Where did the slip-on idea come from?
The company my dad worked for before made a slip on; he interpreted into our own style, number #48. It was actually a slip on with a non-skid sole for boating. Our 40th anniversary is coming up next year and we are going to be bringing back style #45 which has a blue top and a blue sole designed for gripping.
The checkerboard slip-on is probably the most recognised of all the Vans styles how did they come about?
In the late seventies I was now out of high school and I noticed kids were taking the side profile off the shoe, where the white rubber was, and colouring it in checkerboard. So the first thing we did was start making rubber with the checks on it and eventually we made some canvas. Right at the same we had a PR lady named Betty Mitchell and Universal Studio’s asked Betty for some shoes. So she sent a whole lot of checkerboard shoes for the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, we had no idea.
They liked them so much they ended up on the album cover and then Sean Penn, or Jeff Spicoli in the movie, was hitting him self over the head with the shoes in the movie. It was magic because we sold millions of checkerboards. My Dad didn’t really want to sell shoes outside of California and now he had no choice as people everywhere wanted our shoes!
Check out our next feature: DEATH OF THE INDEPENDENT SNEAKER STORE