Vans Shoes have always been a little “Off The Wall". It’s a brand of firsts, never looking to what the competition is doing, but rather, what it can contribute to the industry. Be it shoe design, production, or marketing, Vans has always had its own approach. Much of its success can be attributed to the shoes it designed in its first 30 years. The Authentic, Era, Old Skool, Sk8-Hi, and Slip-Ons (a.k.a. Vans Classics) - its best-selling shoes, were all designed within 15 years of The Vans Doren Rubber Company opening its doors to the public March 16, 1966.
Vans’ approach to the shoe business has always been authentic: orders were taken, manufactured, and delivered to the public all from one location. One of its most popular shoes today, The Authentic, originally called the Vans #44 Deck Shoes, were designed in ‘66 and adopted as a favorite shoe by early 1970’s skateboarders. These skateboarders liked its rugged makeup and sticky sole, and started to refer to the Vans Doren Rubber Company simply as “The House of Vans.”
By the late 1970’s and 80’s, Vans had the skateboard shoe market cornered. Between Tony Alva and Stacey Peralta, two of the most popular pool skaters from the 70’s, skating the Vans Era (released in 1976 as the Vans #95), and Jeff Spicoli, Sean Penn’s loveable portrayal of a stoner/surfer in the hit movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High, rocking Vans Slip-Ons (released in 1977 as the Vans #98), Vans were seemingly everywhere.
The popularity of skateboarding and the California lifestyle opened up the door for Vans Apparel. In 1976, Vans released the now classic "Off The Wall" skate logo and tag. Soon, high-school hallways across America were filled with kids wearing Vans t-shirts, emulating the styles they saw in skate/surf mags and movies popularizing the "California lifestyle."
1987 marked a new chapter in the Vans story. Instead of revolutionary shoe designs, Vans made a series of revolutionary marketing/business firsts that fundamentally changed how skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding were viewed by society. In ‘91, Vans went public on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange at $14 a share; In ‘93, it released its first snowboard boot; In ‘95, it sponsored the Warped Tour for the first time, a music festival that it eventually bought a controlling interest, and as of 2001, The Vans Warped Tour is the longest American Concert Series running; In ‘97 it sponsored the Inaugural Triple Crown of skateboarding - by 2000 it’s the Vans Triple Crown Series, bringing together skateboarding, BMX, Wakeboarding, snowboarding, freestyle motocross, and supercross. The list is literally endless as Vans continues to blaze new trails, and contribute to skateboarding/board culture in new and positive ways daily.