Vans is a United States based manufacturer of shoes—the company also produces apparel, and other products such as t-shirts, hoodies, socks, hats, and backpacks. As of August 2013, the brand is active in the actions sports industry and sponsors skateboard, surf, snow, BMX, and Moto X teams.[2]



On March 16, 1966, at 704 East Broadway in Anaheim, California, U.S., brothers Paul Van Doren and James Van Doren, Gordon Lee, and Serge D'Elia opened the first Vans store under the name The Van Doren Rubber Company. Paul Van Doren and D'Elia owned the majority of the company, while James Van Doren and Lee each owned a 10 percent stake. The business manufactured shoes and sold them directly to the public. On that first morning, twelve customers purchased Vans deck shoes, which are now known as "Authentic". The company displayed three styles of shoes, which were priced between US$2.49 and US$4.99, but on the opening day, the company had only manufactured display models without any inventory ready to sell—the store rack boxes were actually empty.</sup>

Nevertheless, the twelve customers selected the colors and styles they desired, and were asked to return later in the afternoon to pick up their purchases. Paul Van Doren and Lee then rushed to the factory to manufacture the selected shoes. When the customers returned that afternoon to pick up their shoes, Paul Van Doren and Lee realized that they had forgotten to maintain a cash reserve to provide change to customers. The customers were therefore given the shoes and asked to return the following day with their payments. All twelve of the customers returned the following day to pay for their items.[3]


In 1976, Vans introduced the "#44" shoe, and with the help of skateboarders and BMX riders, the Vans "Slip-On" became popular in Southern California. By the end of the 1970s, Vans had established seventy stores in California, U.S., and sold through dealers, both nationally and internationally.The company continued to grow into the 1970s. Skateboarders who liked Vans' rugged make-up and sticky sole were seen wearing Vans all over Southern California in the early 1970s. In 1975, the Vans "#95", known today as the "Era", was designed by professional skateboarder Tony Alva and skateboarding figure 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 being more conducive for a better grip.

During this period the company also produced wool-lined canvas and rubber mukluks, under contract to the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force.



During the 1980s, Paul Van Doren began to take a less significant role in the company’s activities. During this period, Vans started to create shoes for a number of sports, including: skateboarding, wakeboarding, motocross, and surfing in an effort to compete with the large athletic shoe companies. Vans Slip-ons gained international attention and appeal when they were worn by Sean Penn in the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.


Vans owed US$12 million in debt by the end of 1984 and Paul Van Doren later filed for bankruptcy. After two years, Paul Van Doren finished paying his debts and once he regained his company, the demand for shoes was extremely high. Vans subsequently produced over two million shoes and generated over US$50 million.

In 1988, Paul Van Doren sold the Vans company to the banking firm McCown De Leeuw & Co. for US$74.4 million. In 1989, many manufacturers of counterfeit Vans shoes were apprehended by the US and Mexican officials and ordered to cease production.[3]


Vans closed their Orange, California factory and began manufacturing footwear overseas in 1994. Also in 1994, Vans sponsored the inaugural Triple Crown skateboard contest series that developed into the Vans Triple Crown contest series. In 1998 Vans opened the 46,000-square-foot (4,300 m2), indoor-outdoor Vans Skate park at the Block in Orange County, U.S.


Vans closed their Orange, California factory and began manufacturing footwear overseas in 1994. Also in 1994, Vans sponsored the inaugural Triple Crown skateboard contest series that developed into the Vans Triple Crown contest series. In 1998 Vans opened the 46,000-square-foot (4,300 m2), indoor-outdoor Vans Skate park at the Block in Orange County, U.S.

In 2002, Vans opened an enclosed skatepark in the Festival Bay Mall on International Drive in Orlando, Florida that was eventually closed on January 21, 2012. At this time, the shoes were still being sold for as little as US$5.At the commencement of the 21st century, Steve Van Doren, the son of Paul Van Doren, remains with the company, as does his sister Cheryl and his daughter Kristy. In 2000 and 2001, Forbes recognized Vans as one of "America’s Best Small Companies."

In 2004, Vans launched the Vans "Customs" feature on its website, whereby customers could log onto the Vans website and design their own pair of Vans slip-ons, mid-cuts, or high-tops. As of 2013, customers can also design custom Era, Slip-On, Old Skool, Authentic, Authentic Lo-Pro, and 106 Vulcanized shoes.

As of August 2013, the Vans skateboard team is filming a video and team rider Geoff Rowley explained in an August 2013 interview that the video will represent a team of grateful Vans riders returning the support that they have received from the shoe brand thus far.[4]




  • Tony Trujillo
  • Geoff Rowley
  • Anthony Van Engelen
  • Chima Ferguson
  • Gilbert Crockett


  • Dustin Dollin
  • Johnny Layton
  • Andrew Allen
  • Chris Pfanner
  • Curren Caples
  • Jason Dill
  • Daniel Lutheran
  • Elijah Berle
  • Keegan Sauder
  • Omar Hassan
  • Pedro Barros (BRA)
  • Alex Perelson


  • Kyle Walker




  • John John Florence
  • Dane Reynolds
  • Patrick Gudauskas
  • Tanner Gudauskas
  • Dane Gudauskas
  • Nathan Fletcher
  • Joel Tudor
  • Alex Knost
  • Andrew Doheny
  • Dylan Graves
  • Kalani Chapman
  • Shea Lopez
  • Nathan Florence
  • Ivan Florence
  • Kai "Borg" Garcia
  • Josh Mulcoy
  • Jared Mell


  • Leila Hurst[6]


  • Pat Moore
  • Andreas Wiig
  • Zac Marben
  • Darrell Mathes
  • Mark Landvik
  • Hana Beaman
  • Markus Keller
  • Arthur Longo
  • Eric Willett
  • Cheryl Maas
  • Iouri Podladtchikov
  • Wolle Nyvelt[7]


  • Ryan Guettler
  • Scotty Cranmer
  • Cory Nastazio
  • Gary Young
  • Tyler Morrow
  • Sean Sexton
  • Francisco Zurita
  • Daniel Sandoval
  • Dennis McCoy[8]

Warped TourEdit

Vans has sponsored the Warped Tour for over 15 years.[9]

The company built its first free skate park in Huntington Beach, California which is open to the public in 2014. It includes a 17,500 square foot skate bowl and a 25,000 square foot skate plaza. The park is 42,500 square feet (3,950 m2) and Vans pays the city US$1 per year for the 20-year lease.[10][11] This park is open 7 days a week.

The first skate park was opened in 1998 at the Outlets of Orange. It features a 20,000 square foot indoor street course, a Combi pool, which is 12 ft. deep, an area for amateurs, mini ramps, an outdoor street course, and an arcade. The park was updated in 2008.[11]

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