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As Vans celebrates its golden anniversary, take a look back at 50 years of "Off The Wall" ® moments.


Brothers Paul Van Doren and Jim Van Doren along with partners Gordon Lee and Serge Delia open for business at 704 E. Broadway in Anaheim, Calif. on March 16. The Van Doren Rubber Company is unique in that it manufactures shoes on premises and sells them directly to the public.

On that first morning, 12 customers purchase shoes, which are made that day and ready for pick-up in the afternoon.

Vans #44 deck shoes, now known as the Authentic, are born.

The name House of Vans is coined Early 70s Skateboarders who like Vans' rugged make-up and sticky sole are seen sporting for the first time and is showcased on the windows of the Anaheim location.

Early 1970's

Skateboarders who like Vans' rugged make-up and sticky sole are seen sporting Vans all over Southern California.


The Vans #95, now known as the Era, with a padded collar and different color combinations, is designed by Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta and becomes the shoe of choice for a generation of skateboarders.

Vans' "Off the Wall" logo makes its debut.


Vans #36, the Old Skool, debuts with the now famous Vans Sidestripe. The Old Skool is Vans' first skate shoe that incorporated leather panels for increased durability. What started as a random doodle by Paul Van Doren was originally referred to as the "jazz stripe" and has become the unmistakable hallmark of the Vans brand.

The Vans #98 is also introduced and with the help of skateboarders and BMX riders, Vans Classic Slip-Ons become the rage in Southern California and will come to be the original Slip-On silhouette that will be known as an icon for generations.

By the end of the 70s, Vans has 70 stores in California and sells through dealers both nationally and internationally.


The Sk8-Hi was introduced in 1978 as "Style 38," and showcased the now-iconic Vans Sidestripe on yet another innovative silhouette. As only the second model featuring the recognizable marker formerly known as the "jazz stripe," the Sk8-Hi took skate functionality to the next level, above the ankle, where skateboarders used and abused their lower extremities the most. The Sk8-Hi not only shielded bones from skateboards catapulted at them but also brought a whole new look to the park.


Vans Classic Slip-Ons gain international attention and appeal when they are worn by Sean Penn in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.


Vans files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Although the core Vans shoes are selling well, the wide range of products that Vans offers have drained company resources and Vans is not able to overcome debt.

Courts approve re-organization plan as Paul Van Doren returns as President; Paul tells all employees that they may not get a raise for three years and they will need to cut back on everything but the quality of Vans shoes.


In three years, Vans has paid back all creditors 100 cents on the dollar and in December, Vans re-emerges from the $12 million debt and Chapter 11.


The Vans Steve Caballero, the first signature skate shoe, is introduced. Vans introduces weather resistant materials to footwear labeled Mountain Edition for the first time.


Vans makes initial public offering of stock at $14 on the NASDAQ stock exchange.


Vans introduces the Vans Snowboard Boot in the fall '93 / winter '94 snow season.


Vans sponsors the Warped Tour for the first time; In 2001 Vans will buy a controlling interest in what is now the Vans Warped Tour, the longest running concert series in America.


Vans sponsors the inaugural Triple Crown of Skateboarding event.

Vans and Supreme launch long-term partnership with a series of co-branded Old Skools.


Vans begins creating the world's leading action sports series with the purchase of the Triple Crown of Surfing; by 2000 the Vans Triple Crown Series will include events in skateboarding, BMX, surfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, freestyle motocross and supercross. The Series is broadcast on ESPN2.


Vans opens first of its kind, 46,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor Vans Skatepark at the Block at Orange mall in Orange County.

Daniel Franck wins Olympic Silver Medal in Vans snowboard boots at the Nagano Games.


Vans recognized by Forbes as one of "America's Best Small Companies for 2000."


Vans assists with the production of "Dogtown and Z-Boys," Stacy Peralta's look at the beginnings of skateboarding and the personalities that evolved the sport. The film takes the Audience Award and Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival. The film is narrated by Sean Penn. Shortly after, the film will be released to the public further cementing Vans' heritage in skateboarding.

Vans enters into television broadcast deals for the Vans Triple Crown Series with NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net.

Vans buys controlling interest of the Vans Warped Tour, the nation's leading action sports and music festival.


Danny Kass and Doriane Vidal each win medals at the Salt Lake City Olympic games wearing Vans snowboard boots.


Vans skate team embarks on its first-ever international tour when the Pleased to Meet You Tour hits seven countries in Europe and then returns to the States for stops in 30 cities.

The Vans Triple Crown Series is bigger than ever with more than 285,000 event attendees and another 50 million + watching on NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net.

Vans launches the Vault by Vans collection, an offering of timeless footwear melding the worlds of high-fashion and premium design to Vans' classic silhouettes.


Vans launches Vans Customs at, allowing would be fashion designers to create their own Classic Slip-ons utilizing hundreds of different color and pattern combinations. In October, the Old Skool is added to styles available.

In June, VF Corporation completes purchase of Vans for $396 million including stock options.

The Vans Warped Tour, passing the 500,000-attendee plateau for the first time, celebrates its 10th Anniversary.


In an event that many in the skate industry claim may be the best bowl contest of all time, Rune Glifberg, Chris Miller and Cara-Beth Burnside are winners at the inaugural Pro-tec Pool Party in the replica of the legendary and dearly-departed Combi Bowl at the Vans Skatepark at the Block at Orange. The May 14 event takes place in front of a packed house and draws a throng of past masters and top pros.

Vans creates a new concept in skate street contests with the Vans Downtown Showdown, held in the Universal Studios Back Lot on Labor Day. Skateboard companies are invited to submit designs for obstacles that were then sessioned in a Brooklyn city block setting. Toy Machine took the team title, while Chris Cole and Angel Ramirez took the Pro and Am titles, respectively.

The freestyle BMX world descends on Las Vegas at the end of September for the first Vans/Hard Rock Let it Ride BMX Jam. Ryan Guettler takes the Dirt title, while Scotty Cranmer wins the Street crown.

Vans continues to forge innovative collaborative efforts through the Vault by Vans line with Vans sneaker combinations with design giant Marc Jacobs and OC up-and-comers Trovata flying off shelves.


Vans celebrates 40 years at the heart of youth culture.

Long known as the leader in action sports footwear, Vans launches an extensive apparel collection for both men and women. Pro skater Anthony Van Engelen becomes the first team rider for Vans Apparel.

Vans renews old acquaintances when legendary skater Christian Hosoi joins the team. Skaters celebrate by snapping up the limited edition Hosoi Rising Sun Sk8-Hi.


Recognizing the cultural relevance of the Vans Warped Tour and its significance to the punk-rock and skate community, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland opens an exhibit documenting the Tour's first 12 years.

Vans releases perhaps its most anticipated special collection to date with the Vans x The Simpsons series that features artwork from Kaws, Stash, Gary Panter, Geoff McFetridge, Dave Flores, Futura, Mr. Cartoon, Sam Messner, Taka Hayashi, Tony Munoz, Todd James and Neckface.


Vans brings its brand of youth culture to China with the opening of the first Vans retail store in Shanghai.

Long-time Vans surf team rider Joel Tudor signs on as the first surfer on Vans' apparel program.


Harry N. Abrams publishes "Vans: Off the Wall, Stories of Sole from Vans Originals" which recounts the story of the many action sports legends, artists and musicians who have helped shape Vans as an icon of California culture.


Vans opens the House of Vans event space in Brooklyn, NY with music by Public Enemy and a hard charging bowl session headlined by skate legends Tony Alva, Steve Caballero and Omar Hassan.

326 schools across the United States participate in Vans Custom Culture, the high school shoe customization contest which culminates in four schools traveling to Vans' home turf for a weekend of activities including the final showcase at the Orange County Museum of Art. Winning school Rio Rancho High School of New Mexico receives a $10,000 grant towards the school's art programs.

Joel Tudor and Vans create the Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational contest series to showcase progressive longboard surfing. In the first two years, the Duct Tape contests were held in such iconic surf venues as Virginia Beach, Montauk, Santa Cruz, Malibu and Salinas, Spain.

Vans partners with boutique surf shop Thalia to open its first partner retail space, Vans by Thalia Surf Shop. The store highlights Vans surf apparel and footwear, in addition to an assortment of lifestyle-driven pieces.


Vans releases its first-ever surf film, "Get-N Classic, Vol. 1" featuring the Gudauskas brothers, Joel Tudor, John Florence and the rest of the Vans surf team. Vans surf program is clicking on all cylinders with the addition of the team's first Australian in Wade Goodall and one of the most exciting surfers in the world, Dane Reynolds.

Vans' global expansion continues with milestones including distribution into India, our first international partner store with Off the Hook (OTH) in Montreal and Vans by Fly Stree