Iconic sneaker brand set to open store in Huntsville

Vans are synonymous with skateboarding, street style and Spicoli. The Anaheim, Calif., founded brand, known for their iconic shoes, plans to open a store in Huntsville this year, recently signing a lease at Bridge Street Towne Centre, the retail, dining and entertainment development.

A late summer opening has been targeted for the Vans Store, according to a Bridge Street rep. The store will be in a 2,716-square-foot space next to lululemon, the yoga-pants juggernaut.

Vans’ classic shoes include the checkerboard slip-ons magnificent stoner Jeff Spicoli wore in classic 1982 comedy film ”Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Others include the “Old Skool,” “Sk8-Hi” and “Authentic.”

Many Vans shoes featured the “sidestripe,” originally called the “jazz stripe,” logo on the sides. In addition to their classic style, Vans are known for their affordability and durability.

Founded in 1966 by Paul Van Doren, the company is also known for their clothing and accessories. The company really started taking off in the early ‘70s as skateboarding grew exponentially during that time. There’s an excellent vans.com%2Fen-us%2Fcompany%2Fabout%232017″>timeline of Vans’ history on the company’s website.

Bridge Street opened in 2007. The outdoor-oriented development is home to a wide array of tenants including Apple Store, H&M, Connors Steak & Seafood, Cinemark movie theater and Westin Hotel. Vans previously opened a store in the Birmingham market, located at Hoover mall Riverchase Galleria.

Miles Whitemore

Huntsville skateboarder, photographer and event promoter Miles Whitmore. He’s wearing a pair of of Vans x Wacko Maria shoes. (Courtesy Toby Bell)

Huntsville skateboarder, photographer and event promoter Miles Whitmore, now 27, has been wearing Vans sneakers since he was 6-years-old. He says Huntsville getting a Vans Store is a big deal for Huntsville’s skateboarding community — already excited about a new skate park on the way — and local sneaker culture.

“Hopefully they’ll carry some of the exclusive colorways that you wouldn’t find at your bigger retail stores,” says Whitmore, for whom designing a signature Vans shoe has been a longtime dream. “Maybe stuff that’s just exclusive to Vans shops. Or when they collaborate with certain artists hopefully we’ll get some of those collaborations as well. But all in all, it’s huge.”

In addition to being at the center of skateboarding culture for a half-century, Vans have become increasingly a part of rap culture. Artists like Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and Tyler the Creator have prominently sported Vans. Whitmore says, “Skateboarding has really influenced my taste in music.”

Vans is also known for sponsoring extreme sports teams and for decades was behind the Warped Tour traveling music festival that featured then-ascendant stars like Green Day, Sublime, Paramore, No Doubt, My Chemical Romance and even Eminem and Katy Perry.

Whitmore, who’s latest event as promoter is an electronic music show 10 p.m. tonight at downtown tiki-themed bar/restaurant Phat Sammy’s, says a Vans Store in Huntsville is also “really huge for the [local] music community. Because Vans does like to collaborate within the music scene and sponsor events. There are so many more aspects than like, ‘Oh, we’re getting a brick-and-mortar Vans Store.’ It means much more than that.”


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