To these old soles…

all whites — on the Williamsburg Bridge | Brooklyn, NY

I know, I know, another shot of my shoes. But today’s a bit more special for these guys. Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Van Doren Rubber Co., the small Southern California company that started out by making a better deck shoe. Now known as Vans, those shoes have become a cornerstone of streetwear fashion; and the company continues to pave the way for skateboarders, surfers, snowboarders, artists, musicians, designers, and all those who seek to make their mark.

I have a special connection with Vans. They’re probably my all-time favorite brand, and during my senior year of high school I was lucky enough to land a job as a Sales Associate at my hometown store. It was my first official job and I absolutely loved it, not only for the perks (man, do I miss that employee discount!), but because of the people and the culture. Vans is all about living authentically, being true to yourself, and just going for it, whatever “it” may be. That mentality is infectious, and the community that arises out of it is full of optimism, encouragement, and all around good vibes.

Now as a 20-something young professional trying to find his way, its funny to think that at 18 I had achieved a goal like landing my “dream” job. At that time it was my dream to sell Vans shoes, and I often miss it. I actually go back and visit my store every time I’m back home in the Valley, and what’s amazing is that there’s often someone still there that I used to work with and we catch up. That store was a home away from home, and everyone I met there became extended family. And that, to me, is worth celebrating.

Happy 50th Vans! Here’s to 50 more ass-kicking years!


This photo is part of a year-long Photo-a-Day project, number 76 / 366. If you like what you see, follow along on Instagram or Tumblr for daily photos, or check back here on Medium for monthly recaps of the project.

And if that’s not enough, there’s even more at noahsperber.com!