Vans, the original action sports footwear and apparel brand is an icon in its own right, but the brand always seeks to collaborate with like-minded innovators—and leading tennis ball manufacturer Penn perfectly fits the bill. Like Vans, Penn is a classic brand with a history of innovation, beloved by generations of athletes. Both brands began as rubber companies, and both took the untraditional sports path to become the undisputed leaders of their respective industries.
Founded in 1899 by Herbert DuPay in Erie, Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Rubber Company (Penn) began as a manufacturer of all sorts of rubber goods, from hoses to valves and tires. The company soon became a trailblazer of tennis ball manufacturing, eventually pivoting to focus entirely on the racquet sports industry.
Among Penn’s achievements are creating the first pressurized ball can to give tennis balls a longer shelf life, inventing a more durable felt tennis ball cover, and even originating the now-standard fluorescent yellow color seen on nearly every tennis ball today. These and other innovations earned Penn its designation as America’s #1 Selling tennis ball and the official ball of top tennis industry organizations and prestigious professional tennis events.
The Vans x Penn collection brings a dose of tennis court prep to Vans’ historic prints and branding elements, while maintaining the streetwear aesthetic and stellar performance Vans’ aficionados love. The Vans x Penn collection combines Penn’s country club cred with Vans’ legendary style, for a timeless and sophisticated collection with just enough prep factor to seamlessly transition from street to court.
The three-shoe collection features classic Vans silhouettes with modernized comfort thanks to a soft ComfyCush sole. Leading the pack is the Penn Lowland CC, a ’90s skate-inspired silhouette, but with a slimmer profile. A throwback “Flying V” Vans logo and Penn-themed lace charms add a touch of retro flair. Vans’ first ever shoe style, the Authentic, gets the ’60s treatment, with vintage-inspired sidewall illustrations of tennis players on the court. Meanwhile, Vans’ ever popular Slip On meets Penn’s signature yellow and orange colorway. The tennis ball-inspired uppers are embossed with Vans’ classic checkerboard pattern for a perfect fusion of the two brands’ aesthetics.
The Vans x Penn apparel collection is anchored by a long sleeve white and navy ringer tee with a vintage-inspired tennis player graphic on the chest and Vans’ signature checkerboard down the sleeves. A coordinating checkerboard bucket hat serves style while keeping the sun at bay. The Vans x Penn short and half-zip jacket both feature a subtle navy-on-navy checkerboard pattern, while a short sleeve Vans x Penn logo tee and court-ready polo shirt round out the collection.
The Vans x Penn collection is available now at Vans.eu and select Vans retailers.