In Depth // Vans

24 Feb, 2023



Vans was founded in 1966 by Paul Van Doren and his partners James Van Doren, Gordy Lee, and Serge D'Elia. Initially named the Van Doren Rubber Company and started as a small retail store in Anaheim, California. Paul Van Doren, who had previously worked for a shoe manufacturer, set out to create a brand that made shoes specifically for skateboarders. By the late 1960s, Vans had become a favorite among skateboarders in Southern California, known for their classic canvas shoes, originally called the "Style 36" and later became known as the Old Skool.

Van Doren's use of vulcanized soles throughout their footwear range provided skaters with durable, high quality footwear that stood up to the demands of skateboarding while retaining board feel and response. The use of vulcanized soles and the legendary "Waffle Sole" has become a hallmark of Vans shoes.

Throughout the 1970's, Vans continued to grow, expanding their product range and sponsoring skateboarding events and athletes. By the 1980s, Vans had become a globally recognized footwear brand.

Vans has sponsored some of the most influential skateboarders of all time including Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, Steve Caballero, Jeff Grosso, and Ray Barbee. More recently, the Vans team has included Geoff Rowley, Pedro Barros, Elijah Berle, Justin Henry and Lizzie Armanto.

In 1989, Vans and Steve Caballero released the "Caballero", one of the first wave of signature shoes. Featuring a high-top design built for skating vert and pools, the Caballero incorporated reinforced toe pieces and extra ankle protection. As skating evolved, so too did the Caballero, with Cab himself cutting down the shoe, wrapping a piece of duct tape around the top to seal it and thus creating the "Half Cab", a style that has become one of the most influential shoes of all time.

Vans has a long history of collaborations with a wide range of artists, designers, and brands. These collaborations have resulted in some of the most sought-after and iconic Vans shoes, and have helped to expand the brand's appeal beyond the skateboarding community. Some of the most notable collaborations include New York's Supreme, the Simpsons, Tyler, The Creator, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Quasi, Fucking Awesome, Justin Henry, Alltimers and Daniel Johnston.

In a push to continue evolving with skateboarding, Vans introduced the Vans Skate collection which elevates styles with increased durability, comfort and support, integrating technologies such as Duracap, Sickstick rubber and Popcush insoles.

Today, the Vans range has expanded to include skate shoes and sneakers, apparel and accessories.

Shop New Zealand's best range of Vans available online and in Boardertown stores nationwide.

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