In Anaheim, California, brothers Paul and Jim Doren founded the famous Vans shoe factory.
Paul dropped out of school at the age of 14 and worked as a craftsman's employee until he came up with the idea of designing a pair of very light shoes with exceptional grip!
Initially they were inspired by the Converse Chuck Taylor, in fact the idea was to design a pair of basketball shoes and that's exactly how the Authentic came into being, sold in the first ever VANS branded shop.
On the opening day only three models of trainers were available in the shop, priced between $2.49 and $4.99. Empty boxes were placed on the shelves so that customers chose the model and size in the morning and returned in the afternoon to pick them up once they were ready.
Business was brisk and by the end of the 1970s there were no fewer than 73 VANS shops scattered throughout California and the brand was even sold in multi-brand stores.
But if we were talking about basketball shoes before, why were skate shoes finally invented?
Well, the answer is one of the simplest; it is well known that California is the home of surfing, but in the years of the first Vans, high waves were scarce and so boards with wheels, or skateboards, were born. So Vans had the idea of creating a non-slip sole to ensure maximum grip for this type of sporting activity. And that's why the logo is a mini skate!
(Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta, two skateboarding icons, were the first to be sponsored by Vans).
But what does the famous phrase 'Off the wall' mean?
In the film 'Dogtown and Z-boys', a gang of kids perform skate tricks using abandoned swimming pools as skateparks, these youngsters would reach up to the edge of the pools and then launch themselves into the void aka 'off the wall'.
This slogan accompanied Vans shoes since the 1960s and stood for the defiance against gravity and the acrobatics allowed by the shoes thanks to their incredible structure!
As time went by, Vans was no longer just a brand dedicated solely to skateboarders but a lifestyle brand and so it was that this famous phrase was adapted to anyone who buys Vans.
Now VANS is a state of mind, a way of being and not appearing, a lifestyle!