Vans is an American manufacturer of shoes, based in Cypress, California, The company additionally produces apparel and additional 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. Since 1996, the company has additionally been the primary sponsor of the annual Vans Warped Tour travelling 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. 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.
Nevertheless, the twelve customers selected the colours 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 realised 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.
In 1988, Paul Van Doren sold the Vans company to the banking firm McCown De Leeuw & Co. for US$74.4 million. In 1989, a large number of manufacturers of counterfeit Vans shoes were apprehended by the US and Mexican officials and ordered to cease production.
In 2004, Vans announced it would merge into North Carolina based VF Corporation.
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. 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.
Vans has sponsored the Warped Tour for over 20 years.
Public skate parks
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.
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. This park is open 7 days a week.