The basis for an authentic classic
704 East Broadway, Anaheim, California, may not be an address that rings a bell, but if you're a real nerd, you might know Anaheim, and if not, we'll introduce you to what it's all about here. The address is home to the factory that produced the first ever Vans shoes back in 1966.
It was founded in 1966 by entrepreneurial brothers Paul and Jim Van Doren (yes, that's where the name comes from), who, along with partners Gordon Lee and Serge Delia, founded the Van Doren Rubber Company. They were the first to bring footwear known as rubber shoes to California, but it would later prove that they were far from the last to see the potential of the popular footwear. It is because of this very factory that Vans ever became a reality, and that the brand has become such a worldwide success both inside and outside the skate community is ultimately due to the opportunities the Anaheim factory has given Vans.
The phrase "everything was better in the old days" comes partly true in this case, because the quality of the Vans Anaheim, made in the old factory in the USA, is just a tad better than the average shoe. For seven decades, Vans has managed to stay relevant across time, subcultures and youth movements through innovation, but without any compromise to the original designs, and this is thanks in part to the Anaheim collection.
The collection is based on the original models, typically Oldskool, Era, Authentic, Slip-on and Skatehi. Unique to this particular range is the manufacturing method. The shoes are made of a stronger rubber quality with a right and more reinforced edge, as well as stronger surface, which makes them significantly more durable than regular Vans. All models are also produced with a slight vintage look, for example by coloring the soles. In addition, the comfort of the shoe's sole has also been worked on.
One of the things that made Vans shoes very popular in the beginning was the durability of the shoes and the unique waffle pattern undersoles. The undersole was actually originally designed to help sailors stand more firmly on a wet and slippery ship's deck, and you might think that it was this unique grip that made skaters adopt the shoe in the first place.
If you want to delve a little deeper into the culture and times surrounding the founding and growth of Vans, we highly recommend watching the film "Lords of Dogtown". The film, starring the late Heath Ledger and Emile Hirsch, gives a pretty good picture of the origins of skate culture and surfing back in 1960s and 1970s California, and thus of the foundations on which Vans was created and has grown. Originally, the three surfers who later became professional skaters, Tony Alva, Stacy Parelta and Jay Adams, were sponsored by surf shop Zephyr, which went on to make skate gear - but guess what, their footwear of choice throughout the film: yep, Vans.
A funny anecdote related to Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta is that it was actually because of them and their many purchases at the Vans store in Santa Monica that Paul Van Doren accidentally became aware of the Vans connection to the emerging skateboarding craze. The connection to skateboarding really took off in the 1970s, and it led to the branch of Vans that goes by the name "Off The Wall".
Vans Anaheim is possibly one of the most authentic footwear you can get. If you've been itching to add a pair of Anaheim to your shoe collection, you can find a selection of different classic styles and colours in your qUINT store or online at our webshop here.