In 1966 brothers Paul Van Doren and James Van Doren and Gordon C. Lee opened the first Vans store under the name The Van Doren Rubber Company in California. The store was unique in that it manufactured shoes on premises and sold them directly to the public. In the early 1970’s Vans began to gain traction within the skateboarding community due to the shoes rugged look and sticky sole. With the backing of skaters, Vans focused on making  footwear purpose built for the sport.