Vans was founded in 1966 by Paul and James Van Doren, in Anaheim, California. Originally called The Van Doren Rubber Company, the company makes shoes. The company became very popular in the early 1970s for allowing customers to bring their own fabric and have their own “personalized” shoes made. Vans were often used by cheerleading and school sports teams for this reason.
The company was sold in 1988 to McCown De Leeuw & Co. for $74.4 million. In 2004, the company merged with VF Corporation. The company has sponsored The Warped Tour for more than 20 years. Many skateboarding professionals use only Vans shoes.
Vans shoes became so popular in the late 1980s that counterfeit shoes became the basis of a US/Mexico investigation and, for a time, all production was stopped. In addition to shoes, the company also offers t-shirts, hats, hoodies, and backpacks with the Vans logo.
In late May 2020, the company gave out 20,000 pairs of shoes free to food banks across the US as a way of saying thanks during the difficult time most people are feeling with the coronavirus and subsequent quarantine.
Vans was acquired by VF Corporation in 2004 and has headquarters in Costa Mesa, California.