Vans Classics

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Vans make shoes and have been doing so since 1964. The first shoe that they made was a deck shoe that we now know as the ‘Authentic’. Vans were sold from a newly opened store in Anaheim, California. The store was opened by the Van Doren family and was named the ‘The Van Doren Rubber Company’. It’s not the catchiest of names but they set themselves apart from other shoemakers in that they sold direct to the public. The amazing thing about Vans shoes was that the shoes made that day were available for collection that afternoon.

The van Dorens had some experience in making shoes as they had worked for a company called Randy’s. Paul Van Doren worked his way through the ranks and became Executive Vice President. Randy’s was a well-known shoe manufacturer based in Boston. They also had a plant in California which was hemorrhaging money and the Van Doren brothers were sent to turn it around. Up tuntil that point it had been losing $1 million a month and it took them 8 months to stem this loss and make the plant profitable again. So good were they at this that the plant in California started to make more money than the main plant in Boston.

So how do you top that? Well, you leave and set up your own shoe company and so, in 1964, Vans was born.

VANS Shoes

All his life Paul had been making shoes and knew that the only person in the chain making money was the retailer as the manufacturer made less than a dime a pair. They may have sold the shoes by the thousands but the line between profit and loss was marginal. So they decided to open their own store and cut out the middle man.

The Vans Company quickly grew and in the 1970’s they even supplied the armed forces. Skater kids around the world also adopted the Vans shoe as they liked its rugged build and sticky sole, which for skaters is paramount. The 1980’s saw Vans file for bankruptcy, although the company was successful, too many different product lines meant that they were unable to pay their bills. It took just over 3 years for them to pay all the suppliers and when they did, Vans was back in business again.


Since then the growth of Vans has been phenomenal. Having the backing of the VF group has enabled Vans to become the biggest shoe brand in its field. It easily outsells its former rivals Converse & Keds, and Vans shoes continue to acquire new customers by increasing the quality of the products they offer.