adidas Stan Smith

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    adidas Stan Smith

    Stan Smith

    The story of the adidas Stan Smith silhouette began way back in 1963, when it was just a nameless leather trainer for tennis players. Horst Dassler, son of Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler, the founder of adidas, developed the concept, predicting that leather would be the tennis material of the future. The original came in clear white full grain leather with a spherical top cap and a rubber cupsole. It also incorporated a supportive leather lining to protect against twisted ankles alongside a sockliner for added comfort. Most adidas shoes contain the distinctive three-stripe branding, but this early design simply featured three minimalist lines of perforations on its lateral and medial sides. Other than a green foam strip placed on the silhouette’s heel in the late 60s and a clay-court specific herringbone rubber tread, the design has remained true to the original in the decades since its release.

    In 1965, the shoe had a different name – Robert Haillet – after the suave tennis professional who was one of France’s most well-known sportsmen of the time. This moniker couldn’t have been given at a better time, as 1968 heralded the year Wimbledon went professional, in line with a growth in the sport’s popularity. In 1971, with Haillet fast approaching 40, he naturally made the decision to retire, so adidas sought out the American Stanley Roger Smith to be the shoe’s new ambassador. He was a multi-grand slam winner, world number 1 and fit into the brand’s wider attempt to enter the fast-growing tennis market in the United States.

    For a couple of years, adidas couldn’t figure out if they should find a new name for the shoe. It was identical to Haillet’s model – the tongue even said ‘Haillet’ – but it still carried the image of Stan Smith. Eventually, in 1978, Stan Smith’s signature replaced Haillet’s, and they adopted a green accent on the heel. And with that, the adidas Stan Smith was officially born.

    Since then, all kinds of celebrities have been seen wearing them, from the rock stars of the 70s, to the top supermodels of the 90s, 00s and 10s. But, in 2011, the Stan Smith crossed into new pastures. Celine designer Phoebe Philo bowed to the audience at Paris fashion week wearing her Stan Smiths, instantly giving the shoe global high-fashion credentials.

    Then, in 2012, adidas removed it from production. The shoe had become too mainstream for the German brand, and they wanted more exclusivity. In its absence, desire for the Stan Smith began to grow, and two years later, in 2014, it returned to production. As part of this comeback, adidas released a series of now revered collaborations, including one notably with Raf Simons, and its popularity soared once again. In March 2021, with one eye on the future, they released a range featuring their Primegreen recycled plastic, a more eco-conscious alternative, showing Stan Smith’s ability to modernise.

    Since leaving the tennis court, the adidas Stan Smith has taken a more relaxed approach to life, being worn by the stylish inhabitants of inner-city neighbourhoods. They have enthusiastically embraced the Stan Smith for its elegant 60s design and the durability of its leather exterior. But, in fact, nothing has really changed. To this day, it remains as original, as desirable and as refined as when it was first released. And the secret to its long-running success? This minimalist 60s tennis shoe has always been cool.

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