With a reputation for innovation, Vans is back with the UltraRange. The collection offers a new perspective on their classic shoes and styles such as high-top trainers, low tops sneakers, and lace-up dress sandals that feature contemporary design elements like quilted leather or metallic details.

Where have you been if you haven’t heard of Vans? They began in the 1960s by producing what is now widely regarded as the original, iconic skateboard shoes. Fast forward to now, and you’re likely to see them on non-skateboarders and even celebrities wearing them as a fashion statement.

Vans UltraRange EXO in Detroit

The UltraRange range of shoes was created with the Vans surf squad as a flexible travel sneaker that could be worn on any excursion. And we’ve been putting them through their paces for the last month, from visits to the supermarket to neighborhood jogs. The UltraRange range includes a few different models, but we’ll be focused on the Vans UltraRange EXO sneakers in this review. While some of the qualities we’ll discuss are shared by all of the shoes in the range, these shoes have some unique features.

Features, Fit, and Fabric

The traditional Vans “Old Skool” design is the first thing you see on the exterior of this sneaker. It has that vintage vibe that’s making a resurgence in current style thanks to the stripe—essential it’s yet timeless. And, with so many hues to choose from at the time of this review, it’s simple to personalize this look. Of course, we went with the classic Black, but there’s a color or pattern that would suit most tastes.

Vans UltraRange EXO StripeEXO Stripe Vans UltraRange

The UltraRange EXO’s upper is constructed of nylon. While Vans doesn’t provide much information about the materials it uses, we’ve found the top to be both robust and breathable—and since it’s breathable, it functions as the first line of protection against odor. (Due to the unpleasant smell of sweaty feet.) There’s also a water-resistant layer that goes just beyond the toes to keep moisture out. However, since this coating is lighter, we don’t advocate wearing them in the snow or especially damp conditions. (You could have “cold feet,” lol.)

Vans UltraRange EXO SkeletonVans EXO Skeleton UltraRange

The EXO Skeleton logo may be seen on the sneaker’s exterior (where this shoe seems to get its name). Thanks to interior soft cushioning and thicker exterior rubber, it supports your foot at the toes and sides, not only the top and bottom. The EXO Skeleton also wraps around the rear of the shoe, producing what Vans refers to as a “heel lock.” It provides the structure that allows for a close fit—the shoe isn’t so tight that it binds around our ankles, but it is secure (as in not loose).

Vans UltraRange EXO LacesVans EXO UltraRange Laces

The laces are the typical 45″ polyester laces that can be seen on other Vans sneakers. They’re nothing extraordinary, but they get the job done. We haven’t had any problems with them escaping on their own. Because they’re the same color as the shoe’s body, they also mix in nicely with the Black colorway we’ve been testing.

Vans UltraRange EXO Rubber SoleVans EXO Rubber Sole UltraRange

What precisely are you stepping on now? The midsole is EVA foam, while the outsole is made of die-cut rubber. The shoe’s outer sole is lined with foam, making it exceptionally pleasant and lightweight, like walking on clouds. (Wouldn’t it be fantastic?) Unfortunately, this foam stretched to the bottom of the Vans Lite line (an earlier version of Van’s we examined that employs identical materials for the sole). When it rained, this became a problem since it made them much more slippery.

That’s where the UltraRange EXO’s rubber outsoles come in. In our testing, they feature a “reverse-waffle” lug design that has offered enough traction on most terrains—dirt, gravel, cement, and so on—rain or shine. It’s a well-considered answer. If you are traveling challenging terrain, you may want to invest in a specialist hiking shoe.

Vans UltraRange EXO UltraCush® MidsoleUltraRange EXO UltraCush® 

The UltraCush® Lite midsole provides exceptional comfort without adding significant weight. The tongue of the shoe, also known as UltraCush®, is thickly cushioned and features openings that enable your feet to breathe since no one enjoys the scent of sweaty feet (or having sweaty feet, for that matter).

Vans UltraRange EXO HeelVans EXO UltraRange Heel

The UltraRange EXOs are pretty light in comparison to other shoes. While their little weight is appealing, they aren’t the most collapsible sneaker. Most of the shoes can be squeezed down, but the heel is relatively robust. (However, this is wonderful for when we’re wearing them since it provides additional support.) When preparing for minimalist travel, we’ve discovered that flatter, sleeker shoes fit better in a bag.

Yes, they’re less handy to pack since they’re bigger and harder to compress. These shoes, on the other hand, are pretty adaptable. You can hike, stroll, work out, and wear them casually. (Perhaps not to a business meeting or a formal dinner.) You’ll only need to bring one pair of shoes, saving space in your suitcase. In our opinion, there is no such thing as a bag tradeoff.

Testing & Durability

We’ve been testing the Vans UltraRange EXO sneakers for about a month in Detroit, as we said before. We’ve been wearing them around the home, to the supermarket, and on our regular runs pretty much every day (about three miles each). We feel at ease on our feet the whole time we’re wearing these Vans, and they’re light enough that they don’t slow us down.

But we love the adaptability of this sneaker—tough; it’s enough for workouts but soft enough for casual occasions. You won’t miss a beat going from one to the other. (If you wish to skip, these shoes are also suitable.)

Vans UltraRange EXO Foam DamageVans UltraRange EXO Foam Damage 

We detected some slight deterioration around the foam midsole’s border during our testing. Because the foam is so soft, when we impact the ground, the rubber on the bottom of the shoe compresses, making the foam’s edge the primary point of contact. So far, this hasn’t harmed the shoe’s general function, but it is starting to wear quickly—we’ll be keeping an eye on it.

A minor problem we’ve seen is a loose thread on one of the shoes, which we’ll keep an eye on as we continue to test these shoes.

Vans UltraRange EXO Loose ThreadVans EXO Loose Thread UltraRange

Another thing to keep in mind is that, like any other shoe, the insole accumulates moisture and odor with time. The insole on these Vans looks to be bonded to the rest of the shoe—this isn’t a big concern; it just means it’s a little more challenging to remove if you want to wash the sole and shoe separately.

Vans UltraRange EXO Insole

Frequently Asked Questions

Are vans UltraRange worth it?

A: They are a bit pricey, but they have excellent gas mileage and good performance.

Are vans UltraRange EXO good for skateboarding?

A: The UltraRange EXO are vans made for skateboarding, but they can be used for other purposes. They are not the best for skating in general due to their weight and size, and however, if you want a van that is specifically meant for this purpose, then these vehicles will work well.

Is the UltraRange Exo waterproof?

A: The UltraRange Exo is not waterproof, but it has an IPX5 water resistance rating. The device can withstand wetness from daily use and up to 5 feet of immersion in deep water for 30 minutes.

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