From Ridgemont High to ‘Damn, Daniel,’ Vans Is Still Kicking It at 50

The staying power of SoCal's classic skater shoe

One afternoon, a sun-tanned 21-year-old actor named Sean Penn sauntered into the Vans store in Santa Monica, Calif., in search of a pair of comfortable shoes. Penn, who had recently landed a movie part playing a SoCal stoner dude named Jeff Spicoli, picked out a pair of slip-ons in a checkerboard pattern. Back on the set, Penn liked his new sneaks so much he told director Amy Heckerling he wanted to wear them on camera.

@UpperEastRob robert.klara@adweek.com Robert Klara is a senior editor, brands at Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.