With over 50 years of history in the skating and punk-rock scene, Vans is known for their classic silhouettes and iconic checkered print.
Spotted everywhere from films, music videos, on the feet of celebrities and even on the Hollywood walk of fame, Vans transcends both time and culture as one of the most accessible and inclusive brands for all.
Untouched since their creation, the Slip-On, Old Skool, Authentic, Era, and Sk8-Hi models are still Vans’ bestsellers, loved for their effortless style and catered design.
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Constantly thinking about supporting the skater community, Vans have introduced many technologies over the years designed to enhance performance, support, durability and grip.
SICKSTICK is an advanced rubber compound that improves the outsole with better grip, flexibility, and durability. The first vulcanised cupsole, the WAFFLECUP, provided much-needed support and stability of the cupsole, and enhanced both boardfeel and grip for skaters.
Protecting skaters from hard landings, the POPCUSH polyurethane-based insole cushioning is specially designed to not interfere with boardfeel.
Lastly, DURACAP rubber layers on the front outsole and shoe upper gives that all-important extra grip and reinforces the high-wear areas.
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As part of the premiere of The Simpsons Movie, this huge collaboration featured a pack of 14 different shoes, all designed by 12 different artists including Kaws, Stash, Gary Panter, Geoff McFetridge, Dave Flores, Futura, Mr. Cartoon, Sam Messner, Taka Hayashi, Tony Munoz, Todd James and Neckface.
The sneakers came presented in a special Simpsons yellow shoebox with the artist featured as a Simpsons character on the side.
The Vans x Metallica Signature Collection featured one model for each band member – James Hetfield opted for a Sk8-Hi inspired by his black boots, and Lars Ulrich took on a Half Cab and added a print taken from his diamond-plate patterned snare drum.
Kirk Hammett went for a black hemp collapsible Slip-On, while Robert Trujillo was drawn to the Escuela Lowtop with a blue Aztec print.
A rare collaboration with The Beatles franchise saw Vans release a pack of four models, including the Sk8-Hi Reissue, Slip-On, Authentic and Era, covered in trippy graphics inspired by The Yellow Submarine album and film, and presented in special collector’s box.
Disney and Vans release the ‘Young at Heart’ collection, plastering the colourful characters of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and even Winnie the Pooh over a range of Classic Slip-Ons and one Sk8-Hi model.
Unsurprisingly, the pack was an instant bestseller!
A partnership between Vans and the Amsterdam-based Van Gogh Museum produced a special collection of several silhouettes portraying the artist’s work.
Four classic silhouettes were given a Harry Potter House makeover in this collaboration with Warner Bros. Gryffindor received a Sk8-Hi, Ravenclaw got an Authentic, a Classic Slip-On was given to Hufflepuff, and Slytherin rounded off the pack with an Era.
For the undecided, there was also a ComfyCush Era wrapped in a print of the wizarding newspaper, The Daily Prophet.
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Vans Warped Tour
Kicking off in 1995, the Warped Tour was a mobile music festival that travelled around the USA and Canada every Summer for decades. After Vans started sponsoring the festival in 1996, it became known as the Vans Warped Tour. Primarily featuring punk rock, it slowly included other genres like pop punk and metalcore.
The tour was instrumental in launching many bands and artists, propelling (among others) Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Sum 41, and Bebe Rexha into the spotlight.
In 1999, the Black Eyed Peas performed, notable as the first time a non-punk band group played at the festival. Since then, artists and groups from many different genres have been included in the line-up, featuring Ice-T, Eminem, and Katy Perry.
Sadly, the festivities were wrapped up in 2019, with the final tour hosting more than 50 bands on multiple stages, extreme sports like motocross and skateboarding, and an art exhibit on the tour’s history in a last goodbye.
The History Of Vans
Brothers Paul and Jim Van Doren found The Van Doren Rubber Company with partners Gordon Lee and Serge Delia in California. Vans #44 Deck Shoes, now known as the Authentic, are born.
After listening to feedback, Vans create a skate shoe called the 'Era' with a padded collar and different colour combinations. Designed by skate professionals Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva, the Era becomes the sneaker of choice for skateboarders.
The Old Skool debuts with the now iconic Vans Sidestripe, incorporating leather panels for increased durability.
The Classic Slip-Ons are also introduced, quickly becoming a favourite due to its lightweight build and grippy waffle sole.
The innovative Sk8-Hi comes onto the market, bringing a whole new look to the Vans range with their high-cut silhouette. Shielding skater’s ankles, where they suffered the most abuse when skating, ensured their popularity.
The first signature skate shoe, the Vans Steve Caballero, is launched. Its weather-resistant design ensured it caught on quickly in the skating community.
After spotting skaters cutting the collar of their high-top Steve Caballeros for increased flexibility, Vans releases the Half-Cab, a mid-top version of the model sporting a padded tongue, suede upper, and double stitching for increased durability.
Vans and Supreme launch a long-term partnership, starting with series of co-branded Old Skools.
Assisting with the production of ‘Dogtown and Z-Boys’, a look at the beginnings of skateboarding, Vans further cements its heritage in skateboarding after the film takes the Audience Award and Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
The ‘Vans Custom’ platform goes live, giving people the option of customising choice silhouettes with hundreds of colours and patterns.
The brand launches an apparel collection for both men and women, and Anthony Van Engelen becomes the first team rider for Vans Apparel.
UltraCush Lite technology is introduced into the Vans LXVI footwear line, a custom blend of foams designed for superlight cushioning.
The brand also combines the support and durability of a cupsole and the boardfeel and grip of the traditional Vans shoe in new WAFFLECUP technology, in the first vulcanised cupsole.
Vans celebrates their 50th anniversary with the ‘Off The Wall’ campaign, breaking records in viewings across the globe in multiple languages.
The UltraRange is launched, a new silhouette that offers maximum versatility across different landscapes and lifestyles in a nod to Vans’ path towards new innovation.
It’s Vans’ incredible versatility, able to be worn by all ages, genders, and backgrounds, that gives the brand the ability to be picked up through different cultures and around the world time and time again.
Their silhouettes have become a canvas for all sorts of creative collaborations, from designer powerhouses like Karl Lagerfield and Gosha Rubchinskiy, to beloved franchises like Star Wars, Disney, The Simpsons and Harry Potter.
Staying true to its roots, Vans sponsors many professional athletes in the skate, surf and BMX scene, like Tom Schaar, Lizzie Armanto, Omar Hassan and more.
Their classic models continue to be bestsellers due to their timeless design and rich history.