The History of Vans Shoes

Need great shoes for skateboarding? Vans shoes are the world’s No.1 for the activity. However, since their founding in 1966, their journey to become a top-rated brand has been anything but easy. 

You may not be aware of some interesting historical facts about the celebrated Vans Shoes. So, let’s take a quick look into 14 things that may be new to you.


1. The Brand Was Initially Named the Van Doren Rubber Company

Located in Anaheim, California, The Van Doren Rubber Company was the foundation of the Vans shoe brand. The company’s shoes were characterised by their grippy soles. Van Doren Rubber did not just make any type of shoe; they were specific on the canvas models. The majority of those who purchased shoes from the company simply referred to them as Van’s. On realising the popularity of the name, the company swiftly rebranded with their new identity: Vans.


2. Instead of Names, Vans Initially Used Shoe Numbers

Earlier Vans productions were numbered and not named. For instance, Authentic, Vans’ first production, had the number #44. For their prices? Women’s shoes go for $2.29 while men’s shoes cost $4.49. The #44 was then followed by #95, which is now referred to as Era, then the Slip-On, which was numbered #36.


3. The Era Model was the First to be Designed and Used by Skateboarders

Vans was not initially created with skateboarding in mind. However, with an increase in the popularity of the activity, the skateboarders developed a liking for them. It may have been due to their shoes’ grippy soles.


4. Vans Made Shoes for the United States Air Force in the 1970s

The United States hired Vans to make shoes for the air force during the 1970s. The shoes had wool linings and were named the Canvas Mukluk. 


5. Vans Slip-On, Known as #36, were Featured in Fast Times in 1982 at Ridgemont High

While playing the California surfer character Jeff Spicolli, Sean Paul felt the Vans shoes were perfect and requested to wear them in the Fast Times movie. This publicity by Sean Paul boosted their market presence and sales.


6. Vans Filed for Bankruptcy in 1984

The company was growing too fast, and soon, they could not keep up. The company had diversified into different types of shoe styles, and this posed trouble. Vans then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; years later, the company was put up for sale. Despite the transfer of ownership, Paul Van Doren, one of the founders of Vans, still worked 

at the company.

7. Vans Production Moved Overseas in 1993

Vans maintained their shoe production in California, USA, during the 1980s when companies moved overseas for a faster turnaround. However, with time, their shoe prices went up and soon, they had to relocate too, which they did in 1993.

Vans Did the First-Ever Supreme Collaboration

8. Vans Did the First-Ever Supreme Collaboration

Vans did a shoe collaboration with Supreme in 1996 when the Supreme brand was only two years old. The aim was to create the Supreme “Óld Skool” project led by NOAH’s current head, Brendon Babezien. 

9. Vans Sponsored the Warped Tour in 1996

Two years after their establishment in 1995, the Warped Tour was sponsored by Vans and also added skateboarding to the rock tour during that period. Airwalk attempted to overtake Vans in the sponsorship deal a few years later by offering more money

But the Warped Tour declined the offer because they appreciated Paul Van Doren’s love and passion for music and skateboarding. Vans ended up owning 75% of the Warped Tour, which turned out to be the biggest, longest-running music festival. It eventually came to an end in 2018 when Vans considered other new events, such as the House of Vans.

10. Vans has a Scholarship

Vans’ scholarship, called “Off The Wall Scholarship,” is offered at the Berklee School of Music to exceptional students who are US citizens but are restrained by their financial needs.


11. Vans Sales Broke 1 Billion Dollars In 2011

In 2011, Vans became the first-ever skateboarding rooted brand to break the 1 billion dollars mark. Currently, making billions of sales every year is the norm, and there’s no sign of backtracking.

12. Damn Daniel Viral Video, 2016 

Vans’ sales skyrocketed in 2016 due to the viral Damn Daniel video, resulting in a 20% boost in direct to client sales while online sales went up by 30%. 

The company makes billions of dollars every year in regular sales, so a 50% increase is a significant amount of money. 

One of the sellers offered the original Damn Daniel shoes on eBay. The bid attracted over $400,000, but the shoes were fake in the end.

13. Vans sued Target in 2018 for Ripping off their Old Skools

Vans sued Target for making an almost familiar model to their Old Skool model. The company claimed the shoes hurt their brand and were made with cheaper construction materials. The Target shoe had an unusual stripe on the side and went by a lower price of $16, compared to Vans which was $60 a piece.

Lil Wayne Sports Vans Snowboard Boots

14. Lil Wayne Sports Vans Snowboard Boots

Lil Wayne was spotted on different occasions wearing the Vans snowboard boots. It sure has been a trend.

I think this post needs some work but I’m glad you at least showed vans roots before focusing on the rise to popularity throughout the decades. Good work! maybe you could include things like vans time vans popularity exploded and vans grew into the company that it is today. It would be interesting to talk about how vans changed because of that.