Canvas Shoes And Sneakers: Can You Tell The Difference?

The best shoes are the ones worn for the right occasion. But many people are still confused between canvas shoes and sneakers due to their similar appearance. Some even use them interchangeably. 

So today, we will compare canvas shoes and sneakers side by side. Then, you can determine which one is more suitable for your next hangout! 

What Are Canvas Shoes? 

As their name implies, canvas shoes are lightweight footwear made of canvas. This fabric comes from hemp, giving it a coarse texture. 

Canva shoes are a basic style of sneakers. They come in many colors, designs, materials, sizes, and shapes. Thanks to their simplicity, you can use them for multiple purposes. 

However, these shoes don’t have excellent cushioning. Hence, do not expect shock absorption and support from them. Because of the lack of support, the shoes are not perfect for intense physical activities, such as running or aerobics. 

Moreover, manufacturers often focus on the flexible design of their products. It means that you can wear canvas shoes with different outfits, but they need to improve at resisting weather elements. 

Both types of shoes come in many styles and colors

What Are Sneaker Shoes? 

Sneakers are a kind of flexible, lightweight, and comfortable footwear ideal for athletic or other physical activities. Due to their stated function as athletic footwear, we call them by different names, such as running shoes, trainers, tennis shoes, or sports shoes. Yet, you can use them for casual activities too. 

The shoe has an upper part made of cloth. Meanwhile, the sole is made of rubber, making the footwear comfortable when doing sports. However, you can also find synthetic materials in some sneaker models.       

Sneakers get their name because of the squeaky noise coming from the rubber soles when walking. Many call rubber-soled shoes “sneakers” but it’s not true. 

Read more: How To Clean Canvas Sneakers

Sneakers are perfect for physical activities

Canvas Vs. Sneakers: What Are The Differences?

The main difference between the two kinds of shoes is that sneakers have a fabric or synthetic fabric top, while canvas footwear has a canvas upper. There are also other factors that set them apart from each other. 


The primary material for canvas shoes is canvas, hence the name. The fabric is a coarse texture for the upper of the shoe.

Canvas is a popular material in the shoe-making industry. Canvas slip-ons must be among the most prevalent ones. 

On the other hand, people use cloth or synthetic materials to construct the upper of a sneaker. You can also find canvas sneakers sometimes. 


Canvas shoes and canvas sneakers look the same. It’s when you check the insoles to distinguish them. Although they both may have rubber soles, the structure of a sneaker shoe is more durable and comfortable. 

Since we mainly use sneakers for sports, manufacturers focus on optimizing cushioning features in the insole. Then, you can wear them for hours without getting hurt. 

Shock absorption is also an impressive quality in sneakers. Thanks to this feature, you can wear Vans athletic shoes to skateboard comfortably. 


Durability depends on several factors, with material and construction being the most important ones. Thus, canvas shoes and sneakers may have varying quality. 

Big brands, like Vans and Adidas, offer durable products. Canvas sneakers and shoes made by Vans can stand the test of time easily. 

However, when comparing shoes from the same brand, sneakers are slightly more durable than canvas shoes. They work for dynamic physical activities, asking manufacturers to prioritize durability and sturdiness. 

Sneakers are more durable


A canvas shoe shop will show you tons of styles to choose from, and you will love how low tops and slip-ons complement your outfits in all seasons. Vans models can also be what you search for. 

Meanwhile, you don’t have many options when shopping for sneakers. The designs are simple but sturdy enough for you to enjoy your sports games. 

However, you can always choose the best items for your needs. For example, Vans is among the top choices for buying both canvas shoes and sneakers. Men, women, and kids may find their favorite in Vans. 

Canvas shoes are available in more designs for both men and women

Comparison Table 

We have discussed all the differences between canvas shoes and sneakers. Please check this summary table before heading to the shop. 

Criteria Canvas shoesSneakers 
UpperCanvasCloth and other synthetic materials 
InsoleLack of support and shock absorption Good support, comfort, and shock absorption 
Durability GoodMore durable 
StylesNumerous Limited 

Read more: Sneakers Vs Trainers: Are They The Same Or Different?


Canvas shoes are good casual footwear that complements your outfits. Even when worn at night, you can still shine out with your shoes. 

On the other hand, your feet will prefer the comfort of sneakers. Their sturdy design is perfect for your sports games. Hence, men and women who love sports are crazy about them. 

Hopefully, our comparison will help you settle on better footwear. For any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading! 


  1. Is canvas a sneaker?

    Yes. Canvas shoes are the basic style of sneakers. But they don't work, especially for sports like regular sneakers. Instead, people often use them as casual footwear.  

  2. Which one is better, canvas or sneakers?

    It depends on your purpose. Both can be casual footwear, but canvas shoes come with more styles, making them easy to mix with your outfits. Aside from the traditional black and white, you can get your canvas shoes in more color options. On the other hand, sneakers offer a higher level of comfort. They are also more durable, so you can wear them for hours without feeling any pain in your feet. 

  3. Why are shoes called sneakers?

    We use the term “sneakers” to refer to how quiet the rubber soles of the footwear are when walking on the ground.  

Naava Xin

Naava Xin

Naava Xin is the CEO and Founder of Outfitoza, she has over 5 years of experience in Clothing, she has helped hundreds of fashionistas understand more about fashion and love shopping.