The Vans Back to School guide

When it's time to go back to school, being organised will keep you ahead of the game and prepared for success. The Vans back to school guide covers all the essentials, ensuring that you’ll be ready for everything the new school year has in store.

Back to school checklist

Our back to school checklist covers clothing, bags, stationery and accessories so that you are prepared to achieve.

  • Clothing - look for durability to handle the daily grind
  • Coat - be prepared for wind and rain
  • Shoes - versatile, comfortable footwear is a must
  • Stationary - make sure you're equipped to learn
  • Water bottle - stay hydrated!
  • Accessories - including hats, sunglasses and other essentials
  • Backpack - you'll need something to carry everything in

Using this list as a guide, think through your specific needs in each category.

Back to school essentials

Back to school essentials should be selected based on your individual needs. Think through the categories of clothing, footwear, bags and accessories. Whether you’re heading off to uni, high school or shopping for younger members of the family, use this guide below to make informed decisions that work for you.


To choose the perfect school backpack, consider capacity, compartments and fit.

Backpacks with a capacity below 30 litres are generally known as daypacks and are ideal for school use. To determine the right size, think about what you'll be carrying, especially books and folders, which can be bulky. Will you need to carry additional clothing or a packed lunch?

The inside of a daypack may be one single space or separated by dividers or pockets. Separate compartments help keep your gear organised and easily accessible, although the dividers themselves take up some space. If you are carrying a laptop or tablet to school, then a padded sleeve or compartment is essential to protect your electronics. The 22-litre Realm backpack features a padded, internal laptop sleeve along with adjustable shoulder straps and the classic Off the Wall logo patch.

Factors affecting the fit of a backpack include size, straps and padding. The longer you have to carry the bag, the greater the need for a comfortable straps and back panel. Heavy loads will also require well-fitted or adjustable straps to avoid strain on the shoulders and back. Finally, consider additional features such as external pockets for water bottles or other quick-access items. The feature-packed Construct Snowpack includes adjustable waist and sternum straps along with exterior board-carrying attachments, vented zip pockets and an anti-odour treatment. 

The Vans range of school backpacks combines ergonomic design with our enduring Off The Wall style for a selection of functional, versatile, effortlessly cool bags.



School clothing needs to be comfortable, versatile and durable enough to withstand regular, active wear. Look for hard-wearing fabrics that are comfortable for long days in the classroom. If you're going to be spending time inside and outdoors, then layers are essential to handle the varying temperatures. 

Our Chalkboard Classic Leggings are flexible and comfortable, made with a cotton-elastane blend for added stretch. The Authentic Chino Relaxed Trousers are built with a workwear fabrication process for enhanced durability. Add a cool finishing touch to your outfit with classic Vans socks in plain or retro styles.

Think through the seasons of the school year to consider other items. The classic Drop V Snapback Hat and range of sunglasses could be essential in the summer, while a warm beanie hat is indispensable in the colder months. The varied range of Vans bucket hats let you cultivate your own unique sense of style as you return to campus.

Coats and Jackets

Start your search for a school jacket or coat by thinking through the weather conditions you are likely to encounter throughout the year. Insulated jackets are great for the winter but can be bulky to carry around school all day. Windproof jackets use tight weaving and fabric coatings to create a barrier against wind chill on long walks to school. The Summer Camp Windbreaker is a shell jacket that keeps cold air out while remaining breathable and lightweight.

Water-resistant materials use water-repellent coatings to keep you dry if you get caught in a sudden shower. A lightweight, waterproof outer jacket can be ideal for packing in your bag in case of rain. The Riley Jacket is a water-resistant coat with a fleece-lined body and hood to keep you warm when the temperature starts to drop.


School shoes take a lot of wear and tear, so consider longevity as well as style. Vans became popular from the earliest days of skateboarding due to a combination of rugged construction and durable soles. The same features that enhanced comfort and grip for skateboarding have endured beyond the skating world, and their iconic style is instantly recognisable.

The Vans Old Skool Shoes, in youth or adult sizes, combine the timeless Vans heritage with progressive features. With durable uppers, rubber soles, reinforced toes and padded collars, these are shoes that are built to last. A fresh set of colour options add flexibility to the timeless design.

Vans Skateboarding Presents: LIZZIE | Skate | VANS

Vans Skateboarding Presents: LIZZIE | Skate | VANS

All-black shoes

If you're looking for all-black shoes for school, start by familiarising yourself with the school policy. If you need all-black Vans shoes, then look no further than the Vans Era shoes. The skate-style shoe of choice since its debut in 1976, the classic feel is enhanced with innovative design features that maximise durability and longevity.

For the perfect finish to any shoes, add some Vans laces, available in a wide range of colours, as well as the signature checkerboard style.


Back to school planning should involve all your stationery needs. Think about more than just functionality. A nice range of stationery is crying out to be used and provides that extra nudge of motivation to start your homework! Grab a spacious Vans pencil case to keep everything together. 

Staying hydrated during the day is essential, so a refillable water bottle is great for you and kind to the environment. A drawstring bag is ideal for your gym kit, and a cool, compact wallet will keep your cards and cash organised. The Vans back to school accessory range includes crossbody bags for carrying smaller items along with iconic belts, lanyards and keychains to add flair to your daily outfit.

Ease the transition from the holidays to the start of the school year by making sure you're prepared for the first day. Using this guide to help you consider all your needs ensures you’ll be completely organised. When you're ready to make a decision, check out the full range of Vans shoes, clothing and bags here.