Where Are Vans Made? (Ultimate Guide Revealed)

where are vans made

Vans sneakers are instantly recognizable worldwide, serving as a distinct fashion statement regardless of their pattern or color. Originating from a modest setup in Anaheim, CA, Vans has become a globally recognized streetwear brand and fashion icon. The question of where are Vans made today invites a deeper exploration into the brand’s history and evolution.

Where Are Vans Made – The Beginning

where are vans made

On March 16, 1966, Paul Van Doren and his brother Jim partnered up with their friends Serge Delia and Gordon Lee to start their business in Anaheim, CA. They called it the Van Doren Rubber Company.

The building was a small warehouse with a storefront. Van Doren built a shoe factory in the back with second-hand machinery. In the morning, they would take people’s orders and manufacture the shoes. The customers would come back in the afternoon for pick up.

Custom From the Start

Legend has it that a customer came in on the first day and didn’t like the color selection. So, Van Doren told her to bring him the fabric she wanted for her shoes, and for an extra $0.50, he would make her shoes.

It would be the first in a proud history of custom shoes made by Vans. It’s also an insight into how Van Doren viewed business and branding. The outside-the-box thinking is what would lead to Vans’ future unique success.

Vans Manufacturing Evolution: The Shift to China and Beyond

Van Doren held out from moving manufacturing throughout the ’80s and well into the ’90s. But, as market pressures increased and Vans made the leap to a publicly-traded company, the bulk of manufacturing shifted from California to China in 1993.

It is no coincidence that this followed Vans’ first public offering in 1991, with an IPO of $14/share. However, Vans maintained manufacturing output in California. Some Vans shoes would continue to be manufactured in the US over the next few years.

1993 was also the year that saw Vans’ first foray into snowboarding, with a snowboarding boot for the ‘93-’94 season. This addition shows a crucial step in Vans’ evolution toward a total lifestyle brand.

Vans Takes the Stage

1996 was a pivotal year for Vans. It is in this year that Vans began its iconic sponsorship of the Warped Tour. More than anything else, this partnership moves Vans from a footwear company to a lifestyle brand.

In that same spirit, Vans sponsors the first-ever Triple Crown of Skateboarding event. By the end of the decade, Vans is the sponsor of the Triple Crown Games, which include skateboarding, BMX, surfing, Wakeboarding, and other extreme sports.

1996 is also when Vans produces its first collaboration project with lifestyle brand Supreme. They remake the iconic deck shoe as the Old Skool, manufactured in California, USA.

When the new millennium hits, Vans has transformed from a skater shoe company to a major lifestyle brand and cultural force in one decade. In this era, as Vans solidifies its global appeal, its manufacturing moves entirely out of the US and into China and Vietnam.

Read Also: Do Vans Run Big or Small?

Where Are Vans Made Today?

Today, Vans products are manufactured worldwide, from Vietnam to Bulgaria, Turkey to Cambodia, from Serbia to the US. It was in just the past couple of years that Vans built its brand new global headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA, keeping the heart of the company in California.

where are vans made

And although Vans now has shoe sales of around 80 million pairs per year, the construction and materials have remained almost unchanged from the original designs made by Van Doren.

Final Thought

Vans’ footwear reflects a blend of global creativity and craftsmanship, originating from California to the factories of China and Vietnam. Each pair embodies a mix of cultures, showcasing the brand’s authentic spirit. Whether made in America or abroad, Vans shoes embody the exploration and skateboarding culture, connecting wearers worldwide through self-expression. Embrace the global journey of Vans, where the “Made Where?” narrative intertwines with the passion of its community.