A Brief History of Vans:
“Off The Wall” since ‘66
Brothers Paul Van Doren and Jim Van Doren along with partners Gordon Lee and Serge Delia open for business at 704 E. Broadway in Anaheim, Calif. on March 16. The Van Doren Rubber Company is unique in that it manufactures shoes on premises and sells them directly to the public.
On that first morning, 12 customers purchase shoes, which are made that day and ready for pick-up in the afternoon.
Vans #44 deck shoes, now known as the Authentic, are born.
The name House of Vans is coined Early 70s Skateboarders who like Vans' rugged make-up and sticky sole are seen sporting for the first time and is showcased on the windows of the Anaheim location.
Skateboarders who like Vans' rugged make-up and sticky sole are seen sporting Vans all over Southern California.
The Vans #95, now known as the Era, with a padded collar and different color combinations, is designed by Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta and becomes the shoe of choice for a generation of skateboarders.
Vans' "Off the Wall" logo makes its debut.
Vans #36, the Old Skool, debuts with the now famous Vans Sidestripe. The Old Skool is Vans' first skate shoe that incorporated leather panels for increased durability. What started as a random doodle by Paul Van Doren was originally referred to as the "jazz stripe" and has become the unmistakable hallmark of the Vans brand.
The Vans #98 is also introduced and with the help of skateboarders and BMX riders, Vans Classic Slip-Ons become the rage in Southern California and will come to be the original Slip-On silhouette that will be known as an icon for generations.
By the end of the 70s, Vans has 70 stores in California and sells through dealers both nationally and internationally.
The Sk8-Hi was introduced in 1978 as "Style 38," and showcased the now-iconic Vans Sidestripe on yet another innovative silhouette. As only the second model featuring the recognizable marker formerly known as the "jazz stripe," the Sk8-Hi took skate functionality to the next levelâabove the ankle, where skateboarders used and abused their lower extremities the most. The Sk8-Hi not only shielded bones from skateboards catapulted at them but also brought a whole new look to the park.
Vans Classic Slip-Ons gain international attention and appeal when they are worn by Sean Penn in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Vans files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Although the core Vans shoes are selling well, the wide range of products that Vans offers have drained company resources and Vans is not able to overcome debt.
Courts approve re-organization plan as Paul Van Doren returns as President; Paul tells all employees that they may not get a raise for three years and they will need to cut back on everything but the quality of Vans shoes.
In three years, Vans has paid back all creditors 100 cents on the dollar and in December, Vans re-emerges from the $12 million debt and Chapter 11.
The Vans Steve Caballero, the first signature skate shoe, is introduced. Vans introduces weather resistant materials to footwear labeled Mountain Edition for the first time.
Vans makes initial public offering of stock at $14 on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
Vans introduces the Vans Snowboard Boot in the fall '93 / winter '94 snow season.
Vans sponsors the Warped Tour for the first time; In 2001 Vans will buy a controlling interest in what is now the Vans Warped Tour, the longest running concert series in America.
Vans sponsors the inaugural Triple Crown of Skateboarding event.
Vans and Supreme launch long-term partnership with a series of co-branded Old Skools.
Vans begins creating the world's leading action sports series with the purchase of the Triple Crown of Surfing; by 2000 the Vans Triple Crown Series will include events in skateboarding, BMX, surfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, freestyle motocross and supercross. The Series is broadcast on ESPN2.
Vans opens first of its kind, 46,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor Vans Skatepark at the Block at Orange mall in Orange County.
Daniel Franck wins Olympic Silver Medal in Vans snowboard boots at the Nagano Games.
Vans recognized by Forbes as one of "America's Best Small Companies for 2000."
Vans assists with the production of "Dogtown and Z-Boys," Stacy Peralta's look at the beginnings of skateboarding and the personalities that evolved the sport. The film takes the Audience Award and Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival. The film is narrated by Sean Penn. Shortly after, the film will be released to the public further cementing Vans' heritage in skateboarding.
Vans enters into television broadcast deals for the Vans Triple Crown Series with NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net.
Vans buys controlling interest of the Vans Warped Tour, the nation's leading action sports and music festival.
Danny Kass and Doriane Vidal each win medals at the Salt Lake City Olympic games wearing Vans snowboard boots.
Vans skate team embarks on its first-ever international tour when the Pleased to Meet You Tour hits seven countries in Europe and then returns to the States for stops in 30 cities.
The Vans Triple Crown Series is bigger than ever with more than 285,000 event attendees and another 50 million + watching on NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net.
Vans launches the Vault by Vans collection, an offering of timeless footwear melding the worlds of high-fashion and premium design to Vans' classic silhouettes.
Vans launches Vans Customs at www.vans.com, allowing would be fashion designers to create their own Classic Slip-ons utilizing hundreds of different color and pattern combinations. In October, the Old Skool is added to styles available.
In June, VF Corporation completes purchase of Vans for $396 million including stock options.
The Vans Warped Tour, passing the 500,000-attendee plateau for the first time, celebrates its 10th Anniversary.
In an event that many in the skate industry claim may be the best bowl contest of all time, Rune Glifberg, Chris Miller and Cara-Beth Burnside are winners at the inaugural Pro-tec Pool Party in the replica of the legendary and dearly-departed Combi Bowl at the Vans Skatepark at the Block at Orange. The May 14 event takes place in front of a packed house and draws a throng of past masters and top pros.
Vans creates a new concept in skate street contests with the Vans Downtown Showdown, held in the Universal Studios Back Lot on Labor Day. Skateboard companies are invited to submit designs for obstacles that were then sessioned in a Brooklyn city block setting. Toy Machine took the team title, while Chris Cole and Angel Ramirez took the Pro and Am titles, respectively.
The freestyle BMX world descends on Las Vegas at the end of September for the first Vans/Hard Rock Let it Ride BMX Jam. Ryan Guettler takes the Dirt title, while Scotty Cranmer wins the Street crown.
Vans continues to forge innovative collaborative efforts through the Vault by Vans line with Vans sneaker combinations with design giant Marc Jacobs and OC up-and-comers Trovata flying off shelves.
Vans celebrates 40 years at the heart of youth culture.
Long known as the leader in action sports footwear, Vans launches an extensive apparel collection for both men and women. Pro skater Anthony Van Engelen becomes the first team rider for Vans Apparel.
Vans renews old acquaintances when legendary skater Christian Hosoi joins the team. Skaters celebrate by snapping up the limited edition Hosoi Rising Sun Sk8-Hi.
Recognizing the cultural relevance of the Vans Warped Tour and its significance to the punk-rock and skate community, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland opens an exhibit documenting the Tour's first 12 years.
Vans releases perhaps its most anticipated special collection to date with the Vans x The Simpsons series that features artwork from Kaws, Stash, Gary Panter, Geoff McFetridge, Dave Flores, Futura, Mr. Cartoon, Sam Messner, Taka Hayashi, Tony Munoz, Todd James and Neckface.
Vans brings its brand of youth culture to China with the opening of the first Vans retail store in Shanghai.
Long-time Vans surf team rider Joel Tudor signs on as the first surfer on Vans' apparel program.
Harry N. Abrams publishes "Vans: Off the Wall, Stories of Sole from Vans Originals" which recounts the story of the many action sports legends, artists and musicians who have helped shape Vans as an icon of California culture.
Vans opens the House of Vans event space in Brooklyn, NY with music by Public Enemy and a hard charging bowl session headlined by skate legends Tony Alva, Steve Caballero and Omar Hassan.
326 schools across the United States participate in Vans Custom Culture, the high school shoe customization contest which culminates in four schools traveling to Vans' home turf for a weekend of activities including the final showcase at the Orange County Museum of Art. Winning school Rio Rancho High School of New Mexico receives a $10,000 grant towards the school's art programs.
Joel Tudor and Vans create the Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational contest series to showcase progressive longboard surfing. In the first two years, the Duct Tape contests were held in such iconic surf venues as Virginia Beach, Montauk, Santa Cruz, Malibu and Salinas, Spain.
Vans partners with boutique surf shop Thalia to open its first partner retail space, Vans by Thalia Surf Shop. The store highlights Vans surf apparel and footwear, in addition to an assortment of lifestyle-driven pieces.
Vans releases its first-ever surf film, "Get-N Classic, Vol. 1" featuring the Gudauskas brothers, Joel Tudor, John Florence and the rest of the Vans surf team. Vans surf program is clicking on all cylinders with the addition of the team's first Australian in Wade Goodall and one of the most exciting surfers in the world, Dane Reynolds.
Vans' global expansion continues with milestones including distribution into India, our first international partner store with Off the Hook (OTH) in Montreal and Vans by Fly Streetwear in Shanghai, plus the opening of the first company-owned Vans stores in Mexico.
Stateside, Vans opens its first partner store on the East Coast and the first company retail space in Manhattan when the Vans DQM General opens in SoHo.
In November, Vans passes $1 billion in annual global sales for the first time in its history as the largest single action sports brand in the world and the first company rooted in skateboarding to achieve this level of success.
Twilight Saga star Kristen Stewart cements her celebrity status on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a pair of black and white Checkerboard Slip-Ons forever stamping the notorious cement with the Vans Waffle Sole.
Vans celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Half Cab, Steve Caballero's iconic skateboarding style, widely regarded as the most important shoe in the history of skateboarding and skate culture.
No Room for Rockstars debuts in April as the first full-length documentary film about the Vans Warped Tour, produced by the same team that brought to life Dogtown and Z-Boys. The film is accepted into the Slamdance Film Festival as a featured presentation and shoots to the top of the iTunes Documentary Chart.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing celebrated 30 years as the ultimate contest series in surf.
Vans introduces the new UltraCush Lite technology in its LXVI footwear line. The UltraCush Lite is a custom blend of foams designed to provide superlight cushioning.
Vans introduces the first vulcanized cupsole. The new WAFFLECUP™ technology combines the best of both worlds with the support and durability of a cupsole and the superior boardfeel and grip of the traditional Vans vulcanized shoe.
Vans' Get-N Classic Vol. 2 is released in October.
In an anniversary year, Vans celebrates 10 years of premium sneaker design with the anniversary of the Vault by Vans collection.
Vans celebrates 20 years of snowboarding heritage with the debut of its retrospective film Twenty Years: Off the Wall, On the Snow, produced in partnership with Mike Hatchett, legendary filmmaker and founder of Standard Films.
In celebration of 20 years of snow, Vans releases Mountain Edition Apparel, which offers a range of streetwear designs and is the first apparel collection designed specifically for the snow.
Vans collaborates with rock band Metallica. Each Metallica member - James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo - designs his own shoe and collaborates with Vans athletes including Pat Moore, Steve Caballero, Nathan Fletcher and Tony Trujillo for a special OffTheWall.TV series further defining what is means to be a part of the Vans family.
In July, Vans becomes the title sponsor for the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California.
Vans teams up with Disney for a Fall 2013 collaboration featuring some of the most beloved Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh and Donald Duck on Vans' classic shoes bringing back designs from the late 80's that had been lost from the archives.
More than 1,000 schools from all 50 states participate in Vans' Custom Culture Contest. Vans partnered with truth, Americans for the Arts, and Journeys to help raise awareness about the importance of arts in high schools. Vans has now contributed over $300,000 to support high school art programs
Vans Custom Culture expands to Brazil with 50 schools participating within the first year.
House of Vans takes to the Mohawk Stage at Austin's South by Southwest music festival.
Professional skateboarder Chima Ferguson and Vans create the Chima Pro shoe collection, the first signature pro model in six years.
The Ductumentary short film is released featuring Joel Tudor's contribution to surfing. Directed by Graham Nash and Reagan Richie, the film features Joel Tudor, Alex Knost, Tyler Warren, Ryan Burch, Jared Mell and more.
Vans implements a live webcast for its Triple Crown of Surfing event. The live webcast allows 3.5 million people from over 70 countries to view the competition, the most in its history. The final day of the competition received over 1 million in viewers alone.
Iouri 'iPod' Podladtchikov wins gold at the Sochi Olympic games wearing Vans snowboard boots dethroning previous gold medalist Shaun White.
Vans launches it's Living Off The Wall brand campaign. The campaign features documentarians from around the globe using words, images and motion pictures to embody the roots of originality defining Vans as Off The Wall.
In March, Vans opens a 42,000 square foot skatepark in Huntington Beach California. 1,000 people attend opening day skateboarding elite Geoff Rowley, Johnny Layton, Kyle Walker and Christian Hosoi.
Vans teams up with the Beatles franchise to create the Spring 2014 The Beatles Yellow Submarine by Vans collection inspired by the iconic artwork from The Yellow Submarine album and film.
In March, Vans takes the SXSW festival further with a five-day music activation at the House of Vans at the Mohawk stage and the creation of the Vans Village hosting daily open mic sessions for aspiring local musicians, a competitive BMX ramp and pop-up shop with a full Vans retail experience. Vans also releases four band reissues in celebration of the music festival.
In May, Vans celebrates the 10th annual Vans Pool Party, and introduced a Legends division for the first time. Legend winners are Chris Miller, Jeff Grosso, and Christian Hosoi. Master winners are Bruno Passos, Brian Patch, and Darren Navarette.
Legendary Skateboarder Geoff Rowley joins the brand's impressive apparel program. Geoff Rowley-one hundred percent Skateboarder, now one hundred percent Vans
The Vans Warped Tour celebrates 20 years of music and kicks off the season with a live webcast of opening day.
In the fourth year, 2,000 schools participate in the Vans Custom Culture high school art competition. Vans has put more than $375,000 back into high school art programs nationwide to date. Vans Custom Culture Brazil enters its second year with 147 schools participating in the art competition.
Vans takes off to a galaxy far, far away for an out-of-this-world collection featuring artwork from the original Star Wars trilogy. The Force is strong with Vans, offering products that extends from Classics and Vault by Vans footwear to men's apparel and women's accessories. By combining heritage Vans prints with iconic Star Wars characters, both entities present a truly unique capsule this universe has not yet seen.
In July, Get-N Classic Vol. 3 is released featuring the Vans Surf Team, including legends Nathan Fletcher and Joel Tudor, Dane Reynolds, the Gudauskas brothers, Dylan Graves, Ivan and Nathan Florence, Leila Hurst, and more!
Vans, in partnership with Berklee College of Music, the world's leading college of contemporary music, proudly announce that Miette Hope-Goldman, 17-year-old singer-songwriter, has been named the first recipient of the Vans Berklee Off The Wall Scholarship - a four-year award covering tuition, room and board.
In August, House of Vans London, a 3,000sqm art, music and skate space under Waterloo station opens in London's creative playground. Representing the eclectic diversity of London and the cultures that have embraced Vans from its humble beginnings, through five decades, House of Vans opens with a showcase of creativity and a commitment to nurturing its next generation.
Steve Van Doren along with legends Tony Alva and Christian Hosoi, traveled to Boston in October to break ground on the long-awaited Lynch Family Skatepark that will open in Boston in 2015. For more than a decade, the Charles River Conservancy has battled to provide a safe environment and free park for local skateboarders and BMX riders.
Vans unveils a new retail experience in the high fashion district of Apgujeong in Seoul, Korea. Spreading across two floors and covering 330-square-meters in the heart of Rodeo Street, the new the Apgujeong store pays homage to Vans' long standing heritage and is designed as an immersive brand experience. On December 12, the local community celebrated the store opening with a live performance by Vans skateboarding legend Tony Alva.
Vans, is chosen as "Brand of the Year" by Footwear News during the trade publication's annual Achievement Awards in December 2014. Carol Lim and Humberto Leon of Opening Ceremony and creative directors behind Kenzo, present the award to Vans President Kevin Bailey.
In May 2015, Vans makes skateboarding history with the highly anticipated launch of PROPELLER: A Vans Skateboarding Video, Vans' first-ever skateboarding film. This momentous occasion saw valuable international exposure for the Vans Pro Skate Team and even more global recognition for Vans' storied legacy in skateboarding. PROPELLER becomes one of the fastest-selling skate films to ever hit iTunes.
In the summer of 2015, Vans releases the Disney and Vans 'Young at Heart' and the Vault by Vans x Takashi Murakami collections. These collaborations become instant fan favorites selling out across the globe.
Vans debuts Geoff Rowley's first signature apparel collection with the launch of the new Rowley Solos in Pro Skate.
The Vans Online Integration Team received the "2015 VF Pinnacle Award". The prestigious honor is granted annually to one team in VF globally that has advanced the company's strategy imperatives through collaboration and excelling with a One VF approach.
2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the Vans Syndicate collection, Vans Pro Skate's celebration of the diverse heritage of ideas, attitudes and influences that make up skateboarding's unique culture. Vans pays tribute to this milestone by returning to several original Syndicate collaborators to represent a decade of iconoclastic style and heritage.
On March 16, 2016, Vans celebrates 50 years of “Off The Wall” heritage with the launch of The Story of Vans campaign. The historical multi-media campaign breaks records in viewership and is seen around the world in multiple languages. With a nod to the past and eyes on the future, Vans also expands the House of Vans by hosting ten activations around the world to honor the brand’s diverse history, while welcoming newcomers to the Vans family.
Vans cements 50 Years of heritage and progression with the Vans Pro Classics Anniversary Collection. Showcasing the most iconic footwear silhouettes from the archive, Vans re-issues heritage skate models upgraded with modern performance technologies, and designed exclusively for skateboarding. This collection is the ultimate culmination of Vans’ leadership in skateboarding, providing “The best, only better” from the Vans Pro Skate category.
Vans establishes skateboarding’s first ever men’s and women’s Park Terrain World Championship Series, the Vans Park Series. The Vans Park Series seeks to grow participation of skateboarding internationally and inspire the culture and values of skateboarding onto the global stage.
In June, Vans premiered Illustrated, the brands first full-length BMX film at the Mohawk in Austin, Texas. The Vans BMX Team is a group of individuals who are constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be done on two wheels. In doing so, each rider illustrates their own artistic approach and style on the many canvases of concrete, dirt and wood. Even after they are done riding their marks can still be seen in what has been left behind; from the tire tracks in the dirt to the marks on the walls, rails and ledges. This is Illustrated
Vans continues to inspire creativity with expansion of its Vans Customs platform. The new system offers customization across a range of footwear classifications and allows the customs designer more freedom than ever to develop personal and unique designs.
Capping off an exciting year of events celebrating Vans’ 50th anniversary around the globe, House of Vans London welcomed one of the most influential rock bands in history, Metallica to the stage with a special intimate live performance to launch their eleventh studio album, Hardwired… to Self Destruct.
Vans launches its 2017 brand campaign – This Is “Off The Wall”, defining the evolved meaning of the iconic slogan. The campaign brings to life what it means to live “Off The Wall” through a series of short films showcasing individuals who inspire the brand through their creativity, authenticity and passion. This is our story. This is “Off The Wall”.
House of Vans Chicago opens up with a two-day celebration in early February. The event kicks off with music and a photography exhibit highlighting memorable moments at House of Vans locations worldwide. As the cultural hub of the Vans brand, this opening marks the third permanent location to date. House of Vans is where “Off The Wall” lives and serves as a direct connection for fans to experience the Vans brand globally.
Talented Vans pro skateboarder, Lizzie Armanto turns pro! Lizzie earns the coveted cover of Thrasher Magazine in May 2017. She is the first female to grace the cover of skateboarding’s famed bible in over two decades.
After 51 years of moving across the heart of Southern California, Vans, the original action sports brand and the icon of creative expression, has settled into a new global headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA. The new office signals Vans’ focus on continued growth and success.
Vans is the only brand to be included in all four categories of Transworld Snowboarding’s 2017-2018 “Tested & Approved” snowboard gear guide! Tested in all types of terrain from the East Coast to Iceland, the boots were judged based on flex, comfort, footbed construction and durability. This significant accolade champions Vans Snow Boots as multi-faceted, performance-driven boots designed for every kind of snowboard terrain possible.
Vans launches the UltraRange, a new perspective in footwear design. Living out of a suitcase on multiple expeditions a year, Vans pro surfer Pat Gudauskas finds endless inspiration traveling around the world in search of the perfect surf. With his collaborative insight, Vans ventured to create a new silhouette that offers maximum versatility across diverse landscapes and lifestyles resulting in the UltraRange. The UltraRange represents Vans’ path toward new innovation, and expands the brand’s vision to create functional, comfort-driven products.
The Vans BMX Pro Cup series debuts in 2017 as the world’s definitive platform for BMX park terrain competition, showcasing the most talented BMX athletes from across the globe. The Vans BMX Pro Cup kicks of its inaugural season in Sydney, Australia closing out with a remarkable finale at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif. Larry Edgar takes the crown as Vans’ first-ever BMX Pro Cup World Champion.
Vans and Karl Lagerfeld announce the launch of an exclusive Vans x Karl Lagerfeld capsule collection in September. The Parisian-chic collection reinterprets the classic Vans silhouettes through the lens of the iconic fashion hub to deliver an effortlessly cool collaboration between two household names in fashion.
Vans celebrates 25 years of the Half Cab, the world’s most iconic signature skateboarding shoe. Constructed by street skaters in the early ‘90s by cutting the collar off the original Vans “Caballero” pro model, the iconic signature shoe for skateboarding legend Steve Caballero has stood the rest of time as a Vans Pro Skate favorite.
Vans Park Series continues to inspire the culture, participation and values of skateboarding globally while pushing the boundaries to make the sport universally accessible. In late September, Vans Park Series wraps up its 2017 Men’s and Women’s World Championships in Shanghai, China, crowning Oskar Rozenberg Hallberg and Nora Vasconcellos as the official 2017 Men’s and Women’s World Champions of Park Terrain Skateboarding.
In October, Vans announces the opening of The General by Vans at 102 N. 6th Street in Brooklyn, New York’s famed Williamsburg neighborhood. The 4,750-square foot space is the brand’s most ambitious and experience-driven store to date, featuring a Customs Design Studio, exhibition space and exclusive product offerings.