Best Vans Shoes 2022: Old Skool to SK8-Hi
Cut the Vans brand and it will bleed from California. From sneaker designs to ad campaigns, every aspect of the brand pays homage to The Golden State, which is why it attracts the kind of good-vibe makers — think baristas, skateboarders, street artists, tattoo artists; the street and stage rockstars – whom you would expect to find roaming the towns of the West Coast. Specifically in Anaheim: the city where Vans began.
How was Vans created?
Having cut their teeth at the Randolph Rubber Manufacturing Company, Paul Van Doren and James Van Doren – supported by their associates Gordon Lee and Serge Delia – established The Van Doren Rubber Company in 1966 in Anaheim, California. The company was noticed from its inception because it was the first to sell shoes from the same space in which they were made.
Initially, the brothers decided to only offer three silhouettes, including the #44 Deck Shoe, a model now known as Vans Authentic, which originally cost just $2.99 for women and 4, $99 for men.
Word of The Van Doren Rubber Company spread quickly, resulting in hundreds of people lining up outside the Anaheim store every day and new stores opening in various locations across California. With more consumers came more reviews; with more feedback, further adjustments were made to the products – the most crucial being the replacement of the original diamond outsole that tended to crack with the now iconic waffle outsole.
Vans started making money-making moves in the early ’70s, especially after skateboarders embraced the sneaker and turned it into an icon of their subculture. In 1975, acclaimed skateboarders Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta worked with Vans to design a sneaker designed specifically for skateboarding – the first shoe designed by skateboarders for skateboarders. Dubbed the Vans #95, now known as the Vans Era, the shoe was identifiable by its padded collar, “Off the Wall” logo, and customizable color schemes.
Thanks to the success of the skate trainer – and the Old Skool, Slip-On and SK8-Hi silhouettes, all introduced between 1977 and 1978 – Vans was able to successfully end the decade with more than 70 stores to its name. From there, the brothers began selling their shoes worldwide through stockists and retailers. Not bad for 14 years of hard work, right?
What are the best Vans shoes you can buy?
There are many Vans readily available on the market, from the Vans sneakers you are no doubt familiar with (e.g. Authentics, Old Skools, Eras, etc.) to recently introduced silhouettes such as the Vans Slip-On TRK and the Vans Rowan Pro. Check out our top 12 picks below.