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This article is about the apparel company. For the road vehicle, see Van. For other uses, see Vans (disambiguation).
Industry Apparel
Founded March 16, 1966; 49 years ago (1966-03-16)
Founder Paul Van Doren, Gordon C. Lee, James Van Doren, and Serge D'Elia
Headquarters Cypress, California,
United States
Area served
Products Clothing
Owner Paul Van Doren, Gordon C. Lee, James Van Doren, and Serge D'Elia
Parent VF Outdoor Inc., a subsidiary[1] of VF Corporation
Vans headquarters in Cypress, California

Vans is an American manufacturer of shoes, based in Cypress, California—the company also produces apparel, and other products such as T-shirts, hoodies, socks, hats, and backpacks. As of August 2013, the brand is active in the actions sports industry and sponsors skateboard, surf, snow, BMX, and motocross teams.[2] Since 1996, the company has also been the primary sponsor of the annual Vans Warped Tour traveling rock festival.



On March 16, 1966, at 704 East Broadway in Anaheim, California, U.S., brothers Paul Van Doren and James Van Doren, Gordon Lee, and Serge D'Elia opened the first Vans store under the name The Van Doren Rubber Company. Paul Van Doren and D'Elia owned the majority of the company, while James Van Doren and Lee each owned a 10 percent stake. 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". The company displayed three styles of shoes, which were priced between US$2.49 and US$4.99, 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.[3]

Nevertheless, the twelve customers selected the colors and styles they desired, and were asked to return later in the afternoon to pick up their purchases. Paul Van Doren and Lee then rushed to the factory to manufacture the selected shoes. When the customers returned that afternoon to pick up their shoes, Paul Van Doren and Lee realized that they had forgotten to maintain a cash reserve to provide change to customers. The customers were therefore given the shoes and asked to return the following day with their payments. All twelve of the customers returned the following day to pay for their items.[3]


The company continued to grow into the 1970s. Skateboarders who liked Vans' rugged make-up and sticky sole were seen wearing Vans all over Southern California in the early 1970s. In 1975, the Vans "#95", known today as the "Era", was designed by professional skateboarder Tony Alva and skateboarding figure Stacy Peralta. With a padded collar and different color combinations, the Era became the shoe of choice for a generation of skateboarders due to the non-slip bottom being more conducive for a better grip.

In 1976, Vans introduced the "#44" shoe, and with the help of skateboarders and BMX riders, the Vans "Slip-On" became popular in Southern California. By the end of the 1970s, Vans had established seventy stores in California, U.S., and sold through dealers, both nationally and internationally.

During this period the company also produced wool-lined canvas and rubber mukluks, under contract to the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force.


During the 1980s, Paul Van Doren began to take a less significant role in the company’s activities. During this period, Vans started to create shoes for a number of sports, including: skateboarding, wakeboarding, motocross, and surfing in an effort to compete with the large athletic shoe companies. Vans Slip-ons gained international attention and appeal when they were worn by Sean Penn in the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.


Vans owed US$12 million in debt by the end of 1984 and Paul Van Doren later filed for bankruptcy. After two years, Paul Van Doren finished paying his debts and once he regained his company, the demand for shoes was extremely high. Vans subsequently produced over two million shoes and generated over US$50 million.


In 1988, Paul Van Doren sold the Vans company to the banking firm McCown De Leeuw & Co. for US$74.4 million. In 1989, many manufacturers of counterfeit Vans shoes were apprehended by the US and Mexican officials and ordered to cease production.[3]


Vans closed their Anaheim, California factory and began manufacturing footwear overseas in 1994. Also in 1994, Vans sponsored the inaugural Triple Crown skateboard contest series that developed into the Vans Triple Crown contest series. In 1998 Vans opened the 46,000-square-foot (4,300 m2), indoor-outdoor Vans Skate park at the Block in Orange County, U.S.


At the commencement of the 21st century, Steve Van Doren, the son of Paul Van Doren, remains with the company, as does his sister Cheryl and his daughter Kristy. In 2000 and 2001, Forbes recognized Vans as one of "America’s Best Small Companies."

In 2002, Vans opened an enclosed skatepark in the Festival Bay Mall on International Drive in Orlando, Florida that was eventually closed on January 21, 2012. At this time, the shoes were still being sold for as little as US$45.

In 2004, Vans launched the Vans "Customs" feature on its website, whereby customers could log onto the Vans website and design their own pair of Vans slip-ons, mid-cuts, or high-tops.

In 2004 Vans announced it would be merged into North Carolina based VF Corporation.[4]


As of August 2013, the Vans skateboard team is filming a video and team rider Geoff Rowley explained in an August 2013 interview that the video will represent a team of grateful Vans riders returning the support that they have received from the shoe brand thus far.[5] Skateboard filmmaker Greg Hunt, who previously worked on the Alien Workshop video Mindfield, is solely responsible for the video and it is the first-ever project that Hunt has been given complete creative control over.[6]

As of 2015, customers can design their own custom Era, Slip-On, Old Skool, Authentic, Authentic Lo-Pro, 106 Vulcanized, Chukka Low,[7] and Sk8-Hi shoes.



Skate team members are the following:[8]




  • Lizzie Armanto
  • Rowan Zorilla



  • Kalani Chapman
  • Andrew Doheny
  • Nathan Fletcher
  • Ivan Florence
  • Nathan Florence
  • Kai "Borg" Garcia
  • Wade Goodall
  • Dylan Graves
  • Dane Gudauskas
  • Patrick Gudauskas
  • Tanner Gudauskas
  • Leila Hurst[9]
  • Alex Knost
  • Jared Mell
  • Josh Mulcoy
  • Dane Reynolds
  • Joel Tudor


  • Pat Moore
  • Andreas Wiig
  • Zac Marben
  • Darrell Mathes
  • Mark Landvik
  • Hana Beaman
  • Markus Keller
  • Arthur Longo
  • Jake Kuzyk
  • Eric Willett
  • Cheryl Maas
  • Iouri Podladtchikov
  • Wolle Nyvelt
  • Mike Rav
  • Dillon Ojjo
  • Sam Taxwood



  • Ryan Guettler
  • Scotty Cranmer
  • Cory Nastazio
  • Gary Young
  • Tyler Morrow
  • Sean Sexton
  • Francisco Zurita
  • Daniel Sandoval
  • Dennis McCoy
  • Alex Donnachie
  • Dakota Roche
  • Brian Kachinsky
  • Tyler Fernengel
  • Pat Casey
  • Mike "Hucker" Clark


Warped Tour[edit]

Vans has sponsored the Warped Tour for over 15 years.[12]

Public skate parks[edit]

A young boy skateboarding with Vans shoes

The company built its first free skate park in Huntington Beach, California which was opened to the public in 2014. 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 US$1 per year for the 20-year lease.[13][14] This park is open 7 days a week.

The first skate park was opened in 1998 at the Outlets of Orange. 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 2008.[14]

There is also a skate park in London, in The Old Vic Tunnels called House of Vans.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "VF Outdoor Completes Acquisition of Eagle Creek, Inc.". 
  2. ^ "Home". Vans, A VF Company. August 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Vans, Inc. History". Funding Universe. Funding Universe. 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Ride Channel (16 August 2013). "Geoff Rowley & Chase Gabor: Nyjah, Street League, Extremely Sorry! Weekend Buzz ep. 74 pt. 2" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Jake Phelps (2 June 2014). "Thrasher Radio: Ep. 24 Geoff Rowley" (Audio upload). Thrasher magazine. High Speed Productions, Inc. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Skate Team". Vans. Retrieved 2015-08-11. 
  9. ^ "Vans Surf Team". Vans Surf. August 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "2013 Vans Snow Team". Vans Inc. August 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  11. ^ " - Team". Vans Inc. August 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "History of Vans Members". Vans. 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Fletcher, Jaimee Lynn (January 28, 2012). "H.B. OKs lease for first free Vans skate park". The Orange County Register. p. Local 7. 
  14. ^ a b 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. 
  15. ^ "Under London: Disused Tunnel Now a Subterranean Skate Park". Webist Media. 2014-08-25. Archived from the original on 2015-09-01. 

External links[edit]