The Vans story starts back in the endless summer of 1966, when James and Paul Van Doren opened a shop in Anaheim, California selling made-to-order deck shoes to everyone from yacht-loving dads to cheerleading teams. These simple, hard-wearing canvas shoes quickly became renowned for their sturdy nature, and by the 1970s they had become the go-to shoes for local skateboarders.
Whereas some companies might have been put off by a band of long-haired miscreants coveting their wares, Vans fully embraced it, and in 1975 asked pool skating pioneers Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta to improve on the classic shape of the Vans Authentic. The result was the Era, the first shoe designed with skateboarding in mind. The rest is waffle-soled history.