In Marchof 1966, the first Vans shoes were manufactured in a small locally owned store in Anaheim California known as The Van Doren Rubber Company. That day, Paul Van Doren and three of his business partners sold 12 pairs of their Vans deck shoes, known as the Authentics today. The shoes were ordered by the customer, manufactured, and ready for pick-up all in the same day. It was just the beginning of Vans Footwear and nobody, including the owners, ever expected their popularity to explode so quickly.
By the 1970s, Vans was creating more than just skateboarding shoes, and began branching out into the BMX market. During this decade, Vans Footwear added a few more popular shoes to their roster, including the #95 and #44 shoes, which are now known as the Era and Slip-Ons respectively. The Era shoes were a huge success partly due to the fact that professional skateboarders Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta actually helped with developing the design. By the time the 1970s were over, Vans had almost become a household name in California and opened up 70 stores across the state.
The promising and successful era during the 1970s encouraged the owners of Vans to expand their market in the 1980s to other extreme sports like wakeboarding and motocross. Unfortunately, they ended up biting off more than they could chew. After exhausting all of the companies resources and accumulating a rather large debt, Vans was left with no option but to file bankruptcy in 1983.
Despite their downturn, Vans bounced back a few years later after successfully repaying all of their debts and creditors. The company was sold to a number of other people over the next two decades, until most recently they were acquired by co-founder Paul Van Doren's son, Steve Van Doren, for an estimated $396 million.
Nowadays, Vans is still considered by many people, skateboarders or not, to be some of the best, most durable, comfortable and affordable sneakers on the market. Even though this company had it's share of bad years, they have proven time and time again that they are not only here to stay, but also a force to be reckoned with.