The first Vans store was opened on March 16, 1966 at Street 704R Broadway, in Anaheim, California. Founded by Paul Van Doren and three business partners, the company would manufacture shoes and sell them directly to the public the very same day.

The concept behind the first Vans sneaker, the Authentic, which was then named #44, was to make a pair of sneakers that would outlast anything. The moulds for the waffle soles were thicker than any shoe out there with better, stronger canvas and nylon thread instead of cotton. The style became increasingly popular with skaters, so Vans developed the Old School, with leather in the toe to help prevent wear, and then the Skate High with padded backs and sides to protect skater’s ankles when the board flew off the pool.  It’s the brand’s iconic checkerboard shoe that took the company to international fame when Sean Penn, or Jeff Spicoli in the movie, wore the style for the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Vans was recognised by Forbes in 2000 and 2001 as one of “America’s Best Small Companies”, and in 2004 launched Vans Customs, allowing would-be designers to create their own Classic Slip-ons. The brand continues to innovate through collaborations such as the Vans Warped Tour and through the Vans Skate Park at the Block of Orange.

With over forty years of history at the heart of youth culture, Vans has remained one of the most iconic streetwear brands on the market. Browse through THE ICONIC’s hand-picked selection of this urban essential and update your off-duty wardrobe today.