Vans was first conceived in the tenacious mind of Paul Van Doren. Having lived and breathed shoes for the duration of his working life, he decided to combine his considerable experience and business expertise and finally forge his own dream into a rubber-soled reality. That dream was to manifest itself on a street in Anaheim, California, in the shape of The Vans Doren Rubber Company.
First opening its doors in 1966, the store was truly unique, in that it custom-made its shoes and had them ready for collection on the same day. Built from scratch, from blood, sweat and tears and fuelled by the sheer passion of Van Doren, the company was already finding its way into the hearts and minds of local Californians.
Steadily growing in its popularity year by year, by 1976, skateboarders all across Southern California were seen sporting Vans shoes, and the brand is still identified with the riotous ethos of skateboarding culture to this day. The unique padding around the heel and the ‘stickiness’ of their soles made them perfect for skateboarders, preventing many a splintered shin or broken calf bone – or so the legend goes.
By the 1980s, Vans diversified and began manufacturing shoes for basketball players, baseball players and even wrestlers! In 1982, when Sean Penn was seen, rocking a pair of Vans in coming-of-age movie ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’, the brand was able to effortlessly cement itself as a fashion staple in the wardrobes of rebels and hipsters all around the globe.
Vans now produce over 60 different designs, including retro-classic slip-ons, casual day-to-night sandals and of course, not forgetting their high-performance skate shoes. Now also trading in Britain as Vans Shoes UK, the brand continues to expand and it seems that nothing can stop their global domination.
And so the legend continues….