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“Off The Wall” The Origins of VANS Signature Slogan

By Andres Pachon

A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine


Vans is arguably, the first and most iconic skateboarding brand ever to be created, since 1966, Vans has revolutionized the skateboarding market right from the get-go, being one of the favorite shoes chosen by skaters in California since the birth of their first model, the “#44” now known as “The Authentic” this is the first sneaker that due to its design, provided both comfort, support and lightness! features that were not considered at the time as beneficial for the practice of extreme sports until VANS came along to show that they could have a tremendous impact on the way the disciplines were performed.

By 1976 The Vans #95, now known as the Era, is designed by two of the most iconic skaters at the time, Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta, the kick then becomes the preferred shoe for a whole new generation of skateboarders who still use it to this date and the “OFF THE WALL” signature logo it’s born!

Vans_Off_ the_wall
Photo: Tamas Pap (Unsplash)


The Old Skool debuts with the now famous Vans Sidestripe. Paul Van Doren came up with the idea just by random sketching, little knowing that he was going to create the unmistakable hallmark of the Vans brand. One of the most incredible facts is that these shoes and their designs are still used to this date, something that not many companies are able to achieve! By the late 70s, VANS already sported over 60 stores all over California, and retailers all over the USA and overseas, taking skateboarding to a whole new level for people all over the world.

This is an expression used when something incredibly surprising or unusual happens, which could describe the amazing stunts performed by the skateboarders that created a revolution of how the streets were transited by the people, the obstacles that no one ever even considered to jump or slide from, became the skater’s playground. This was one of the first slogans from vans that still lives to this date.

There are others that state that the expression was born from the surfers, who call large waves “walls” that in some occasions break in a mesmerizing display of the power of the sea, sending the surfer on a different direction “off the wall” and some even claim that the informal expression started to be used to denominate a strange bounce of the ball in sports like squash, but this is a long shot, one thing is for sure, this expression is currently linked to Vans as the “just do it” is linked to Nike.






The True Intention

Steve Van Doren himself (Founder of Vans) discusses this particular matter with the media at some point stating that the reason he chose the expression as being one of the landmarks of the brand is that back in the ’70s, the expression was used by skaters that rode in empty pools! So is basically a mixture between the surf and skateboarding community, the phrase its a representation of the culture at the time, but as their products, and original designs it somehow stayed timeless! The “OFF THE WALL” logo has stuck to the company ever since.


Vans OTW Signature Collection

The brand wanted to make an emphasis on the slogan and what it meant, they decided to put out a whole collection by creating “OTW” the collection that features not only shoes but also men’s and women apparel which have an explosive mix of the latest trends in all of the good SHIT® related to the urban culture, art, music, design, and fashion are some of the factors taken into account to create amazing and off the wall products that capture the vibes of the extreme street culture related to skateboarding, surf and more.

Ultracrush HD and other new features introduced in this particular collection which is incredibly light and provides more durability and support on hard falls.

They attempt to capture a whole new generation with fresh materials and designs that appeal to not only skaters or surfers but also become statement pieces in streetwear and urban fashion.

Photo: Harry Hundal (Unsplash)


VANS Green Commitment

Apart from many of the technologies, features, events, and revolutionary actions vans has had in the skateboarding and urban community, they also comply with the highest standards when it comes to the commitment they have with their workers and the environment!

The company recognizes that the protection of the planet and its resources need to be taken care of for future generations to enjoy the beauty of disciplines such as skateboarding, so they focused on developing a sustainability program that reduces the environmental footprint of their operations and products.




Aksel goes PRO



Vans stores all over the world comply with the most strict environmental measures, they create waste, use water, and contribute to climate change by using energy from fossil fuels and programs such as “TRASHQUATCH” that gathers skaters and surfers every year in an effort to clean up beaches and streets of the waste left by visitors of the places or the “CUSTOM CULTURE” that encourages shoppers all over the world to boost their creativity by creating items and even art by reusing the boxes in which the shoes are shipped and packaged for retail stores locally and worldwide, are just a few of the actions vans take to reduce the impact on planet earth and promote creativity among their buyers.

This is how vans have been promoting the “off the wall” culture for over 4 decades, pushing their fans (because they have them) to keep on doing extraordinary SHIT® in all of the fields related tot he urban culture, VANS is one of those brands that have created a look and a vibe that has a timeless feel, influencing pop, street, and mainstream culture creating generations of buyers that even collect their items and seek out for hidden vans gems all over the world.

There you have it my dudes and dudettes, do you have a favorite VANS product? What do you think is one of the landmarks and the biggest influence the brand has had over the years? We would love to hear it from you!


Read also: Skatewear: Skateboarding Meets Fashion

Read also: Top 5 Skateboarding Brands


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