VANS Skate Shoes - MY 1st Pair - 1977 Rodney GCRad1 Wills
I remember this pair of VANS very well. They are size 4.5 and I bought them in 1977. I think I ordered them from Val-Surf as no one was selling VANS in the state of Alabama in 1977. Kids at school laughed at me the first time I wore them to school. They had never seen them before. I did not care if they laughed as I knew they were skate shoes and were from California. I found the Val-Surf advertisement in Skate Boarder magazine. There was no internet back then!!!
I sold VANS at my BMX shop in the 80's along with OAKLEY Frogskins.
Some history on Vans shoes:
Vans shoes was founded by Paul Van Doren with a simple idea; to make shoes and sell them directly to the public instead of using a middleman. Paul moved west to Southern California with his partners, Jim Van Doren, Gordy Lee and Serge D'Elia. The first official day of business was March 15, 1966, when the first Vans shoe store opened in Anaheim, California. They offered three styles of vans shoes on that first day, but had only made display shoes. The racks on the wall were stacked with empty boxes to help make it look like a shoe store.
Twelve customers came into the Vans store that morning and picked out the style and color of shoes they wanted. But they didn't have any shoes in stock so Paul and Gordy asked the customers to come back in the afternoon to pick up their shoes. They rushed back to the factory and made the shoes. When the customers returned in the afternoon to pick up their shoes, they needed change for their purchases. Paul and Gordy hadn't thought of this and didn't have any change available. So, they just gave them the shoes and asked them to come back the next day to pay for them. All 12 customers showed up the following day to pay for their shoes.
The first Vans old skool shoes had a diamond pattern in the sole across the entire bottom of the shoe. Vertical lines were then added later to make it stronger, a design which is now vans proprietary waffle sole. In 1976, skateboarders and skaters began wearing Vans shoes and asked to have different colors combined on them. In march 19, 1976, Vans came out with the first Era in red and blue vans authentic shoe. This shoe was designed by two professional skaters, Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta. That craze spread across the nation when Jeff Spicoli, a California surfer dude in the hit movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", wore a pair of Vans checkerboard slip ons.
The Vans footwear collection now features over 60 styles ranging from classic deck shoes and slip-ons to high performance skateboard shoes, snowboard boots and sandals. They are distributed through over 190 company-owned retail stores and outlets as well as through a nationwide network of independent shoe, sporting goods and apparel stores.
More Reading: www.vans.net.au/wawcs0130206/tn-history.html