Vans is a Southern California-based manufacturer of sneakers, skateboarding shoes and other shoe types catering primarily to the skateboarder/surfer youth market.
Originally known as Van Doren Rubber Company, Vans was founded on March 16, 1966 by Paul Van Doren, Jim Van Doren (Brother), Serge D'Elia (Investor based in Japan), and Gordy Lee on 704E Broadway in Los Angeles, CA.
At first, Vans shoes were produced in the store, decades later American production of Vans shoes ended in July 1995. Vans began taking custom orders when people wanted different color schemes on their shoes.
In the beginning, Vans designed their shoes with a diamond tread. Later on, the middle part of each shoe cracked and fell apart during heavy use, prompting Vans to add vertical lines in the tread to increase strength, friction and grip. The tread was officially named the "waffle-sole."
Today, Vans works heavily in the surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, urban and punk markets. The brand has also become popular over the last two years after re-introducing their much-loved slip-on. They have also marketed additional items such as clothing and skateboarding accessories.