Collection: Vans

The company Vans was founded by Paul Van Doren. Van Doren grew up in Boston, he left school early and joined his mother working in a shoe manufacturing company. Working his way up from the factory floor Van Doren quickly became Executive Vice President.

Enlisting the help of his brother Jim Van Doren and long term friend Gordon Lee, they turned around the failing branch of Randy's shoe manufactures based in California. This success inspired Van Doren and he took on the task of creating a new shoe brand. Rather than selling the brand to retailers, Van Doren wanted to sell directly to the public. He partnered with his brother Jim, Gordon and an investor Serge D'Elia and after a year of hard work on March 16th 1966 the Van Doren Rubber Company was born.

The company consisted of a manufacturing plant and a 400 square foot retail shop. Beginnings were humble, on the shop opening day there were only three pairs of shoe models for display purposes and the shelves were stocked with empty boxes. Customers were not deterred, they placed their orders and came back later to pick up their shoes. Fast forward a year and the company were opening a new shop nearly every week.

In the early 1970's the Southern California surfboarding culture gave rise to a new craze - skateboarding. Originally, Vans had a diamond pattern on the sole, complaints regarding longevity gave rise to a new design, patented as the Vans' waffle sole. This sticky waffle grip and sturdy construction was the perfect fit for skateboarding. With the request for new colours and patterns the company quickly responded with the Era model, a shoe actually designed by skateboarders Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta . Vans became the shoe of choice for skateboarders and thus began the company's devotion with the sport.

In 1979 the slip on was introduced, with the help of skateboarders and BMX riders this style became a huge success. Vans popularity continued to grow however, it was a movie which was to expose Vans to a national market. The 1982 blockbuster Fast Times at Ridgemont High featured Sean Penn wearing a pair of Vans checkerboard slip-ons in his role as the surfer dude Jeff Spicoli. This caused sales to rocket and the company moved to a 175,000-square-foot plant in Orange, California.

Proving its devotion to the skateboarding market, in 1998 the company opened its 46,000-square-foot indoor skateboarding park in Orange,California. It features a 20,000 square foot indoor street course, a Combi pool, mini ramps, an outdoor street course, and an arcade. The success of this triggered a series of similar parks nationwide. The companies first free skate park in Huntington Beach, California opeded to the public in 2014. It includes a 17,500 square foot skate bowl and a 25,000 square foot skate plaza.

Currently, Vans produces a wide and diversified range of shoes, for a variety of sports from wakeboarding to motocross. It continues to launch new ranges of skateboard shoes, named after athletes such as Geoff Rowley and Cory Nastazio. Popularity has increased over the past few years due to the re-introduction of the slip-on. As a way of showing thanks for the years of support from Vans as a company, the Vans skate team filmed a video in 2013. This is the very first Vans skateboard video (currently in production) filmed by Greg Hunt (from Alien Workshop Mindfield) and is the first film that he has been given complete creative control over.