Vans Footwear: On March 16th, 1966, in Anaheim, California, Paul Van Doren and three partners opened up their first ever store selling custom made surf shoes and in that single day the Vans brand was born. The Van Doren Rubber Company was unique at the time in that it manufactures shoes and sells them directly to the public. On that first day, 12 customers purchase shoes in the morning, which were made that day and ready for pick-up in the afternoon. The Vans #44 deck shoe, which is now known as the Authentic, was born. By the end of the 1970s, Vans had 70 stores in California and sells through dealers both nationally and internationally. Vans Slip-On gained international attention and appeal when Sean Penn wore them in the 1982 iconic youth film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” By 1989 Vans were available all over the world with outlets and stockists in most developed countries.
Vans begins creating the world’s leading action sport series with the sponsorship of the inaugural Triple Crown of skateboarding, which then develops into the Vans Triple Crown series which includes events in skateboarding, BMX, surfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, motocross and super cross. 1998 sees Vans open the first of its kind, a 46,000 square-foot indoor-outdoor Vans Skate park at the Block in Orange County.
2001 sees Vans financing the production of Dogtown and Z-Boys, Stacy Peralta’s look at the beginnings of skateboarding and the personalities that evolved the sport past its initial ‘toy’ status. The film takes the Audience Award and the Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Sean Penn narrates the film. The same year Vans buys controlling interest of the Vans Warped Tour, the nation’s leading action sports and music festival.
Vans stage what many consider to be the best bowl contest of all time, the inaugural Pro-tec Pool Party 2005 which took place in the replica of the legendary Combi Bowl at the Vans Skate Park at the Block at Orange. Vans adopt a new concept in skate street contests with the Vans Downtown Showdown, held in the Universal Studios Back Lot on Labour Day.
Vans carries a number of ranges which constitute each aspect of its diverse market. It has a Pro Core range especially for the skate market endorsed by its pro riders, its Team range, Pro classics, Legends, Core Classics, Surf shoes, Syndicate range and Vault which is the Vans answer to a high end, up market shoe made with premium materials and often in collaboration some of the worlds most influential artists, designers or fellow like minded brands. There is pretty much a shoe in there for all tastes and pursuits.
To focus on a small but integral part of Vans as THE classic skate shoe brand, we must look at the core classic range, for never has there been a number of styles in footwear that have stood the test of time like the Authentic, the Chukka, the Halfcab, the Era or the the Slip-on. This is bread and butter for Vans and is the fabric of its persona with skateboarding. Timeless in style, limitless in colour-up potential and customization, these shoes have been here forever and will probably never go out of fashion or favour. In all seriousness though, Vans celebrate over 45 years at the heart of youth culture.
The Vans skate team reads like a who’s who of the main players within skateboard culture especially among the pro ranks. Geoff Rowley, Tony Trujillo, Dustin Dollin, Anthony Van Engelen and Johnny Layton make up the signature ranks with other professional riders including Ray Barbee and the legendary John Cardiel. UK team looks to be Aaron Sweeney, Andy Scott, Ben Grove, Chris Oliver, Helena Long, Josh 'Manhead' Young, Lois Pendlebury, Marc Churchill, Pete King, Sam Beckett and Stephen 'Rogie' Roe, the masters team is Sean Goff, Greg Nowick and Howard Cooke.