Were Vans Made For Skateboarding?
by Max Gerstenmeyer
Vans are perhaps the most well recognized and most popular brand of footwear among skaters. These California staples can be seen on feet from Asia, to Europe, Australia, and across the Americas. Vans is the chief sponsor of the famousWarped Tour, and has become synonymous with the skate/surf west coast culture. With all of this in mind, it can be easy to just assume that Vans has always been a ‘skateboarding’ shoe company. But, were Vans made for skateboarding? To answer that question, we need to talk about how Vans became popular to begin with.
- How Vans Became Popular.
Vans began in Anaheim, California, as the Van Doren Rubber Company in the late 1960’s. They would begin as simply a handcrafted shoe company, but would quickly find their niche in the skating scene that was popping up across the sunshine state. In the 1970’s, the son of co-founder James Van Doren designed the iconic skateboard logo, and the rest is history as they say.
In the early stages of the company, Vans owner Paul Van Doren saw the opportunity to capitalize on a market that was largely being ignored. Where basketball had Converse, and football had Adidas; skateboarders didn’t have a tough and reliable shoe that was made with them in mind. This was when the Van Doren Rubber company shifted branding focus, and became simply ‘Vans’, a shoe made with skateboarders and the California subculture in mind.
This popularity would begin to skyrocket as Vans began to cater to the skating scene with their slip-ons, and cool funky patterns that were seen in the 80’s filmFast Times at Ridgemont High. Paired with sponsorship deals of some of the most famous skateboarders of that time, Vans quickly became a staple on the feet of every young Californian.
- Were Vans Shoes Popular In The 90’s?
After the massive success that the 70’s-mid-80’s saw for Vans, it stood to reason that the company would continue to push forward into the 90’s. However, after owner Paul Van Doren sold the company for $74 million in 1988, the company saw quite a bit of financial and marketing trouble. Pairing this with non-stop battles with counterfeiting of their design, and Vans saw a turbulent decade in the 1990’s.
However, the skateboarding community is a resilient one, and Vans would soon see themselves rise to favor with skateboarders again as the 90’s began to draw to a close. In 1996, Vans announced that they would be the primary sponsor of the nationwideWarped Tour, and the brand ‘Vans’ became a household name for skaters all over again.
- ‘Is Vans A Skate Brand’?
So, with all of this in mind, the question of ‘is Vans a skate brand’ can be answered rather simply. Vans were not initially made for skateboarders; but the rise of the sport and the early adoption by the community drove the company in that direction rather quickly. Vans can and are worn by lovers of the style all over the world; but at their very core, Vans has almost always identified themselves as a company for skaters. That classic ‘California cool’ look of the Sk8-Hi’s and Vans authentics are timeless in the skating community, and it is safe to say that yes--Vans is a skate brand.
Another amazing Skate- and Surfwear brand is the german start-up label Mäxmellow Apparel, on their website you will find super colorful shirts, shorts, tanktops, hoodies etc. that go super well with your favourite pair of Vans - if you wanna look super fresh and mellow on your board - check out www.maxmellow-apparel.com - mellow clothes for mellow people
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