James Van Doren passed away Oct.12th at his home in Fullerton after a long illness, He was 72.
The Los Angeles Times wrote a really cool article about one of the men, behind quite possibly, the most influential shoe brand of our time.
“He was a very driven man, a hard worker, very giving, very funny,” his son James said. “He could control a room with his stories.”
Spicoli wore ’em in “Fast times at Ridgemont High” and endless others including myself followed suit with the Classic checkered pair.
Here is a portion of the story from the L.A. Times:
James Van Doren and his older brother Paul had only sample sneakers to offer when they opened their first store, in Anaheim, in 1966. They took a dozen orders in the morning and delivered custom canvas deck shoes, made in their adjacent factory, in the afternoon.
Operating as the Van Doren Rubber Co., the brothers and two other co-founders planned to succeed by cutting out the middleman and selling their distinctive thick rubber-soled shoes directly to the public.
By the early 1970s, the company owed some of its success to Southern California’s burgeoning skateboard culture. The shoes were especially valued for the sticky rubber soles that helped skaters grip their boards — an innovation devised by Van Doren.
From the start, the casual shoes were known by a single name: Vans.
Read more of the tribute HERE