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In 1964, after 20 years of making sneakers for the Randolf Rubber Company, Paul Van Doren ventured off to start his own shoe empire. His vision was deliver low-cost shoes to the public by eliminating the extra mark-up of a retailer. From this idea came the Van Doren Rubber Company, which opened its doors in 1966. The first Vans shoe to hit the shelves was the Vans #44 deck shoe, now known as the Authentic. This shoe was created as a customizable canvas for the customer that could showcase their unique individuality. Whether they wanted to freehand a masterpiece of their own or go out and find the perfect fabric, Vans took the time and effort to create the perfect shoe for each and every person to walk through their door. The Authentic carried on as a popular style along the East Coast. Then in 1973 this concept of customized shoes made its way onto the timeless Vans Slip-On shoe.
Creating shoes tailored to a person's style was not a normal practice before Vans hit the scene, but this level of customer focus was an instant hit for those who were jumping into California's growing surf and skate communities. The ability to have a direct influence on what you wore fit their rebellious, East Coast, Cali-cool vibe to a tee. However, the tipping point for the core skaters was the sticky gum rubber outsole with Vans' signature waffle pattern. Riders from all over the area suggested that Vans create a shoe exclusively for their sport. The company listened and in 1976 released the Vans Era. This shoe took the Authentic's build and added a padded ankle area to deliver elevated protection and support where skateboarders need it most. The Era was also the first Vans shoe to carry the "Off The Wall" logo.
One of the initial people to endorse Vans shoes was Dogtown legend and Zyphyr skate team rider, Tony Alva. Alva brought newness to skateboarding that no one had ever seen before. His laid-back style and stellar board control caught the eye of adoring fans.
People no longer saw Vans shoes as simple deck shoes; they had become the epitome of California surf culture. In this same decade, Vans released their time-tested Half Cab skate shoe. This style was a pioneer for signature shoes in the skate community. Made for pro rider Steve Caballero, the Half Cab allowed for maximum board feel and featured reinforced stitching to reduce the unfortunate, but inevitable, blowout.
Fast forward to the 1990s and into the new millennium. Here we land in the age of the digital uprising. During this time, Vans expanded into music and started to host the Vans Warped Tour. This music festival traveled all over the nation, gathering a vast entourage of Vans enthusiasts. These festivalgoers saw Vans shoes as a way to express their individualism, much like the skaters on the East Coast did in decades past.
Currently Vans is taking on new challenges. In 2010, they launched their OTW line that caters to style trendsetters and sneaker collectors. This line has developed a niche following and releases many highly coveted artists' styles, in limited quantity. Then in spring of 2012, Vans dropped their LXVI sub-category. These shoes accommodate the high-tech needs of action-sports enthusiasts. The collection is made up of a variety of highly durable styles that focus on forward-thinking technologies to increase comfort, flexibility, and reduced weight, while incorporating classic Vans design elements.
Throughout the years, Vans has earned a place in the hearts of devoted sneaker collectors and the general public, thanks to their dedication to individuality. Now in the connected age, they continue to engage with you, their customers, to create the shoes you want in the classic styles you cherish. Whether you're into the classics or looking for a modern style, we have the selection to satisfy any Vans shoe craving.