Wow! 50 years is a long time. On March 16, 1966, Paul and James Van Doren opened a small shop in sunny California called The Van Doren Rubber Company. Back then, skateboarding was in its infancy. It wasn’t the multi-billion dollar industry it is today, but rather a strange offspring of surfing, a thing surfers did when there weren’t any waves around to ride. It certainly wasn’t very profitable. In retrospect, one can safely assume that the Van Dorens anticipated the career skateboarding would undergo. At any rate, skateboarding had one of the most dazzling careers in all of sport history, ascending from rags to riches as they say, and Vans helped spread the wooden plank on four wheels around the world. Consider this: skate shoe technology wasn’t really invented yet – no fancy foam cushioning, no heel protections – and the Van Dorens had to start pretty much from scratch.
Anyway, fifty years have elapsed since then, and Vans continues to hold the crown of authentic skateboarding footwear with a tight grip. Admittedly, they’re not only making shoes for skateboarding now, but Vans’ heart still belongs to it. Vans without skateboarding is like Michael without Jordans. And it seems like Vans is well aware of that. Pushing the boundaries of what skateboarding shoes can do, Vans has continuously reinvented their classic models as well as added some new ones. And while some stick around longer than others, it’s the classic Vans shoes that everybody associates with Van Doren’s company. But Vans is not only making shoes. They also support skateboarding. In more recent developments, Vans has released a face-melting full length skateboarding video, Propeller, which featured the whole Vans team ripping every spot they encounter apart. If anything, it was a remarkable demonstration that despite its age, Vans is capable to push young skateboarders from around the world to go beyond their limits.
Additionally, and this is what all this fuzz is about, Vans has initiated their Pro Classic line which includes classic models like the Era and the Old School, redesigned to fit modern skateboarding, several of which are released in a celebration of Vans’ 50th anniversary today. Every Pro model features ULTRACUSH HD sole technology which provides impact cushioning and DURACAP rubber reinforcement for increased durability. Let’s do the roll call:
Authentic Pro ’66 and ‘74
Probably the most popular of Vans models (except maybe the Sk8-Hi), the Authentic Pro is the updated version of – you guessed it – the Authentic. Vans releases straight up two limited editions, one celebrating the legendary Z-Boys (’74), the other commemorating surfer legend Duke Kahanamoku (’66), featuring his favorite Hawaiian shirt’s pattern.
Era Pro ‘76
Another classic style is the Era (’76), itself a more protective version of the Authentic. The Pro version is even more pillow-like, giving you board feel and comfort at the same time. The 50th anniversary colorway is an homage to Stacy Peralta, a skateboarding pioneer and co-founder of Powell Peralta. He’s the guy who designed the era, go figure.
Slip-on Pro ‘82
A longtime favorite of Emo kids and mall rats, the Slip-on has made a comeback recently. I guess people really enjoy not having to tie shoe laces. Anyway, there’s only one original colorway to the Slip-on (’82), and that’s checkerboard. So this one has a checkerboard print. Get this one and listen to Nirvana while skating home on your penny board.
Well, that’s about it for today. But Vans wouldn’t be Vans if they hadn’t more in the pipeline. Later this year, there’ll be a second massive drop of 50th anniversary models, including Ski-His, more Eras, Chukkas and Full Cabs. As always, we’ll keep you posted.
Now get out there and shred your Vans. Then come back and get new ones.
Wash, rinse, repeat.