Founded in 1966 by Paul van Doren, Vans was originally know as the Van Doren Rubber Company. Their first day of business was 15 March 1966, when their shoe shop opened in Anaheim, California. They offered 3 styles of shoe on their first day but had only made display shoes - the racks on the walls were stacked with boxes to make the shop look better. Twelve customers came into the Vans shop that morning and picked out the style and colour of the shoes they wanted - but there were none in stock.
Paul and Gordy asked their customers to come back in the afternoon and that lunchtime rushed back to the factory to make them! When the customers came back that afternoon to pick up their shoes the Vans boys didn't have any change for their shopping. They gave them the shoes and asked them to come back the next day to pay - all 12 customers turned up to pay. Since then, the company has grown from a small canvas shoe maker in southern California into a global brand which is now synonymous with relaxed, understated style and functionality.