History Of Vans Shoes - 14 Things You Didn't Know About Vans

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History Of Vans Shoes - 14 Things You Didn't Know About Vans

Here Are 14 Interesting Facts About Vans Shoes That You Didn’t Know. It Covers Their History, Lawsuits, Collaborations, Big Hollywood Break, Bankruptcy, Celebrities & more!

Everyone knows that Vans are the world’s #1 skateboarding shoes. But from their start in 1966 they’ve had a long a turbulent road to get where they are today. Here are 14 interesting facts about Vans Shoes that you probably didn’t know. It covers their history, lawsuits, collaborations, their Hollywood break, bankruptcy, celebrities & more!
Drop us a comment below letting us know your favorites or tell us some interesting facts about Vans we missed!


  1. Vans Started As The Van Doren Rubber Company:The shoe brand we know and love as Vans actually started as the Van Doren Rubber Company, in Anaheim California. Van Doren Rubber specialized in making canvas deck shoes with grippy rubber soles. The name Vans was coined when people would say “Let’s head over to Van’s and grab shoes”, Vans took the nickname and ran with it. We’re glad they did.

    Where did Vans brand start - original vans store

  2. Originally Vans Had Shoe Numbers Not Names: The first Vans shoes to come out had numbers, not names. The first Vans shoe was the #44, which is called the Authentic today. These original shoes cost $4.49 for men and $2.29 for women. Next came the #95 (what we currently know as the Era), the #36 (currently called The Slip On).

    Vans Shoes Retro Boxes Van Doren Rubber Company
  3. The Vans Era Is The First Shoe Designed By Skateboarders For Skateboarding:Although Vans weren’t originally designed with skateboarding in mind, skateboarders quickly adopted them. Being in Southern California while skateboarding was growing in popularity, they were in the right place at the right time. (It also helped that you could buy one shoe at a time if you wore one side out). Two of the first skateboarders to ride their shoes were Tony Alva & Stacey Peralta, they took the original style #44 shoe and added slight padding to the collar, make a few small tweaks to design the style #95 commonly known as the Era. This making the Vans Era the first skate shoe designed by skateboarders.

    Vans Shoes worlds best skate shoes canada

  4. In The 1970’s Vans Made Shoes For The US Air Force: In the 1970’s Vans was hired by the US defense department to make shoes for the air force. They made one model for the air force; a canvas mukluk style boot that had a wool lining.

    Vans Air Force Winter Boots Mukluks Retro

  5. In 1982 The Vans Slip Ons (Style #36) were featured in Fast Times At Ridgemont High: Sean Penn who plays Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times apparently requested that his character wore Vans shoes for the movie. He thought they were the perfect shoes for the California surfer character. This put Vans on the big screen, giving them worldwide attention and blowing up their sales.

  6. In 1984 The Company Filled Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: It’s hard to imagine today, with to company doing multi billions in sales, but in 1984 Vans filed for bankruptcy protection, after growing the company too fast and diversifying into too many styles of shoes, they could not keep up with their growth. A few years later the original owners would sell the company, even though Paul Van Doren, descendant of one of the original owners, still works at Vans today!

  7. In 1993 Vans moved their production overseas: In the 1980’s most big shoe brands moved their production out of the USA. But Vans held on longer, keeping their production in Southern California. It helped them turn around shoes much faster than their competition, but it also lead them to have a much higher price per shoe. In 1993 the decision was made to move their production overseas as well.

  8. Vans Did The First Ever Supreme Collaboration:Supreme is a brand famous for their collaboration projects. In 1996 Supreme was only 2 years old when they got the nod from Vans to do a collab shoe. They decided to create a Supreme “Old Skool” and the project was headed by designer Brendon Babenzien who currently runs the brand NOAH. The Old Skools were made in the USA and has a little Supreme box logo tab above the side stripe.
    (note that Supreme didn’t start collaborating with Nike until the 2000’s

    Vans Supreme Collaboration Shoes Drop Online Canada

  9. In 1996 Vans Sponsored The Warped Tour: The Warped Tour started in 1995 and was a massive rock tour that travels through the United States. Vans jumped on board as a sponsor on Warped Tour’s second year and added skateboarding to the event.
    After a few years, Airwalk tried to sneak in and steal the sponsorship deal by offering more money. The Warped Tour organizers declined the offer because they loved Paul Van Doren’s passion for skateboarding and music. By the end, Vans owned 75% Of Warped Tour and it was the biggest and longest running music festival in North America. The festival ended in 2018, when Vans decided to move to new events like House Of Vans.

    House Of Vans Chicago - House of Vans skateboarding Canada

  10. Vans Has A Scholarship: Vans has a school scholarship to the Berkley College of Music. The scholarship is called the “Off The Wall Scholarship” and is given out to a student who is a US citizen in financial need that is an “outstanding musician” and has great grades. Pictured below is pro skater Ray Barbee playing the guitar at a House Of Vans event.

    Ray Barbee Playing Guitar

  11. In 2011 Vans broke 1 Billion Dollars In Sales: In 2011 Vans became to first skateboarding rooted brand to break the 1 billion dollar mark. Today they do billions of dollars in sales annually and show no sign of slowing down.
  1. 2016 - Damn Daniel: The Damn Daniel viral video sky rocketed Vans shoe sales when it came out. The viral video made Vans’ direct to consumer sales jump 20% and their online sales up 30% in the first quarter of 2016. For a company that makes billions of dollars in sales annually, that’s a lot of shoe sales!
    Someone posted a pair of white Vans shoes on Ebay claiming to be the original “Damn Daniel” shoes and the bid reached over $400,000 but they turned out to be fakes.

  2. 2018 Vans Is Suing Target For Ripping Off Their Old Skools: In 2018 Vans launched a lawsuit against retail giant Target for ripping off their Old Skool model. The target model is all black with a different and kind of weird side stripe on the side. People have been calling them the Target “fake vans”, which Vans says hurts their brand because it’s a $16 version of their $60 shoe with way cheaper construction and materials. Check the images below and let us know what you think? Will Vans win this lawsuit? Or Target?
    *Note: Vans also sued Sketchers in 1998 for ripping off their checkerboard slip-ons. The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court.

    Vans Shoes Sueing Target - Vans Target Lawsuit Old Skool Fake Vans

  3. Lil Wayne; Hi Standards & Hi Fashion: For a while Lil Wayne had a phase of wearing Vans snowboard boots as high tops. (seen pictured below). What’s with all these rappers wearing winter sports gear as fashion? Snowboard boots & ski goggles?

    Lil Wayne Wearings Vans Snowboard Boots At Basketball Game Lakers




  1. Destiny Moore Destiny Moore

    I just got my first ever pair of vans finally and I am so upsessed with them they are so comfortable and definitely cute.

  2. tom shevchenko tom shevchenko

    sported vans while bmx team won the florida state bmx championship in 94....I now own 140 pairs of vans which keep my feet cool and firmly planted on my many modes of transportation.

  3. Nadine HollywoodCaliGirl74 Nadine HollywoodCaliGirl74

    As a 80's kid growing up in SoCal everyone had VANS. I got my first pair at BILLY's Sports (they closed several years ago) in Newhall CA now known as Santa Clarita Valley...100% Valley Girl

  4. Lilith Lilith

    I have worn vans for the past 30 years now n passed most to my kids...we have more than 40 pairs combined in the house and so many clothing too....it's almost 60% of what we wear..passed the love to my kids and younger siblings too...you doing a great job to keep giving us a variety of designs now.

  5. Arlene Arlene

    Got my first pair of Van's in '79 at a little whole in the wall store off Pacific Ave in Long Beach, Ca. My drill team (100 of us), as well as our cheerleaders, song and dance, and flag girls all wore Van's. You could have the colors customized for a small fee. Red... Gold...Red... Gold... red, gold, red, gold, redgoldredgoldredgold Gooooo Bruins!! #Bruinettes #Wilson #Classof1981

  6. Paulette Paulette

    Best day of my childhood when i put on my 1st pair (black n white checkered's )still wearing Vans on my feet today. If u lived in Cali in the 80's u sported a pair!!

  7. Millennium Shoes Millennium Shoes

    Thanks for sharing detailed information about Vans Old Skool, i was looking for such kind of information for a long.

  8. sonny gray sonny gray

    I've been wearing Van's since the beginning and my kids got their pair at 2 years old.They are now in their 50's and still wear them..I have 6 pair right now..I lived in Newport Beach and everyone wore them.Im sure still do..GO VANS!

  9. Sherry Sherry

    What about us older folks? I love my six pairs of vans. Everyday I put on a new pair and every day I'm looking to buy more! My goal was to have them in every single color!

  10. Darla Darla

    Who Doesn’t ❤️ Van’s! Would love to the fleece lined ankle high top back on the line! My boyfriends a contractor and he really loved that warm cozy feeling! God Bless the Van Doren Family......

  11. Ernesto Ernesto

    Back in the 80's my brother, sister and I wore Vans but I was dedicated to only 1 pair of Vans which I don't see in stores or on line and I hope they bring them back, now the pair of Vans I love so much is the white Van Doren with the blue bottom, how many remember those shoes? Please bring those back I'd buy all the pairs I could afford.

  12. Fletch Fletch

    I used to buy my vans from the back of Rolling Stone magazine back in the 80's. Used to send a money order and it took about 6 weeks to get them. Awesome times..........................

  13. Corinna Gaskins Corinna Gaskins

    My daughter has been loyal to Vans since she was a teen and now her daughters love them. We used to go to the little hut on Topanga Canyon right before Chatsworth. It was so sad when they closed it down

  14. Domenica Fassett Domenica Fassett

    I have been wearing vans since they first came out. I was 13 years old. All the surfers that I hung out with wore them.

  15. Chris Walling Chris Walling

    I rocked 'em in in 1980 and im rocking them still ! I want to be wearing them when i head upstairs to see the man !!

  16. Michael Michael

    Was going to buy a pair of ultra rapidwelds until I saw they were made in China. Need to bring manufacturing back to USA. Come to Texas, cheaper than California.

  17. Joel Hoffman Joel Hoffman

    Of course being a 13 year old kid scene Fast Times at Ridgemont High my buddy and I went out and bought a pair, they were 19.99 back then. Being the first kid in 7th grade to wear a pair of black and white checkered boards I was laughed at mercilessly! About two or three weeks later half the kids in my grade had them! I've been wearing different patterns of slip-ons ever since, I love the custom shoes we can create that is great! I've been a lifelong where of Vans and will continue to no matter how old I get

  18. James James

    I grew up in Torrance, Cal. I used to buy my vans at the original store. Just bought another pair today.

  19. Pacific Boarder Pacific Boarder

    This is really great to see that Vans gives us much more options than we think. This is really great information. Thanks for sharing.

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