Vans first started making shoes in the spring of 1966. Going by the rather clunky name of The Van Doren Rubber Company, James and Paul Van Doren (and a few of their mates) opened up a shop in Anaheim, California which manufactured made-to-order deck shoes which customers could order in the morning, and then pick up in the evening. These shoes, which are now known as the Authentic, quickly became renowned for their grippy waffle soles, hard-wearing nature and good looks and soon the yacht-deck was replaced with the skateboard deck as more and more skateboarders in the area started wearing Vans shoes.
Realising the potential of the burgeoning skateboard market, in 1975 Vans asked the California bowl-pioneers Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta to design some shoes made more specifically for the rigours of the sport. Known as the Era, these shoes have a padded collar, a low profile, and still look great today. But it’s not all power-slides and dog-bowl fast-plants for Vans, as an interesting side note, the company was also contracted by the US military to make canvas, rubber soled boots.
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