Vans_logo

Filed under: EDC Footwear 

Vans

Established: 1966  |  Country of Origin: USA

Vans was founded in 1966 by Paul and James Van Doren, Serge Delia, and Gordon Lee. It has stood for authenticity in youth lifestyle, music and action sports since day one. On March 16, 1966, at 704 E. Broadway, in Anaheim, California, brothers Paul Van Doren, James Van Doren, and three other partners opened up their first store. The Van Doren Rubber Company was unique in that it manufactured shoes and sold them directly to the public. On that first morning, 12 customers purchased Vans deck shoes, which are now known as Authentic. The shoes that were made earlier that day were ready for pick-up in the afternoon.

The company continued to grow into the 1970s. During this period they also produced wool lined canvas and rubber mukluks under contract to the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force. Skateboarders who liked Vans rugged make-up and sticky sole were seen sporting Vans all over Southern California in the early 1970s. In 1975, the Vans #95, known today as the Era was designed by Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta. With a padded collar and different color combinations the Era became the shoe of choice for a generation of skateboarders due to the non slip bottom making it easier to grip better. In 1976, Vans introduced the #44 shoe, and with the help of skateboarders and BMX riders the Vans Slip-On became all the rage in Southern California. By the end of the 1970s, Vans had 70 stores in California and sold through dealers both nationally and internationally.

As the 1980s rolled around, Paul Van Doren began to take a lesser role in the company’s activities. Over this period, Vans started to create shoes for a number of sports from skateboarding, wakeboarding, motor cross, to surfing in an effort to compete with large athletic shoe companies. Vans Slip-Ons gained international attention and appeal when they were worn by Sean Penn in the 1982, iconic youth film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.