GAME CHANGER: 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Vans Era

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Complex Original

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With so many footwear options available to today's skateboarders, it's hard to imagine a time when skaters struggled to find appropriate sneakers. Flashing back to the mid-'70s, there was no such thing as Nike SB or Supra, and the only dunk that mattered to skaters was dropping into a bowl. With the help of his brother James, a gentlemen by the name of Paul Van Doren would revolutionize skate footwear. Using the input of well-known skateboarders, the Vans Era was the first sneaker of its kind.

The Vans Era has since gone onto become an iconic piece of fashion, regularly spotted on celebrities like Kanye West. Its silhouette has been the base for several popular collaborations with brands like Comme des Garcons, Supreme, and Carhartt Work In Progress. A game changer through and through, these are ten things you may not know about the Vans Era.

Riley Jones is a journalism student from Charlottesville, VA. With an unshakable affinity for basketball and all things ’90s, he can be found on Twitter here.

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Original Vans Era Ad

No. 10 - The Vans Era is 37 years old.

Originally released in March 1976, the Era is considered to be the first signature skateboarding shoe, and was the second Vans model to be officially released.Van Doren Rubber Company Reciept

No. 9 - Paul Van Doren started Van Doren Rubber Company 10 years before the Era was created.

Utilizing the knowledge he had amassed at Randolph Rubber, Paul Van Doren left the company, got together with his brother James and a few friends, and opened Van Doren Rubber. The Era’s release would follow ten years later.The Vans Era

No. 8 - The Era came to fruition after the need for a more padded, skate-specific version of the Vans Authentic came about.

The first Vans skate shoe was the Authentic, also known as the deck shoe. With a rugged upper and vulcanized outsole that provided suitable grip on boards, certain skaters felt that it needed some adjustments.Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta

No. 7 - The Era was designed by legendary skateboarders Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta.

Z-Boys members Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta took a liking to the Vans Authentic deck shoe, but felt that it could be more skate-friendly. In turn, they designed the Era, which featured extra padding in the collar, providing enhanced comfort on (and off) boards.Vans Era in Navy and Red

No. 6 - Early on, you could only get the Era in red and navy blue.

The Era wasn’t always available in multiple shades and styles; the initial runs were only manufactured in a two-tone red and navy blue colorway.Vans Off the Wall Logo

No. 5 - The Era kickstarted the “Off the Wall” campaign.

Today, Vans is synonymous with its “Off the Wall” slogan, but it wasn’t until the debut of the Era that the phrase came to life. As skateboarders shredded empty pools, they would trick “off the wall”, which was the perfect tag for the brand’s first signature skate model. The unmistakable red-and-white logo was applied to the heel of the Era, giving birth to a concept which is still in place nearly forty years later.Vans Style #95

No. 4 - It was originally known as “Style #95”.

In the early days of Vans, their sneakers didn’t have model names, but style numbers. The Authentic deck shoe was known as Style #44, and years later the Era followed suit, branded as the Style #95 in 1976.Vans Era Customs

No. 3 - Thanks to Vans Customs, the number of Era styles available is virtually limitless.

The Era is available in a wide range of patterns and colors; everything from checkerboards to stripes to polka dots have been utilized on the Era’s canvas upper. Vans Custom allows for even more creations, ensuring that the nearly four-decade old sneaker is as fresh as ever.Jason Dill "Fucking Awesome" Vans Era

No. 2 - But that doesn’t mean you can get your hands on all of them.

Styles like the Jason Dill-designed F*cking Awesome Eras haven't been confirmed for public release, so you’ll have to enjoy the photos for the time being.Supreme x Vans Era

No. 1 - Although the Era retails at $45, there are rare styles that sell for $200+

The Era's no-frills design has allowed its box price to remain reasonable throughout the years. At the same time, there are several limited runs, collaborations, and rare styles that fetch premium prices. Supreme's "Power, Corruption, and Lies" version of the Era released earlier this year and currently fetches $200+ on eBay.

Riley Jones is a journalism student from Charlottesville, VA. With an unshakable affinity for basketball and all things ’90s, he can be found on Twitter here.

RELATED: Vans Pro Skate Debuts the Rowley Pro for Spring ’13
 The Vans Half Cab