The Van Doren Rubber Company, better known as “Vans”, has been, since 1966, a Southern California based manufacturer of sneakers, skate shoes and other shoe types catering primarily to the active youth market. They market heavily in the surfing and skateboarding areas. In more recent years, Vans has marketed additional items such as clothing and skateboarding accessories.
In the 1980s, Vans lost much of its core customer base when the company started producing baseball and football shoes. The corporation was forced into bankruptcy in 1984. Four years after emerging from bankruptcy protection, investment bankers McCown DeLeeuw Company bought Vans and went public in 1991.
Since approximately 2001 Vans has opened retail stores containing large indoor skate parks at The Block at Orange, Ontario Mills, the Moorestown Mall, the Plaza at King of Prussia, Carnaby Street in London, and other locations. There is also a retail only store at the Mall of America. There are also many outlet stores at outlet centres across the United States.
In 2004 the company was acquired by VF Corporation, manufacturers of Lee and Wrangler Jeans for $396 million. Vans also sponsors the Vans Warped Tour, a punk/ska music and extreme sports festival since 1995.