Vans - Footwear, Clothing - Vans Online Outlet

Vans shoes have been popular for what seems like a century. Seriously. Remember back in middle school when there was that new shoe craze where everybody started rocking those flat-bottom, two-tone skate shoes? Yeah, that was Vans. Now not only do they make skate shoes, but they also make BMX shoes, hoodies, base layers, boardshorts, snowboarding boots, jackets and pants. If you want great Vans gear and clothing, shop our Vans Outlet. Read More about Vans

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Originally named Van Doren Rubber Company, Vans is an American based manufacturer that specializes in shoes specifically made for the extreme sports of today.  They produce sneakers, BMX shoes, snowboarding boots, as well as a variety of other shoes. They provide mostly to the youth market in skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing. Vans also sells a wide range of apparel like t-shirts, hoodies, socks, watches and other accessories. All of their products are made to be comfortable, sturdy and stylish.

From early on it never looked like Paul Van Doren would be a successful business man. He dropped out of school in the 8th grade to pursue his fascination with horses, but ended up at the race track. His disappointed mother forced him to go to work at the shoe manufacturer she worked at. Over the next 20 years Paul worked his way up to executive vice president at Randy’s, a shoe company in Boston.

In 1966 Paul decided to branch out on his own to start his own company. Along with Serge D’Elia and Gordy Lee the three men started a company that would manufacture and sell shoes directly to the public and cut out the retailers. They built a factory in Anaheim, California and a retail store that was a mere 400 square feet.

When they first opened their store they only offered three styles of shoes in just a few different colors ranging in price from $2.49 – $4.99. If a customer wanted something other than what they had the customer would be asked to return later that afternoon to pick up their order, as Paul would scramble to make it for them that day. One woman in particular wanted a shoe in a color they didn’t have. So Paul asked her to bring in the color of fabric she wanted and they would make her shoes from it. That was the start of Vans’ customization.

Over the next year and a half Vans was opening a new store nearly every week. Now with 50 retail stores Vans was bringing in much more revenue while at the same time allowing for them to be closer to the consumer. Although the name of the company was still Van Doren Rubber the customers began to call their shoes Vans.

Then Van Doren was given the chance to prove his ability to please his consumers. The soles of these first shoes would easily crack along the balls of the outer sole. So Van Doren patented a new waffle designed sole. The skateboarding fever of the early 1970s created a plea for different colors and patterns, which Van had originally been producing. But in response to this they released the Era line. It was a red and blue shoe that had been developed by professional skateboarders. This is when Vans became the choice footwear for skateboarders.

It was in 1979 that Vans introduced the slip-on line of shoes and they were quickly the most popular shoe to have in southern California. Vans reached its nationwide popularity when Sean Penn wore a pair of checkerboard slip-ons in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. But this nationwide success posed a problem for Paul because he didn’t want to sell his Vans outside of California. Regardless, the shoes soon started moving from Van owned retail stores into department and third party retailers all across the United States.

This success would be short lived as troubling times were soon to come. Van Doren was forced to reduce the price of his shoes due to rival companies selling cheap substitutes of the popular slip-ons. By 1984 Vans was $12 million in debt and the bank was requesting at least $6.7 million be paid back. Paul had no choice but to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the company he had founded nearly two decades earlier.

It took two years for Paul to pay off his debts and reclaim his shoe company, but when he did Vans came back with a bang. The demand for shoes was high, so in their factory in Orange, California they produced 2 million shoes. These shoes quickly sold and brought in over $50 million in sales. Van Doren was then able to reach into other countries such as Mexico and Europe. At this time other sneaker manufacturing companies were having their shoes made in countries like South Korea and then shipped back to the U.S. to sell. But Vans refused to follow suit as they wanted to keep to its American roots.

In 1988 Paul Van Doren decided it was time to throw in the towel and he agreed to sell Vans for $74.4 million to the banking firm McCown De Leeuw & Co. Paul was now the chairman of the company and his partner, Gordy Lee, was vice-chairman. Richard Leeuwenberg was brought in to be the new president of the company, which was now simply called Vans, Inc. One year later Vans, Inc. decided to go public offering $14 per share of the company and this is when Paul stepped down from the board. But the company grew to 70 retail stores, 4,500 independent outlets and over 200 different styles of shoes in their inventory.

Throughout most of the 90s Vans struggled with loss of revenue and low sales, but by 1996 they had seemed to be back on track. Later in 2000 Vans started to re-release their old styles of shoes with the resurge of the retro, and business was going good. The VF Corporation bought Vans in 2004 for $400 million.

Now Vans has been able to get their name out in the world by sponsoring many events and athletes. They have been sponsoring the Warped Tour for 15 years and have some the biggest names in extreme sports riding for them. In skateboarding there are people such as Bucky Lasek and Dustin Dollin. In snowboarding, people like Danny Kass and Daniel Franck have come on board. Some of their sponsored riders even have their own shoe from Vans like Omar Hassan, Christian Hosoi and John Cardiel.

The Vans Story:
Shoe Dreams As many companies are, Vans was birthed from a dream of one of its founders, Paul Van Doren. He had learned how to make sneakers in a factory on the East Coast. His dream seemed fairly simple--to manufacture shoes that could be sold directly to the public. Paul decided to move west to Southern California along with his partners, Jim Van Doren, Gordy Lee, and Serge D'Elia. All of them had experience in the shoe manufacturing business, but none of them knew anything about retail.

March 1966
The first Vans shoe store opened at 704 East Broadway in Anaheim, California on March 15, 1966. They offered three styles, priced $2.49, $4.49, $4.99, as display-only shoes. Twelve customers came into the Vans store that morning to purchase shoes. Since their weren't any shoes in stock, Paul and Gordy asked the customers to come back in the afternoon. They then rushed back into the factory to make up the selected shoes. When the customers returned in the afternoon to pick up their shoes, they needed change for their purchases. Paul and Gordy hadn't thought of this (remember, they didn't have any retail experience), so they didn't have any change available. They just gave them the shoes, asking that they come back the next day to pay for them. All 12 customers showed up the following day to pay for their shoes.

Fast Reactions
The first Vans shoes had a diamond pattern in the sole, but they discovered that it would crack along the ball of the outsole. Vertical lines were then added to the ball area to make it stronger, a design which is now Vans' proprietary waffle sole.

In 1976, skateboarders began wearing Vans shoes. On March 19, 1976, Vans came out with the first Vans Era in red/blue, designed by pro skaters Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta. Over the next few years, many different color combinations were introduced into the Vans line. The Slip-on was added in 1979 in a multitude of color combinations, and it quickly became the craze of Southern California. That craze spread across the nation when Jeff Spicoli, a California surfer dude in the hit movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", wore a pair of Vans checkerboard slip-ons.

Growing Pains
By the early 1980s, Vans had become a successful and profitable company. Paul Van Doren decided to step back and take a lighter role. The new administration started increasing the Vans line into new territory. All of these new designs required a different type of manufacturing process that other shoe companies were doing in Asia. Vans tried to do it in the United States where labor was much more expensive. Naturally, this had an unfortunate effect on the company. The bank that was financing Vans called its note, but Vans did not have the money to pay. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In December of 1986, Vans came out of Chapter 11 and once again became a stable and profitable company.

Going Global
On February 16, 1988, the original owners sold Vans to McCown DeLeeuw Co., an investment banking firm. Vans expanded and gained recognition across the nation and around the world. Vans later made public offering of Vans stock, and the stock is now traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Vans expanded manufacturing overseas in 1994 in order to produce specialized footwear incapable of being made in the United States. The Vans footwear collection now features over 60 styles, ranging from classic deck shoes and slip-ons to high performance skateboard shoes, snowboard boots and sandals.

Vans are distributed through over 190 company-owned retail stores and outlets as well as through a nationwide network of independent shoe, sporting goods and apparel stores.
(Taken from is your shop for Vans Skate Shoes & Snowboard Boots. We carry all Vans products including Vans Snowboard Boots, Women's Vans Snowboard Boots, Kid's Vans Snowboard Boots, Vans Snowboard Jackets, Women's Vans Snowboard Jackets, Vans Snowboard Pants, Women's Vans Snowboard Pants, Vans Skate Shoes, Women's Vans Skate Shoes, Vans Sandals, Women's Vans Sandals, Vans T-Shirts, Vans Hooded Sweatshirts / Hoodies, Vans Caps and Vans Backpacks.

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