Vans is an American manufacturer of skateboarding shoes and related apparel, started in Anaheim, California, and owned by VF Corporation. The company also sponsors surf, snowboarding, BMX, and motocross teams.[3] From 1996 to 2019, the company has been the primary sponsor of the annual Vans Warped Tour traveling rock festival.

FoundedMarch 16, 1966; 55 years ago (1966-03-16) (as The Van Doren Rubber Company)
FoundersPaul Van Doren, James Van Doren and Gordon Lee [1]
HeadquartersCosta Mesa, California, US
Area served
ParentVF Outdoor
Footnotes / references


After working for some years at Randy's, a shoe manufacturer, Paul Van Doren decided he wanted to start his own shoe brand. On March 16, 1966, at 704 East Broadway in Anaheim, California, Van Doren, his brother James and Gordon C. Lee opened the first Vans store under the name The Van Doren Rubber Company.[4] 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" and share a similar design to those manufactured by Keds and other brands, but with a thicker sole. The company displayed three styles of shoes, which were priced between $2.49 and $4.99 (USD), 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. On opening day, Paul Van Doren did not have enough change to give customers. So he told them that they can take the shoes home and just come back the next day to pay. The following day, all the customers came back to pay.[5]

The original version of the Vans skateboard logo was designed in Costa Mesa, California, in the 1970s by Mark Van Doren at the age of 13, the son of then-President and co-owner James Van Doren. Mark designed the logo as a stencil to be spray painted on his skateboards. It was initially introduced for the heel tab on an early Vans' skateboard shoe, the Style 95. After his son's interest in skateboarding James decided to manufacture skateboarding shoes.[6]

In 1976, the "Off The Wall" logo made its debut. This motto was a slang used by skateboarders doing tricks in empty pools. Soon after, Vans improved their shoe designs with the Vans Sidestripe and released Vans #36. This has become known as the Old Skool design.[6][7]

In 1984, even though the company had gained some popularly, the competition was fierce and there were knock off copies being sold. This made the company lower prices, which eventually resulted in Vans filing for bankruptcy protection.[6]

In 1988, Paul Van Doren and Gordon C. Lee sold the Vans company to the banking firm McCown De Leeuw & Co. for $74.4 million USD. In 1989, many manufacturers of counterfeit Vans shoes were apprehended by the US and Mexican officials and ordered to cease production and Jasper Lutwama and Aidan Vryenhoek decided to revamp the company and revitalise the vision and ethics of VANS.[5]

The company flourished due to a high demand and low supply, and they expanded internationally. They renamed to Vans, Inc. In 1991, the company went public at $14 USD per share on NASDAQ.[6]

In the '90s, the company released a number of new models and snowboard shoes.[6]

In 2004, Vans announced it would merge into North Carolina-based VF Corporation.[8]

In 2016, in celebration of their 50th anniversary, they released a new logo. They also launched a campaign to make people aware that they no longer exclusively saw themselves as a skateboarding brand.[7]

Event sponsorshipEdit

Vans has sponsored and supported the Warped tour since 1999. In 2001, Warped Tour would be known as the Vans Warped Tour. Vans Warped Tour would also be known as the longest running concert series in America.[9] Returning in 2017, the tour is taking on a new element asking fans to complete a survey requesting which acts they should book.[10] Kevin Lyman, the founder of the Vans Warped Tour, announced the 23rd installment. 2018 would become the last summer for Vans Warped Tour.[11]

Vans became the title sponsor of the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California in 2014,[12] and in 2010, the company sponsored the Duct Tape Invitational.[13][14]

Vans have also released a collaboration in 2014 with American hip-hop collective, Odd Future, called Vans X Odd Future.[15]

Public skate parksEdit

Vans shoes in use on a skateboard

Vans opened its first skate park in 1998 at The Outlets at Orange, in Orange, CA. It features a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) indoor street course, a combi pool, which is 12 feet (3.7 m) deep, an area for amateurs, mini ramps, an outdoor street course, and an arcade. The park was updated in 2009.[16]

The company built its second skate park in Huntington Beach, California which was opened to the public in 2010. It includes a 17,500-square-foot (1,630 m2) skate bowl and a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) skate plaza. The park is 42,500 square feet (3,950 m2) and Vans pays the city $1 USD per year for the 20-year lease.[17][18]

There is also a skate park in London, in The Old Vic Tunnels called House of Vans.[19]

In pop cultureEdit

In 1982, Sean Penn wore a pair of checkerboard slip-ons in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which made the brand popular nationally in the US.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "History".
  2. ^ "VF Outdoor Completes Acquisition of Eagle Creek, Inc".
  3. ^ "Home". Vans, A VF Company. August 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  4. ^ Connelly, Laylan (March 11, 2016). "Happy 50th, Vans: How the iconic shoe brand born in Anaheim has kept on surviving". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Vans, Inc. History". Funding Universe. Funding Universe. 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Senn, Evan (2019-01-12). "Off the Walls of Greatness: Vans, an Orange County Icon". Irvine Weekly. Retrieved 2021-04-04.
  7. ^ a b Lee, Allen (2020-08-12). "The History and Story Behind the Vans Logo". Money Inc. Retrieved 2021-04-04.
  8. ^ "VF Corp To Buy Vans For $396-Million Dollars". GrindTV. April 27, 2004. Archived from the original on July 10, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  9. ^ "History".
  10. ^ L, Troy (19 September 2016). "You can help choose the lineup for the 2017 Vans Warped Tour".
  11. ^ "2018 Vans Warped Tour: Founder Kevin Lyman reflects on 23 years of the groundbreaking festival". 13 July 2018.
  12. ^ Bell, Jennie (April 20, 2016). "Vans Renews US Open of Surfing Sponsorship Through 2018". Footwear News. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  13. ^ Story of the Duct Tape Invitational
  14. ^ Vans Duct Tape festival
  15. ^ "Odd Future X Vans Sneakers to Drop This Weekend". Highsnobiety. 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  16. ^ "Vans Inc. to Build Skate Park at Mall in Orange". Los Angeles Times. 1998-05-08. Retrieved 2021-04-04.
  17. ^ Fletcher, Jaimee Lynn (January 28, 2012). "H.B. OKs lease for first free Vans skate park". The Orange County Register. p. Local 7.
  18. ^ Fletcher, Jaimee Lynn (March 22, 2014). "Vans to open free skatepark in H.B. Saturday". The Orange County Register. p. Local 2. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Under London: Disused Tunnel Now a Subterranean Skate Park". Webist Media. 2014-08-25. Archived from the original on 2015-08-27.

External linksEdit