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Vans co-founder Paul Van Doren dies aged 90

By Huw Hughes

10 May 2021


Image: Vans

Paul Van Doren, the US entrepreneur who co-founded footwear and apparel brand Vans, has died at the age of 90.

The California-based brand, which shot to popularity thanks to the SoCal skate community, announced the news on Instagram but did not give a cause of death.

“It is with a heavy heart that Vans announces the passing of our co-founder, Paul Van Doren. Paul was not just an entrepreneur; he was an innovator,” the company said.

“The Van Doren Rubber Company was the culmination of a lifetime of experimentation and hard work in the shoe industry. Paul’s bold experiments in product design, distribution and marketing, along with his knack for numbers and efficiency turned a family shoe business into a globally recognized brand.

“We send our love and strength to the Van Doren family and the countless Vans Family members who have brought Paul’s legacy to life. Thank you for everything, Paul. You will be sorely missed.”

Originally from Boston, Van Doren dropped out of school and moved to Southern California where he founded the Van Doren Rubber Company in 1966 in Anaheim, California, along with his brother James, who died in 2011, and business partners Gordon Lee and Serge Delia.

The company started its days with a factory and an Anaheim store, before growing in popularity thanks to its cult following of skaters and surfers.

Vans was acquired by fashion giant VF Corporation back in 2004 for 396 million dollars.