This article is about the apparel company. For the road vehicle, see Van. For other uses, see Vans (disambiguation).
Industry Apparel
Founded March 16, 1966 (1966-03-16) (as The Van Doren Rubber Company)
Headquarters Cypress, California, U.S.
Area served
Products Clothing
Owners Paul Van Doren, Gordon C. Lee, James Van Doren,
Parent VF Outdoor Inc., a subsidiary[1] of VF Corporation
Vans headquarters in Cypress, California

Vans is an American manufacturer of shoes, based in Cypress, California, The company also produces apparel and other products such as T-shirts, hoodies, socks, hats, and backpacks. As of August 2013, the brand is active in the actions sports industry and sponsors skateboard, surf, snow, BMX, and motocross teams.[2] Since 1996, the company has also been the primary sponsor of the annual Vans Warped Tour traveling rock festival.


On March 16, 1966, at 704 East Broadway in Anaheim, California, brothers Paul Van Doren and James Van Doren, Gordon Lee, and Serge D'Elia opened the first Vans store under the name The Van Doren Rubber Company.[3] Paul Van Doren and D'Elia owned the majority of the company, while James Van Doren and Lee each owned a 10 percent stake. The business manufactured shoes and sold them directly to the public. On that first morning, twelve customers purchased Vans deck shoes, which are now known as "Authentic". The company displayed three styles of shoes, which were priced between US$2.49 and US$4.99, but on the opening day, the company had only manufactured display models without any inventory ready to sell—the store rack boxes were actually empty.[4]

Nevertheless, the twelve customers selected the colors and styles they desired, and were asked to return later in the afternoon to pick up their purchases. Paul Van Doren and Lee then rushed to the factory to manufacture the selected shoes. When the customers returned that afternoon to pick up their shoes, Paul Van Doren and Lee realized that they had forgotten to maintain a cash reserve to provide change to customers. The customers were therefore given the shoes and asked to return the following day with their payments. All twelve of the customers returned the following day to pay for their items.[4]

In 1988, Paul Van Doren sold the Vans company to the banking firm McCown De Leeuw & Co. for US$74.4 million. In 1989, many manufacturers of counterfeit Vans shoes were apprehended by the US and Mexican officials and ordered to cease production.[4]

In 2004, Vans announced it would merge into North Carolina based VF Corporation.[5]

In August 2013, the Vans skateboard team filmed a video, and team rider Geoff Rowley explained in an interview that the video will represent a team of grateful Vans riders returning the support that they have received from the shoe brand thus far.[6] Skateboard filmmaker Greg Hunt, who previously worked on the Alien Workshop video Mindfield, is solely responsible for the video and it is the first-ever project that Hunt has been given complete creative control over.[7]

Event sponsorship

Vans has sponsored the Warped Tour for over 20 years.[8]

The company became the title sponsor of the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California in 2014.[9]

Public skate parks

Vans shoes in use on a skateboard

The first skate park was opened in 1998 at the Outlets of Orange. It features a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) indoor street course, a Combi pool, which is 12 feet (3.7 m) deep, an area for amateurs, mini ramps, an outdoor street course, and an arcade. The park was updated in 2008.[10]

The company built its first free skate park in Huntington Beach, California which was opened to the public in 2014. It includes a 17,500-square-foot (1,630 m2) skate bowl and a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) skate plaza. The park is 42,500 square feet (3,950 m2) and Vans pays the city US$1 per year for the 20-year lease.[11][10] This park is open 7 days a week.

There is also a skate park in London, in The Old Vic Tunnels called House of Vans.[12]


  1. "VF Outdoor Completes Acquisition of Eagle Creek, Inc.".
  2. "Home". Vans, A VF Company. August 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  3. Connelly, Laylan (March 11, 2016). "Happy 50th, Vans: How the iconic shoe brand born in Anaheim has kept on surviving". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 "Vans, Inc. History". Funding Universe. Funding Universe. 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  6. Ride Channel (16 August 2013). "Geoff Rowley & Chase Gabor: Nyjah, Street League, Extremely Sorry! Weekend Buzz ep. 74 pt. 2" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  7. Jake Phelps (2 June 2014). "Thrasher Radio: Ep. 24 Geoff Rowley" (Audio upload). Thrasher magazine. High Speed Productions, Inc. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  8. "History of Vans Members". Vans. 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  9. Bell, Jennie (April 20, 2016). "Vans Renews US Open of Surfing Sponsorship Through 2018". Footwear News. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  10. 1 2 Fletcher, Jaimee Lynn (March 22, 2014). "Vans to open free skatepark in H.B. Saturday". The Orange County Register. p. Local 2. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  11. Fletcher, Jaimee Lynn (January 28, 2012). "H.B. OKs lease for first free Vans skate park". The Orange County Register. p. Local 7.
  12. "Under London: Disused Tunnel Now a Subterranean Skate Park". Webist Media. 2014-08-25. Archived from the original on 2015-09-01.
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