Van's History

Van's Profile


Vans was founded in 1966 in Manheim, California



With Vans shoes having become a go-to for California’s growing skateboarding scene, Zephyr Competition Team (aka Z-Boys) members Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta design the Vans #95, later known as the Era. Vans also debuts its “Off the Wall” logo.



Vans releases the Sidestripe-adorned Vans #36, later known as the Old Skool, and the Vans #98, later called the Classic Slip-On.



Vans releases the Style 38, later known as the Sk8-Hi.



The checkerboard Vans Slip-On gets international recognition when it appears on the feet of Sean Penn’s perma-stoned character Jeff Spicoli in Cameron Crowe and Amy Heckerling’s cult teen movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.



Vans, more popular than ever, moves to a new factory in Orange, California, but a combination of labor costs (the company is busted for employing 140 undocumented workers that same year), market competition, and debts of $12 million lead Vans to file for bankruptcy. Jim Van Doren is forced to step down as president in a company reorganization, with Paul Van Doren charged with leading Vans out of bankruptcy.

Vans emerges from bankruptcy. In 1988, Paul Van Doren sells the company to venture capital firm McCown De Leeuw & Company for $74.4 million, remaining as chairman, and Vans goes public in 1991.

Vans releases the Caballero, its first signature shoe for Bones Brigade skateboarder Steve Caballero.



Vans releases Caballero’s second shoe, the Half Cab, a mid-top version of the OG.

Vans collaborates with bands for the first time on a friends-and-family Motorhead sneaker at the behest of Vans skateboarder Geoff Rowley and a shoe for Orange County punks Ignite limited to 100 pairs.Vans sponsors traveling punk rock festival the Warped Tour, buying a controlling stake in 2001. As well as skateboarding, Vans has long been synonymous with US punk, having been worn by Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat/Fugazi, and Henry Rollins of Black Flag. The brand’s association with music continues from 2010 onwards with the opening of the first House of Vans skate, art, and concert space in Brooklyn.



Vans launches Vault by Vans, a line that adds premium elements to classic models.

VF Corporation buys the Vans brand for $396 million.

Vans collaborates with fashion designer Marc Jacobs, releasing two Slip-Ons and a Sk8-Hi, and drops a heavyweight four-way Slip-On collaboration with Raf Simons, COMME des GARÇONS, and Parisian concept store colette. Other prominent fashion collabs include Kenzo in 2012 and Karl Lagerfeld in 2017.

To mark the release of The Simpsons Movie, Vans works with 12 different artists to release 14 different shoes celebrating Springfield’s favorite family. The artists on the project include KAWS, Futura, David Flores, Geoff McFetridge, Stash, and Taka Hayashi.

Vans collaborates with Disney on a Mickey Mouse Sk8-Hi and Slip-On. The two brands collaborate again in 2013, 2015 and 2018, but the true grail is an early ’80s collab whose prints were reissued in the 2013 drop.



Vans starts its collaboration with Tyler, the Creator’s GOLF WANG brand, which runs until 2017, when the rapper signs a deal with Converse.

Vans releases a six-piece Star Wars capsule and a Peanuts drop that reissues prints used on a 1983 collection made for Camp Snoopy at Knott’s Berry Farm outside Los Angeles.

Vans collaborates with artist Takashi Murakami and fashion designer Gosha Rubchinskiy.



Vans collaborates with Fear of God on a Sk8-Hi and Era, following them up with another collection in 2017 before designer Jerry Lorenzo moves on to Nike in 2018.

Vans collaborates on a collection with ALYX.



The second MoMa and Jackson Pollock collection drops.

Vans drops its first ever all women skate film Credits.

Tony Hawk joins Vans an Official Brand Ambassador.

RETROSUPERFUTURE teams up with Vans for the first time ever.



Vans x USPS Drops

Vans gets futuristic with the return of its Boot Skoot LX.

MSCHF Wavy Baby Sneakers sparks some controversy and a lawsuit from Vans.

Van’s goes on go to collaborate with Anderson .Paak, Sailor Moon, BAPE, Sarah Andelman, CDG and more.

Dime introduces an all new Vans silhouette.

Legendary co-founder Paul Van Doren passes away.


What do Vans stand for?

Founded in California in the 1960’s Vans stands for  The Van Doren Rubber Company.


Who founded Vans?

The legendary skate company was founded by Paul Van Doren, James Van Doren, and Gordon Lee.


Where can I buy Vans?

You can cop a pair of Vans sneakers at the Highsnobiety Shop.


Why are Vans so good?

That’s a bit of a loaded question. However, for many people in and out of the footwear community, Vans are considered classic sneakers — renowned for their performance, affordability, wide array of collaborations, and overall timeless look.


Are Vans shoes expensive?

In most cased, Vans sneakers are very affordable compared to other sneakers in the same category.


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