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Right on the spot Reflecting on what exactly made Vans hit the right spot in terms of shoe design, skate pioneer Stacy Peralta said: “I don’t like bulky shoes – I like easy-fitting, lightweight shoes that breathe and that have a flexible sole that grips well.” So what is to Stacy Peralta the iconic skate shoe? “Basically, the original Vans deck shoe is the blueprint for the perfect skate shoe. It’s as simple a design as the thumb tack and still hasn’t been improved upon.” What also made Vans a number one choice for skateboarders was their commitment to the scene. “Vans was the first company to recognize us as skateboarders and treat us seriously,” Peralta said. “They started providing us with shoes many years before any other companies would even look at us. When all the other companies looked at us as vandals and losers. When no one wanted anything to do with us because they felt it would tarnish their image. Vans was so ahead of their curve they were almost behind.” And since the Van Dorens had always believed in taking out the middleman, Vans continued to be available only at Vans stores – skyrocketing in growth – while skate and surf shops continued to sell other (less successful) brands of shoes. 35