Vans is an American shoe and apparel manufacturer headquartered in Costa Mesa, California. The company was founded in 1966 by Paul Van Doren, James Van Doren, and Gordon C. Lee. Paul, James, and Gordon worked for Randy’s shoe company for almost 20 years before establishing the first Vans store in Anaheim, California.

Vans started manufacturing skateboarding shoes in the 1970s and expanded to become a leading skateboarding shoe company. It owns a 46,000-square-foot skate park and the 35,000-square-foot Vans Skate Park. In 2022, VF corporation, parent company of Vans, generated $11.8 billion in revenue.

Vans evolved with consumer needs to stay ahead of the competition. In the 1960s, the company produced shoes for schools, cheerleaders, and drill teams across Southern California to match their uniforms. In 1976, the company launched its “Off the Wall” logo. Aligning with skateboarders’ slang for doing tricks in empty pools enticed this target market.

The company also sponsors the Vans Warped Tour, the Vans Triple Crown Series, the US Open of Surfing, renowned BMX teams, skateboarders, surfers, and snowboarders. In Sep 2021, Vans partnered with video game Roblox to develop its metaverse, Vans World.

This interactive experience allows skateboarders to skate in various parks while wearing the latest Vans gear. But Vans faces stiff competition from Converse, Nike, Adidas, Fila, and Puma. [2]

Here is an in-depth analysis of top Vans’ competitors and alternatives:

1. Converse

Year founded: 1908
Headquarter: Boston, Massachusetts

Converse is an iconic brand that offers footwear, apparel, and accessories. The company is owned by Nike. In 2021, Converse had 2,900 employees and generated $2.2 billion in revenue.

Converse designs and sells sneakers, tennis shoes, and other rubber shoes. Both Converse and Vans have a loyal customer base and popular sneakers in the same price range. Like Vans, Converse also offers shirts, pants, and other clothing items.

Converse’s canvas basketball sneaker, the All-Star, evolved from athletic shoes to casual footwear that celebrates individuality and self-expression. The brand inspires teens and young adults to proclaim their identity through fashion, music, art and skating. Converse is the top Vans competitor for many reasons. [3]

2. NIKE, Inc.

Year founded: 1964
Headquarter: Beaverton, Oregon

Nike is the world’s most valuable sportswear brand. The company manufactures and sells sportswear and casual wear. In 2021, Nike had around 76,000 employees and made $44 billion in revenue.

The main competitive advantage for Nike is its extensive collection of athletic footwear, sneakers, and sports apparel and equipment. Nike is a stylish athletic brand, while Vans caters to consumers within and beyond the athletic market.

Both Nike and Vans are adopting the metaverse. In Nov 2021, Nike filed seven trademark applications to sell virtual branded sneakers and apparel via the metaverse. Vans partnered with Roblox in 2021 to develop its Vans World. The two rivals will be competing in physical and virtual space. Nike is the best alternative to Vans for professional athletes. [4]

3. Adidas

Year founded: 1949
Headquarter: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Adidas is the second most valuable sportswear brand after Nike. The company operates in around 160 countries and owns Runtastic, TaylorMade, and Matix. In 2021, Adidas had about 60,000 employees and generated 21.23 billion euros in revenue. [5]

Adidas offers more variety than Vans, including footwear, apparel, and hardware. Adidas has influenced the music scene and urban culture since the 1970s. The company partners with high-profile celebrities like Beyonce, Kanye West, and Pharell Williams.

But Vans has more influence than Adidas in the punk rock and grunge music scene. Adidas is one of the best alternatives to Vans for stylish footwear.

4. New Balance

Year founded: 1906
Headquarter: Boston, Massachusetts

New Balance is one of the pioneers in sports footwear, with over 110 years in the sector. The brand offers sports apparel and footwear in more than 120 countries globally. In 2021, New Balance had around 5,400 employees. Its revenue decreased 15% to $3.4 billion in 2020 and increased by 30% in 2021 to over $4 billion. [6]

New Balance controls around 19% of the baseball segment in MLB, trailing Nike with 43% and Adidas at 22%. But the company is also leveraging emerging markets, with 2,500 stores in China and 500 stores in South Korea.

Its classy footwear with simple designs stands out from the bold sporty shoes offered by competitors. New Balance is the best Vans alternative for athletes.

5. Puma

Year founded: 1948
Headquarter: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Puma is a German sportswear brand and the third-largest sportswear manufacturer globally. The company sells sportswear, footwear, apparel, accessories, and sports equipment. In 2021, Puma had around 13,000 employees and reported a 32% increase in revenue to $5.9 billion. [7]

Puma is an athletic brand, but it has expanded its product line to cater to casualwear consumers. The company encroaches on Vans as it broadens its target market.

Another advantage for Puma is its global presence. It sells its products directly to customers via more than 700 stores worldwide. Puma is a formidable Vans competitor.

6. Fila

Year founded: 1911
Headquarter: Seoul, South Korea

Fila is a sporty casualwear brand owned by Anta Group, China’s largest sportswear company. The brand rose to fame in the 1980s and influenced teen culture and fashion among urban youths. In 2021, Fila Holdings posted a 21.3% increase in revenue to $3.3 billion. Its net income surged 71% to $295.2 million. [8]

Fila is more of a casual wear brand than an athletic brand. So, it is more similar to Vans than Nike, Puma, or Adidas. Its products were featured in the 2019 Milan Fashion Week.

The company works with influential trendsetters like Rihanna. But Fila has not fully recovered from its decline in the late 1990s. It still has a long way to go to regain its former glory. Fila offers an alternative to Vans for casual footwear.

7. Under Armour

Year founded: 1996
Headquarter: Baltimore, Maryland

Under Armour offers branded athletic performance apparel, footwear, and accessories. Its products empower athletes and enhance their performance and experience on the field, track, or court. In 2021, Under Armour had 16,400 employees, and its revenue increased by 27% to $5.7 billion.

Both Under Armour and Vans rely heavily on North America. In 2021, Under Armour’s revenue from North America was $3.8 billion versus $1.9 billion from international markets.

Unlike Vans, Under Armour makes more money from apparel than footwear. Under Armour is one of the best alternatives to Vans for athletic footwear and accessories. [9]

8. Reebok

Year founded: 1895
Headquarter: Boston, Massachusetts

Reebok started as a manufacturer of running spikes and evolved into an American sportswear powerhouse in the 1980s. The brand was acquired by Adidas in 2005 for $3.8 billion. In Aug 2021, Adidas sold Reebok to Authentic Brands Group (ABG) for $2.5 billion. [10]

Both Reebok and Vans offer sneakers and casual wear. Reebok’s white leather athletic footwear, sneakers, and tracks dominated the market in the 1980s and 1990s. Under new ownership, Reebok is born anew. The sneaker brand seeks to rebuild and reclaim its former glory. Reebok is a worthy alternative to Vans.

9. Champion

Year founded: 1919
Headquarter: Winston-Salem, North Carolina  

Champion manufactures and sells casual wear, footwear, and accessories. Its product portfolio includes t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, leggings, shorts, jackets, sneakers, sandals, bags, hats, and collectibles. In 2021, Champion had around 5,000 employees and made $2 billion.

Champion was producing sportswear for NFL and NBA teams during the 1970s. It had several contracts before Vans transformed into a skateboarding shoe company. In Mar 2021, Champion launched its spring collection in new digital and NFT format.

Consumers can now engage with its products in several ways. The new format includes custom 3D content for avatar and AR emoji systems. Fans can dress their avatars in digital Champion apparel and accessories. Champion is one of the most experienced Vans competitors. [11]

10. Skechers

Year founded: 1992
Headquarter: Manhattan Beach, California 

Skechers is a comfort technology company that offers lifestyle and performance footwear, apparel, and accessories. It is the third-largest athletic footwear brand in the US. In 2021, Skechers had 11,700 employees and generated $6.3 billion in revenue.

Skechers offers its products to consumers in over 180 countries through department and specialty stores. It also sells directly to consumers via 4,306 retail stores and e-commerce websites. Both Skechers and Vans are lifestyle footwear brands.

In 2022, the company expects to achieve sales of between $1.67 billion and $1.73 billion. Skechers is an affordable alternative to Vans. [12]  

11. Anta Sports

Year founded: 1991
Headquarter: Xiamen, Fujian, China 

Anta Sports is China’s largest sportswear brand. The company offers sports apparel, footwear, and accessories. In 2021, its annual revenue surged by 38.9% to $7.76 billion. Anta Sports has recorded profitable growth for the eighth consecutive year.

The main competitive advantage for Anta Sports is its dominance of the Chinese market. In 2020, the company held 15% of China’s market share. ANTA Group owns Anta Sports and Fila.

The group uses the multi-brand strategy to strengthen its hold on the No. 1 spot in China and achieve global leadership by 2030. Anta Sports is the top alternative to Vans in China. [13]

12. Columbia Sportswear Co.

Year founded: 1938
Headquarter: Portland, Oregon 

Columbia Sportswear manufactures and sells footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessories. The company also owns Mountain Hard-Wear, SOREL, and prAna brands. In 2021, Columbia’s net sales increased by 25% to $3.13 billion from $2.5 billion in 2020. [14]

Columbia Sportswear and Vans provide products that connect consumers with their passions. Both offer outdoor, active, and everyday lifestyle apparel, footwear, and accessories. But Columbia’s brands cater to all outdoorsy consumers in around 90 countries. Columbia Sportswear is a worthy alternative to Vans.

13. Spitfire

Year founded: 1988
Headquarter: Singapore 

Spitfire is a skateboarding brand that offers skateboard wheels, bearings, tools, grip tape, clothing, stickers, and accessories. It is part of the Deluxe Distribution network with Krooked, Anti Hero Skateboards, and Real. In recent years, the world’s top riders switched to Spitfire wheels.

Both Spitfire and Vans offer skateboarding merch. But Spitfire also provides high-performance wheels. Spitfire’s Formula Four Conical Full 99a and 99d Classics are the best skateboard wheels.

Renowned riders like Shane O’Neill, Theotis Beasley, and Sean Malto use Spitfire wheels, increasing its competitive advantage. Spitfire is one of the best alternatives to Vans for skateboarders. [15]

14. Xtep International Holdings

Year founded: 1987
Headquarter: Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong

Xtep is a leading professional sports brand that offers sportswear, including footwear, apparel, and accessories. It is one of the fastest-growing sportswear companies in China. In 2021, Xtep’s revenue grew 23% to $1.6 billion. The company also secured $64 million from local private equity powerhouse Hillhouse Capital.

Xtep focused on running shoes and built a running ecosphere as the Chinese embraced this sport. In 2021, the IAAF certified 11 events in China, including the Xiamen Marathon. More than half of all runners wore Xtep “160X” series shoes during this race. Xtep outcompeted international brands for the first time in the latest edition of the Xiamen Marathon. The company co-developed an “Xtep X Shaolin” series with the Shaolin Temple.

This move adds elements of traditional Chinese culture to Xtep’s brand and broadens its reach to cater to a new generation of runners. Xtep is a formidable Vans competitor in the Chinese market. [16]

15. Zumiez

Year founded: 1978
Headquarter: Lynnwood, Washington

Zumiez is a specialty retailer of apparel, footwear, and accessories. The company caters to youths by helping them express their individuality through sports, streetwear, fashion, music, culture, and art. In 2021, Zumiez had around 8,800 employees and reported a 19.5% increase in revenue to $1.18 billion.

Zumiez is the go-to retailer for skater gear, new skateboards, and sturdy skateboarding shoes. As of Feb 2022, Zumiez had 602 stores in the US, 52 in Canada, 67 in Europe, and 17 in Australia. The company operates four e-commerce websites and 738 stores globally, with plans to open 34 new stores in 2022. Zumiez is the best alternative to Vans for all-in-one skater needs. approximately [17]

Year founded: 1949
Headquarter: Kobe, Japan

16. Asics

Asics is a shoe brand that produces footwear for different sports categories. In 2021, the company recorded a 13.7% increase in net revenue, and operating income rose 121.8% to €83.1 million. Its profits surged across all categories and channels.

Asics offers high-performance athletics footwear. Its retro models are on par with top-selling running shoes, such as Nike’s Vaporfly Next% sneakers. Asics’s popularity is increasing globally.

In 2021, the company’s sales surged 27% in Italy, 24% in Iberia, 19% in Germany, 18% in South Africa, and 16% in France. It is Europe’s leading running and tennis brand. Asics is one of the best alternatives to Vans for professional athletes. [18]

17. Li-Ning Sports

Year founded: 1989
Headquarter: Beijing, China  

Li-Ning is a Chinese sportswear and sports equipment company founded by renowned former Olympic gymnast Li Ning. The company holds 6.1% of the market share in China and ranks third after Anta Sports and Xtep. In 2021, Li-Ning announced a partnership with renowned skater Erik Ellington. After this deal, the brand launched its first-ever skateboarding line with shoes and apparel.  

Both Li-Ning and Vans endorse several athletes and teams globally. In Mar 2021, Li-Ning was sanctioned for using North Korean labor for production. The Indian Olympic Association dropped the Chinese sportswear brand as its official uniform sponsor.

The sanction has eroded the brand’s gains in the American market in the last decade. According to a 2021 report from The NPD Group, Chinese consumers prefer homegrown brands such as Li-Ning instead of international brands like Vans. Li-Ning is one of the top alternatives to Vans in the Chinese market. [19]

18. Brixton Inc.

Year founded: 2004
Headquarter: Oceanside, California 

Brixton is a privately-owned premium apparel and accessories brand. Like Vans, Brixton offers clothing pieces for skateboarders. The company makes around $36 million annually. So, it has a long way to VF Corp’s $11 billion in revenue.

Both Vans and Brixton leverage music, culture, and other expressions to inspire skateboarders. Brixton customers can find other options if they don’t want to look like a skater.

In 2021, Brixton opened two new stores in Oceanside and one store each in Long Beach, Encinitas, and Tokyo, Japan. The company expects to double its revenue and grow an additional 45% in 2022. Brixton is a worthy Vans competitor. [20]

19. Pacific Sunwear (PacSun)

Year founded: 1980
Headquarter: Anaheim, California

PacSun is an American retail clothing brand. The company sells apparel, footwear, and accessories for teens and young adults via 400 stores scattered across 50 states. In 2021, PacSun had around 8,200 employees and generated $900 million in revenue.

PacSun leverages live-stream shopping, Bitcoin, AR, VR, and gaming to engage and sell products to young online shoppers. Like Vans, PacSun is also exploring the metaverse. The brand partnered with rapper A$AP Rocky to launch its latest collection.

A$AP Rocky helped the company accumulate 1.7 million followers on TikTok. The retailer sells a variety of brands for surfers and skaters, including Vans. PacSun is a worthy Vans competitor. [21]

20. K-Swiss

Year founded: 1966
Headquarter: Los Angeles, California

K-Swiss is a footwear brand specializing in tennis shoes, sneakers, and tennis-related apparel. In 2019, Xtep’s subsidiary acquired K-Swiss and Palladium. This acquisition enticed several investors. In 2021, Hillhouse Capital invested $65 million in K-Swiss and Palladium.

K-Swiss collaborates with influential athletes. In 2020, the brand partnered with Venus Williams to create a new collection and redesign K-Swiss Classic 66.

This collaboration can entice more tennis players and their fans to the brand. As a subsidiary of Xtep, K-Swiss has enough resources to grab some market share from Vans. [22]

 References & more information

  1. Henriquez, C. (2021, Dec 22). Not Just a Shoe Brand, Vans Continues to Encourage Creativity and Self-Expression. Voice of OC
  2. Molina, B. (2021, Sep 1). Shoe company Vans launching ‘Vans World’ within Roblox as part of metaverse push. USA Today
  3. Tighe, D. (2021, Aug 3). Revenue of Converse worldwide 2010-2021. Statista
  4. Golden, J. (2021, Nov 2). Nike is quietly preparing for the metaverse. CNBC
  5. Tighe, D. (2022, Mar 21). The Adidas Group’s net sales worldwide from 2000 to 2021. Statista
  6. Ryan, J. T. (2021, Nov 15). New Balance CEO Eyes Strong Bounce Back In 2021. SGB Online
  7. Dixon, E. (2022, Jan 21). German sportswear brand’s earnings for the financial year more than double to €557m. Sports Pro Media
  8. McGee, B. (2022, Mar 23). Fila USA Revenues Increased 11.5 Percent in 2021. Formula4Media
  9. Under Armour, Inc. (2022, Feb 11). Under Armour Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2021 Results. PRNewswire
  10. Dunne, B. (2022, Mar 3). The New Reebok: After Adidas, What Happens Now? Complex
  11. Streets, M. (2021, Mar 31). Champion Launches 2021 Spring Collection in New Digital and NFT Format. Footwear News
  12. WF Editor (2022, Feb 4). Skechers closes 2021 with record sales. World Footwear
  13. Xin, H. (2022, Mar 23). Chinese sportswear giant Anta posts strong growth in 2021. China Daily
  14. Columbia Sportswear Co. (2022, Feb 3). Columbia Sportswear Reports Record Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Financial Results. Business Wire
  15. Evo Review (2021, Jun 1). The 5 Best Skateboard Wheels of 2021.
  16. Ming, L. (2022, Mar 23). Xtep Revenue Leaps to Record on China’s New Long Run to Sports. The Bamboo Works
  17. Zumiez Inc. (2022, Mar 10). Zumiez Inc Announces Fiscal 2021 Fourth Quarter Results. Globe Newswire
  18. Halliday, S. (2022, Feb 11). Asics EMEA sees strong growth in 2021. Fashion Network
  19. Ciment, S. (2022, Mar 21). Li-Ning Responds to Suspicions of Potentially Using Forced Labor in North Korea. Footwear News
  20. Concepcion, M. (2021, Sep 14). Brixton Inc. Expanding Brick-and-Mortar Footprint. SDBJ
  21. Chikhoune, R. (2022, Apr 11). PacSun Is Back to $900M in Sales, Focused on Partnerships and a Digital-first Strategy. WWD
  22. Lau, M. (2022, Mar 23). Xtep Revenue Leaps to Record as China Embraces Sports. Bamboo Works

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