Vans co-founder Paul Van Doren dies at age 90 — Laylan Connelly at the Los Angeles Daily News: Paul Van Doren and his brother and partners created a brand synonymous with Southern California skate and surf culture out of an Anaheim storefront more than 50 years ago.
“Vans were made with a thick, grippy, waffle-pattern rubber bottom and tough canvas that could withstand the skaters’ kickflips and tricks that would quickly wear down other shoes. And, when a skater’s front-foot shoe wore down from rubbing on the grip tape of the skateboard, Vans would sell them just one shoe as a replacement….
“Kids started drawing checkerboard designs on their rubber soles and the company took note and created its own checkerboard slip-on….
“Vans was hitting its stride when a young actor, Sean Penn, told producers he needed to wear the shoes in their Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ movie. The movie’s soundtrack would feature Vans shoes on its album cover, propelling the brand into the mainstream.”