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James Van Doren, founder and designer of Vans shoes, has died at the age of 72. From his obituary: "Mr. Van Doren collaborated with a chemist to develop the rubber recipe used in the sole. A mechanical engineer by training, he also devised its characteristic tread pattern: diamonds interrupted by a band of tiny six-pointed stars at the ball of the foot. Together, rubber and tread made the sole clingy." [New York Times]