The Culture of Vans

Wednesday 20th July, 2016

A History of Vans

Vans is such a huge part of our culture, so much more than just skate shoes. From surf to music, to art and extreme sports, Vans has made its mark in Australia and around the world, and truly owning their ‘Off the Wall’ tag line. So how has Vans made it from a humble boutique brand from Anaheim into global trendsetter?

Vans was created for skaters, and skaters are the kind of people who push everything to extremes. They are on the cutting edge of what’s possible, and probably what’s even advisable. And that’s were Vans met them. Vans followed the lead of skaters, and pioneered a shoe that pushed what was possible, and combined style and features that have never been thought of before.

Vans were born in the US, just like skater culture itself. So for a long time, Aussies were behind the 8-ball, always trying to play catch up, kind of like the little brother who wanted to look cool and run with the big kids. But that all changed as we started to find our own voice and style, and pioneer our own tricks and moves.

"Vans was created for skaters, and skaters are the kind of people who push everything to extremes"

Skate culture exploded during the 80s and 90s and Vans was right there setting the standard. While so many brands selling skate threads became available, Vans became the iconic, go-to brand that all the others were compared to. The Classic Slip-Ons have become an essential part of skate culture and style, moving seamlessly from the skate park to the big screen and beyond.

What the skater culture started, Vans took on and expanded into an extended family of snowboarding, surfing, BMX athletes, artists, musicians, designers and photographers. As skaters started growingtheir music tastes from punk rock and death metal to include hip-hop and R&B, and Vans added options to their style to follow-suit. Vans has sponsored the Warped Tour since 1995, the longest running concert series in America.The Warped Tour is an eclectic mix of alternative styles, and although it has stayed true to its punk rock roots, has welcomed styles from hip-hop to metal, keeping in step with fans.

Vans Deck Shoes were inspired by surfing, and have become a huge force in surf culture. Vans were are driving force in the Vans Triple Crown Series, the world’s leading action sports event, covering skateboarding, BMX, surfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, freestyle motocross and supercross.

"They've been there, moving and moulding with us, and keeping on pushing us to break new boundaries"

The creativity and innovation that makes Vans so iconic took it from a great performing shoe, to trendsetter in youth fashion and artistic expression we know today. Vans Customs allow would be fashion designers to create their own Classic Slip-ons, utilising hundreds of different colour and pattern combinations. They’ve also created a new concept in skate street contests with the Vans Downtown Showdown. Skateboard companies are invited to submit designs for obstacles that were then sessioned in a Brooklyn city block setting for skaters to compete.

So from street to store, skating to surfing, punk to hip-hop, Vans has been there, moving and moulding with us, and keeping on pushing us to break new boundaries and think beyond what we think is possible to find a new frontier and define who we are and where we’re going.

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