What Are Canvas Shoes? (Fully Explained)

Shoes are part of our day-to-day, and you have probably not even wondered what material your favorite shoes are made of. But have you heard of canvas shoes before?

This is perhaps a tricky question, but a significant one, as you want to make sure you are using sturdy and durable footwear, aside from looking good. So, what exactly are canvas shoes, and why use them?

What Are Canvas Shoes?

A canvas shoe is made from a coarse cloth material made from hemp. It is used for various things such as tents, sails, and shoes. Canvas shoes are available in various colors and styles. They can be purchased in both high top and low top.

Who Are Canvas Shoes For?

If you are a runner, do aerobics, or play tennis, then go in for a pair of canvas shoes. These shoes are great for both the beach and the yard. If you have sensitive skin then it is wise to wear rubber or vinyl gloves when you spray your shoes.

What Are the Examples of Canvas Shoes?

The most popular canvas shoe brands are Vans, Converse, and Keds. Canvas shoes are made of a sturdy cloth that comes from hemp, cotton, or linen, named canvas. This material is commonly used in sails, tents, painting canvasses, and shoes.

Vans Canvas Shoes

These skater-style shoes have become incredibly popular, and some even consider it a casual formal wear shoe. They come in many colors, with different patterns and styles. Don’t be scared, some choices look 100% formal, so there’s plenty to choose from.  Here are some pros and cons to be aware of:

  • Durable-Vans are known for their durable design. You get get through your school years without having to replace your shoes often due to wear & tear.
  • Versatile—can be used in formal shoes with a darker and more serious color and style, or can be used as a relaxed and casual style with different patterns and brighter colors.
  • Easy to find—Vans are everywhere! You can find them in your local shoe store, in the department store, or online. If canvas Shoes is what you’re shopping for.Vans are easy to find.
  • Expensive—these shoes are not cheap, they are not too pricy, but the more intricate the pattern or style, the more expensive they will be.
  • Not a lot of support—because Vans has a specific look to them, these shoes don’t offer a lot of support and can be hard to wear for someone with flat feet.
  • Have to be broken in—also because of their style, some consider Vans to be hard at first, and this requires time and usage to soften. That means they need to be broken in and can cause blisters the first couple of times you wear them.

Converse Canvas Shoes

The real name is Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, or also called “Chucks”, and these shoes have been popular since the 1980s after the famous basketball player Charles “Chuck” Taylor began wearing them. Now, these shoes are everywhere, and here are some pros and cons to know of:

  • Worth the price—Converse shoes can be expensive, but they are worth it, as you can get many styles, colors, and even your own customized model.
  • Comfortable—unlike Vans, “chucks” are not tight and fit right in immediately without a problem. This is a very important feature for people who’s planning to wear this shoes a lot.
  • More coverage—because they come up higher and give more coverage, these shoes can be easier to wear every day, protecting your ankles too.
  • Often imitated—since they are so popular, Converse shoes are often imitated, and this can be annoying when you are paying full price for the original models.
  • Hard to clean—since they are all fabric and cover more of your leg, these shoes can be extremely hard to clean, and if you get a rock in your shoe, taking them off may take more than 5 minutes.
  • Flat sole—the shoe does come higher and protects your ankle, but the sole is still very flat, which can cause some pain after a long day of walking.

Keds Canvas Shoes

These are considered the most popular shoe for younger crowds, but they can also be stylish and fun at any age. Consider these factors before buying them:

  • Affordable—of these three brands, Keds are the most affordable, and they are sold almost everywhere too!
  • Varying colors and sizes—anyone can wear Keds, from a middle schooler to a mom, as they come in all sorts of sizes, models, and colors. They can even look professional for a workday.
  • More support—compared to Vans and Converse, Keds are comfortable and offer more support. Most models come with a wide and larger sole, which can prove to be more supportive in longer days and workouts.
  • Not very durable—because they are so affordable, that also means the quality isn’t the highest, which is why they can wear out quickly.
  • Limited options in person—Keds are very popular, but they are hard to find in varying models in person. If you go to your local shoe store, you may only find a few styles. This means you’ll have to check out the options online instead.
  • Not too many options for men—unlike the other two brands, Keds aren’t as mainstream in the men’s shoe wear world. You can find some models online, and lots of options for kids and teenagers, but not that many options for adult men.

Other popular brands to check out include Superga, Lucky Brand, TOMS, and Sketchers. Make sure you compare reviews, materials, and prices.

Difference Between Canvas Shoes and Sneakers

Sneakers and canvas shoes are different types of shoes that are used for various physical activities. Sneakers are suitable for activities such as running and dancing while canvas shoes are light and practical for everyday wear. These two types of shoes are different though they have the same basic features.

Why are Canvas Shoes Popular?

Now that you know that canvas shoes are good for dirt and can be used in casual or formal settings, let’s get more into the details. These are some of the advantages of using canvas shoes over other shoes:

  1. Great in hot temperatures: canvas is a breathable material that doesn’t absorb heat, which makes it an excellent option for hot summer days. These shoes are also light, so they can be easy to wear when you feel hot and muggy on a humid day.
  2. Affordable: these shoes are not made from leather or suede, two expensive animal skins. Instead, canvas is made from cotton, linen, and hemp, which make the finished product much cheaper than other materials. But don’t associate affordability with less quality, canvas is a resistant material and less delicate than some more expensive choices.
  3. Many styles: whether you want laces or not, canvas shoes come in various shapes and styles. Because of this, they match several outfits, including jeans, casual pants, shorts, dresses, and more.

Related: thinking about shopping for a pair? See how canvas shoes should fit before you buy.

How Long Do Canvas Shoes Last?

Since canvas shoes are very durable and are very low maintenance, they last for a long time. These canvas shoes can be easily washed in the washing machine. If they are dirty, then gently scrub them with a soft cloth and a commercial detergent.

It is usually advised to remove the laces and wash them with soap or water. They can be easily washed and put on a line to dry. Once they are dry, they can be reused.

When wearing canvas shoes in the winter, they should be removed as soon as possible. These should be removed with a minimum of effort to remove the salt stains from the road. The canvas will eventually crack and look like it has been stained with oil.

To avoid this, wash and dry canvas shoes with a soft and dry cloth. Never allow them to get hot or get damaged by placing them near a fire or any other combustible object.

Shoetrees are commonly purchased at most shoe stores. They can be used to straighten out the toes of your shoes. Also, pack them with newspaper or regular paper to keep them in their original shape.

Can Canvas Shoes Be Business Casual?

Canvas shoes for men and women don’t have to be just casual footwear. They can also be worn in business settings. The key here is to know how to mix and match your clothes with canvas shoes, and also what is appropriate and what is not.

So, here are some tips for using canvas shoes in a business casual setting:

  • Age is just a number: we’re not talking about how old your canvas shoe is, but rather, your age doesn’t truly matter if you wear your chosen shoes with confidence. There are some things to consider, such as style and color, as not every style will match your outfit. But if you like your shoes and how they look, wear them with pride.
  • Dress code matters: not all offices or businesses are open to people wearing canvas shoes, and that is often implied in the type of setting, but make sure you check first just in case. These days, unless you are a lawyer or a financial analyst, people accept canvas shoes as part of a suit and tie outfit, but better check first.
  • Always clean your shoes: no one wants to see you arrive looking great and then take a quick look at your shoes and see all the dirt on them. Before you put your business casual outfit together, make sure you clean your canvas shoes, which can be done easily with a damp cloth, or some water and detergent. 
  • What you wear matters:
    • Shorts: because these are more casual, you can wear canvas shoes with no socks, and bright colors.
    • Chinos: these pants are more formal, but they can be used with white canvas shoes or colored ones, depending on the shirt too.
    • Jeans: not a lot of people wear jeans to a business meeting, but if you do, consider using canvas shoes that have some color to them and contrast what you’re wearing.

Canvas shoes vs Leather shoes for Business Casual

If you are still on the fence on whether canvas shoes are appropriate for work or if you should stick it out to leather shoes, there are some factors to consider. Take a look at the pros and cons of canvas shoes vs leather shoes:

  • Canvas is a breathable, resistant, and comfortable material that creates a shoe that is breathable.
  • More styles, colors, and models. Since canvas is an easy material to work with, you can find them in all shapes, patterns, and sizes.
  • Breathable and heat resistant. Canvas doesn’t absorb heat, so it’s safe to walk with them on the hot pavement. Also, you can feel more comfortable as they do allow air to come through.
  • Easy to clean and care for. Canvas can be very low maintenance, as it can be cleaned with simply water and detergent.
  • More affordable. Because canvas is a common material and easy to use, canvas shoe brands are usually affordable.
  • Unlimited options. Canvas shoes are everywhere. They can be known brands, like Vans or Converse, or unknown brands from your local store.
  • Leather comes from animal skin, making the manufacturing process more complex but also making it more long lasting.
  • Casual and formal looks are common in leather shoes, making them a good choice in formal sneakers or in business attire.
  • Contrary to popular belief, leather is breathable, but it is not heat resistant, so in the summer, your feet will feel the temperature.
  • Higher maintenance and harder to clean. Leather can discolor and grow old, so cleaning it has to be done with materials designated only for leather shoes. Also, water can ruin leather after a while.
  • More expensive. Leather is hard to get and requires more complex processes, so these shoes tend to be in the higher price range.
  • Fewer options. While there are thousands of brands out there, leather shoes are something you should try in person, and in this case, those brands are limited. You can try your local shoe store, but you may not find as many choices.

Tip: canvas shoes can look like leather shoes for half the price.

Benefits of Canvas Shoes

Canvas shoes are low maintenance. This means you can get them dirty, and cleaning shouldn’t be a big fuss. However, if you are planning on walking in puddles, try applying a cloth care spray on them. Once you are covered in this material, your shoes will repel most dirt and will stay clean.

But when should you wear canvas shoes? Truly, any time you want. These shoes are very shock-resistant, which means they can work in pavement, grass, and in some sports. If you are doing high-shock sports, though, make sure you pick a model with more support. Also, since canvas cleans easily, you don’t have to worry about ruining the fabric at all.

Finally, let’s talk style. Canvas shoes look and feel good. Some varieties are even formal, giving you the opportunity to go to that job interview you have been dreading without getting blisters on your feet. While models vary from brand to brand, you can pretty much always find canvas shoes in any shoe store, and if you go online, the options are endless. But make sure you check sizes, as some brands vary in size and fit.

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