Brand Focus – Vans

Californian lifestyle brand Vans revealed their latest collection of classic silhouettes as the winter collection arrived at Mainline Menswear this month. Some of their most popular styles including the Kress, Milton, and Ferris feature in the range, which also includes designs new to the Mainline Menswear collection such as the Era 59 and the Atwood.

Vans have proved to be one of the most popular footwear makers worldwide in both men and women’s wear thanks to an unwavering appeal to young people, and they have maintained a cutting-edge reputation through iconic sponsorship deals in skateboarding, BMX riding, surfing and other extreme action sports.

Vans skateboard

For a brand which is often perceived to be very young, you’d be surprised how rich their shoe-making heritage is. Their unique story began in 1966 when brothers Paul and James Van Doren were amongst a four-man group of friends which opened a store called The Van Doren Rubber Company. At the time they were unique because they manufactured their shoes and sold them directly to the public, on their first day of trading it is said customers came in to order shoes and had to come by and collect them later whilst they rushed to go and make them.

Stakeboarders became a part of the brand’s identity right from the off as their fondness of the comfy shoe with a sticky sole was seen as perfect for the sport and soon enough you would be able to spot the shoes all over California. It was during this early era that they developed the iconic #95 shoe- now known as the Era. Despite such modest beginnings it took them barely another ten years to accumulate 70 stores and to build on such rapid growth they targeted mainstream sports such as basketball and baseball in order to compete with the shoe industry’s biggest players. It was also during this period- in the 1980’s- that they began making designs purely for fashion, and their first attempt with the slip-on was to be a revelation, so much so it is still selling well today. However, their broadened collection was a big strain on their resources and they paid the price for trying to develop too quickly, too soon, because dwindling sales eventually led to bankruptcy in 1983.

Vans Collage

By 1988 they had their debts cleared and were bought out by an investment bank, and it is this financial backing which allowed them to expand internationally to the extent they have done today. This investment also allowed them to begin lucrative sponsorship deals with action sports events such as the Vans Triple Crown Series which has become known as a key event in sports like surfing, wake-boarding, skateboarding, motor cross and many more.

The company’s youthful and innovative mindset has been demonstrated non-better than with the 2004 Vans customs launch which allowed people to create their own classic slip-on by choosing their own different colours and patterns. The success of this seems to have inspired the brand, who have since forged a number of successful collaborative partnerships and limited edition packs.

In 2006 they celebrated 40 years at the heart of youth culture and they continue to be a big presence in the urban footwear market by sticking to their classic styles and focussing their creativity on colours and prints. This ethos is what makes them unique and helps maintain a loyal fan base, it is also part of the reason that Vans have the most recognizable plimsoll on the market today with the added virtue that they blend well with many different styles.

Vans Off the Wall Lifestyle

Here is a closer look at the styles Vans offer this season:

Era

As we’ve already touched on in this blog post, the Era is one of Vans’ oldest designs, however this shoe comes with the paradoxical tag of being their oldest, newest design, having been released initially in the 70’s yet brought back to life this autumn in a mix of futuristic prints. The Era is available in the eye-catching Heringbone, Cosmic and Camo prints this season and these collectors editions are a favourite for anyone with add a bit of adventure to their wardrobe.

Vans New Era

Authentic  

Its called the authentic for a reason and that’s because it’s a true classic. It comes in plain black and white colourways which are versatile and look great in any outfit.

Ferris

You could say the Ferris is the best option for winter in the range as it ditches the traditional canvas of Vans footwear in favour of a much tougher and weather-resistant leather. The Ferris adopts the same waffle sole with white trim as a classic Vans trainer and adopts the same look, though the darker hues make this a better fit for any smarter outfits and make this have all the credentials of an all-year-round casual shoe.

Atwood

This is a heritage inspired low-top with a distinctive look compared to others in the Vans portfolio. It features a double-stitched canvas upper with a comfortable and durable upper.

See the full collection from Vans at Mainline Menswear here.

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