May 08, 2006
An e-mail rumor long circulated on the Internet suggests that the maker of Vans skateboarding shoes is anti-Jewish because some of their shoes come with a pattern resembling a Star of David on a portion of their outsole (bottom). Some of the more conspiracy-minded e-mails suggest that this pattern was created by the company to put Jews down ("step on Jews") or that the company was "founded by neo-Nazis."
ADL has concluded that there is no truth to any of these allegations.
While ADL understands that the use of the Star of David pattern in this context may be offensive to some, there is no factual basis to believe that the maker of Vans shoes incorporated the six-pointed star design in an attempt to insult Jews. Over the years the company has sought to reassure inquirers that the trademarked pattern is just that -- a pattern -- with no intended anti-Jewish message.
After contacting the company in the 1990s when the rumor began spreading, ADL was reassured by the chief executive office of Vans that the interlinking six-pointed star pattern on their shoes dated from the founding of the company and "was not done with even any awareness that it was the Star of David."
The League accepts the company's explanation that the design is in fact just a design.