Vans “Off the Wall”

December 1, 2009  |  Recommended


In case it isn’t obvious, the group here at We Design & Conquer has a long history with action sports, all stemming from our love of skateboarding. While at the bookstore recently, we were able to dive into a book which gets pretty close to summing up what we’re about.

As a product of the 80′s, the day you picked up your custom ordered Vans from the shop was one of the best days ever. I don’t know how many pair of Vans shoes I’ve had in my lifetime, I know it’s a lot. Reading this book appealed to me on many different fronts.


There was the obvious association with my childhood and the different Vans I owned but that was only the tip of the iceberg. The book was essentially a history of Vans shoes, starting out with Paul Van Doren (hence the name Vans) shoes being built to order and growing into the massive brand that it is today.

Covers are usually the first thing to catch anyone’s eye, hence the name Cover. The Vans book cover did exactly that and then some. The whole feeling of it is very “Vans” covered in a canvas checkerboard pattern with the customary vans patch, it’s very hard to miss.

The inside doesn’t disappoint. Van Doren the entrepreneur was (and is) impressive. From 12 shoes ordered & delivered on his first day to the 80′s where he was scouting, building out, hiring & opening a shop a weekly, it was amazing to read how smartly & effectively he made Vans what it is today. All this while he and a handful of other pioneers were essentially creating the action sports industry.

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There is also numerous features on the people who helped catapult Vans to the position today. Skating legends like Tony Alva, Steve Caballero, Chris Miller and Geoff Rowley. Artists like Wes Humpston, the book’s just good and definitely worth checking out.

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This photo looks strangely familiar…

There’s a cool feature of the book over on the Vans Site

Check out Vans: Off the Wall on Amazon


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