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  • Anne Heaney, Director

How Vans went from Skater Brand to Global Icon


Vans has been making California skate culture a global phenomenon since the brand's inception and is continuing to thrive after more than 50 years in business.


Vans' American sales rose 34% in the most recent quarter and in the latest "Taking Stock with Teens" survey, it reports that Vans saw the fastest growth in popularity since the survey started in 2000.


Vans is now the No. 2 favourite brand overall for footwear among teens, second only to Nike. It now holds a 19% share for favourite footwear among all teens which is the closest another brand has gotten to Nike in years.


The company has also been keeping its inventory channels clean and selling products at full price, while also refreshing styles to make its brands more popular among millennials and compete with Nike and Adidas.


Part of why the brand has found success as of late is that it is able to capitalise on two major trends happening right now: athleisure and a preference for vintage and retro styles.


Before these trends hit, any shoe with Vans' signature side strip had poor sales. Now, it’s the best-selling category of Vans shoes, which includes the super popular Old Skool model. Vans famous checkerboard models, which the company has incorporated as an iconic style, are also popular.


People are wearing athletic apparel now for all kinds of occasions – work, play, and school – without any intention of using them for athletic purposes. There’s a lengthy heritage around California lifestyle here. Most people who buy Vans don’t have a clue about how to skateboard.


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