HQCosta Mesa, California, USA
FounderPaul Van Doren, Jim Van Doren, Gordon Lee, and Serge D’Elia
Revenueapproximately $3 billion (2018)

Co-founded by brothers Paul and Jim Van Doren, California brand Vans is the label that springs to mind when you think of skate shoes. From the brand’s adoption by California’s pioneering Z-Boys skate crew to Sean Penn’s character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and punk festival the Warped Tour, Vans has become synonymous with rebel outsiders. Having survived bankruptcy in the ’80s and the skate brand wars of the late ’90s, Vans thrives today through its five classic sneaker models and a myriad of diverse collaborations. Vans Timeline 1930 — Paul Van Doren is born in Boston, Massachusetts. 1939 — James Van Doren is born on March 20 in Weymouth, Massachusetts. When the rubber and shoemaking company James works for relocates to California in the ’60s, he and brother Paul head west with it. 1966 — On March 16, the Van Doren brothers and business partners Gordon Lee and Serge D’Elia open The Van Doren Rubber Company at 704 East Broadway in Anaheim, California. The company makes shoes to order for customers who can pick them up the same day. 12 customers buy shoes on the first day. One of the company’s first styles, the #44 deck shoe, is later renamed the Authentic. 1976 — 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. 1977 — Vans releases the Sidestripe-adorned Vans #36, later known as the Old Skool, and the Vans #98, later called the Classic Slip-On. 1978 — Vans releases the Style 38, later known as the Sk8-Hi. 1982 — 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. 1984 — 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. 1986 — 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. 1988 — Vans releases the Caballero, its first signature shoe for Bones Brigade skateboarder Steve Caballero. 1992 — Vans releases Caballero’s second shoe, the Half Cab, a mid-top version of the OG. 1995 — 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. 1996 — Vans collaborates with Supreme for the first time on three Old Skools. The two labels continue to collaborate on a variety of Vans models, dropping a new collab every year since 2004. 1998 — 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 goes on to collaborate with a number of iconic bands and artists, including No Doubt (2000), Bad Religion (2004), Motorhead again (2005 and 2007), Descendents (2005), Public Enemy (2006, with Supreme), Iron Maiden (2007, 2008, and 2012), Bad Brains (2008, with Supreme), Kiss (2008 and 2009), Slayer (2009), Sex Pistols (2010), Pearl Jam (2011), Metallica (2013), The Beatles (2014), Led Zeppelin (2018), and David Bowie (2019). 2003 — Vans launches Vault by Vans, a line that adds premium elements to classic models. 2004 — VF Corporation buys the Vans brand for $396 million. 2005 — 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. 2007 — 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. 2010 — 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. 2013 — Vans starts its collaboration with Tyler, the Creator’s GOLF WANG brand, which runs until 2017, when the rapper signs a deal with Converse. 2014 — 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. 2015 — Vans collaborates with artist Takashi Murakami and fashion designer Gosha Rubchinskiy. 2016 — 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. 2017 — Vans collaborates on a collection with ALYX. The story of the Vans logo Vans’ two most recognizable design elements are the “Off the Wall” logo, usually located on the tongue or heel tab of its shoes, and the Sidestripe, which runs along the side of sneakers such as the Old Skool and Sk8-Hi. The original “Off the Wall” logo, with its text set within an old-school skateboard, was introduced in 1976. The Sidestripe, sometimes referred to as the “jazz stripe,” started life as a Paul Van Doren doodle inspired by the exhaust pipes on a 1967 Shelby Cobra sports car and debuted on the Style 36 sneaker (aka the Old Skool). How much are Vans? Vans makes shoes designed for skate performance that can be sold at a reasonable price. With their affordability and versatility, Vans’ five classic models, the Authentic, Era, Old Skool, Slip-On, and Sk8-Hi, have become hugely popular lifestyle sneakers worn by celebrities, rappers, punks, and the average Joe in the street. The base prices for the five Vans classics are as follows: Authentic, $50; Era, $50; Old Skool, $60; Slip-On, $50; and Sk8-Hi, $65. Where can I buy cheap Vans? Vans’ US and Canadian websites don’t currently have an outlet section in which to buy clearance sneakers at reduced prices. However, the brand’s European sites do have an outlet section with sneaker prices reduced by up to 35 percent. For example, the UK Vans outlet site can be found here. Elsewhere, Vans shoes are sold in most reputable sneaker retailers, so it’s always worth checking the sales racks in your local store. Likewise, Vans can be bought for a variety of prices via online retailers such as Amazon. Related Vans Articles SpongeBob to Supreme: How Vans Became the Brand That Can Do No Wrong Supreme x Vans: A Full History of Collaborations