VANS FOUNDER PAUL VAN DOREN
TO PUBLISH MEMOIR
“Paul is a true visionary in the world of athletic shoes. He saw very early on before anyone else that the youth culture of this world was beginning to turn away from traditional sports like football and baseball towards more solo sports like skateboarding, surfing BMX and snowboarding. He saw it and embraced it before [anyone else]… He won the race wearing the shoes he invented.”
—Stacy Peralta, Renowned skateboarder and surfer, filmmaker, entrepreneur
“Paul is an inspiration. He’s proof of the American dream. A mentor and fearless leader, and last but not least, the father we all love and respect.”
—Tony Alva, Skateboarding legend, entrepreneur, musician
“Paul Van Doren: The #1 supporter of Skateboard Footwear since 1966.
The American Dream personified. The Original.”
—Geoff Rowley, Professional skateboarder, Vans Signature Footwear
Athlete since 1999, 2000 Thrasher Skater of the Year, entrepreneur
For over fifty years, Vans shoes have been synonymous with cool. Now in Authentic (Vertel / April 27, 2021/ Hardcover / ISBN: 978-1641120241/ $29.99), a refreshingly candid business memoir, meet Paul Van Doren, the charismatic founder of Vans—the shoe company beloved by skateboarders, creatives, and fans everywhere for its laid-back, colorful SoCal vibe, and famous for its people-oriented company culture.
In Authentic, he shares his unlikely journey from high-school dropout to sneaker-industry legend. A blue-collar kid with no higher education and zero retail experience, Van Doren started out as a 16-year-old “service boy” at a local rubber factory. Over the next few decades, he leveraged a knack for numbers, a genius for efficiency, and the know-how to make a great canvas tennis shoe into an all-American success story. What began as a family shoe business has today evolved into a globally recognized brand with annual revenue of more than four billion dollars yet maintains its core belief that it isn’t just a shoe and apparel company but a people company that makes shoes and apparel.
Van Doren is not just an entrepreneur, he’s an innovator. In 1966, when the first Vans store opened, there were no stand-alone retail stores just for sneakers. Paul’s bold experiments in product design, distribution, and marketing, aided by legions of fans—skateboarders, surfers, even Sean Penn wearing Vans’ famous checkerboard slip-on shoe in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High—made Vans a household name. But there was also back-breaking work, a shocking bankruptcy, family turmoil, and a profound shift in how customers think about athletic shoes.
Authentic details Van Doren’s personal life, but also hard-won business lessons learned over six turbulent decades in the shoe trade: the importance of deep-rooted values, of improvisation, of vision (and revision), and above all, of valuing people over profits. Bracingly forthright and totally entertaining, Authentic is a business memoir by an American original.
Paul Van Doren: is the founder of Vans, the world’s most groundbreaking shoe brand. He led the company from its inception in 1965 until 1988. Two of his children are still leaders at Vans. Now entering his ninth decade, he continues as a valued brand ambassador and the enduring inspiration for the company’s unique culture.
Vertel Publishing: Founded in 2018 by Richard and Jack Joseph, Vertel is an independent publisher of personality driven non-fiction. Vertel’s growing list of successfully titles includes 2020’s, This Is Not A Fashion Story by Danielle Bernstein, a New York Times Best-Seller that also appeared on The Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestsellers lists.
The books are now available to order via https://thebookauthentic.com (taxes and shipping fee may vary).