respond, and we love talking to customers!