"Vans aren't just one thing, and neither are you", Vans understands that every person who wears their product is unique in their talents and abilities. Artist, skaters, surfers, musicians, and school kids all caught on quickly to how easy it is to make Vans customizable to fit their personalities.
I got my first pair of Vans as a baby. My dad is a skater and has gone through more pairs of Vans than what is currently in their warehouse, so naturally, I would be wearing them just like him.
As I grew older and my feet stopped growing, my collection of Vans grew a ton. I used to take multiple colored sharpies and make my own designs on the canvas because I wanted them to be unique to me. A few years later the Vans website released an option to upload your artwork online and make your own customs shoes, which I thought was the most rad thing in the world. Now I have roughly ten pairs of Vans and I'm still working on expanding my collection. Wearing them every day made me grow curious about the history behind these shoes.
In March of 1966, brothers Paul and Jim Van Doren made a shoe company that would sell shoes to the public. They named the company Vans. Their company quickly gained popularity, specifically from the surfing and skateboarding communities.
In the mid-'70s, skateboarding gained popularity rapidly. Vans drew their attention towards three guys who became legendary to the sport of skating, Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, and Jerry Valdez. Vans gave all of them free shoes in exchange for them to keep doing what they were doing, which was inspiring communities.
In the '80s film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the slip on checkered style Vans appeared when Sean Penn's character Spiccoli shows up late to class holding them in his hand. The movie started a revolution for slip-on Vans.
Throughout the years the shoe gained different styles such as the Old Skool, Classic Slip-Ons, and Sk8-Hi's. More and more skaters started to jump on Van's bandwagon. They serve such a greater purpose besides looking cool. For a skater, the grip on the bottom of the shoes makes it perfect to stay put on grip tape of a board and cruise around. The padded ankles and thicker canvas protect your feet when doing tricks.
The company even collaborated with Thrasher, a classic skateboarding magazine. In the Vans "No Other Way" video, it shows a collection of kids who show some rebellion just to skate. Skating down rails, ollying over trash cans, kickflipping over fire hydrants, and skating empty pools are just some of the ways that they show their love for the sport.
Being a girl skater is knowing that everyone has a unique style and it is great to be different. Vans is all about self-expression and confidence. For me, Vans has not only become a major part in my fashion statement but it has also become a lifestyle, and that is what makes their motto "Off The Wall."