Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Needless to say that there’s more to the world of canvas and rubber-soled shoes than All Stars.
Rubber revolutionised the American industry and also changed the fashion landscape for ever. Do you know of someone who loves or has loved them before? Here you’ll find everything you need to know about Keds and the history of how these minimalistic shoes left their mark in the hall of fame of sneakers.
Let’s start with this catchy jingle for a brief introduction. Find something new that you didn’t know down below.
Do you have a penchant for cars? Well, learning about the history of Keds will give you an extra knowledge-nugget to up your sneakers and motor game all at once. You might know chemist and engineer Charles Goodyear from his tyres, but he’s also the main reason why we can enjoy rubber-soled shoes and not get accidentally electrocuted. Whilst Charles was chilling in jail for owing money to basically everyone in Philadelphia, he started experimenting with rubber and discovered the process of vulcanisation, making rubber more lasting and resisting.
Not only this saved Charles from bankruptcy, but it revolutionised the way rubber goods were being produced. In 1982, the U.S. Rubber Company was born out of a merger of different rubber manufactures in Connecticut. The company extended its production range to include rubber-soled shoes to be released under different brands. In 1916, U.S. Rubber decided to produce their shoes under one brand and that’s how Keds was born.
Not only would we not have sneakers without Keds shoes, but we wouldn’t even have the word itself. The first choice of name for the new company was Peds, from the Latin word for foot. Since the name was already taken, the company opted for Keds, the Native American word for moccasins. “Sneakers” became a nickname for Keds shoes because their rubber soles make no sound so one could easily “sneak around” going totally unnoticed.
The Champion Original was the first rubber-soled canvas shoe produced by Keds. Originally aimed at sporty types, the classic white Keds shoes soon became heavily featured in casual looks during the 1950s. Since then the classic Keds have evolved into different styles, now including Keds slip on sneakers.
Pro Keds Sneakers
In 1949, Keds released the PRO-Keds line. PRO-Keds rose to popularity thanks to Minneapolis Lakers basketball player George Mikan. From there PRO-Keds left the court and became a staple piece in the wardrobe of musicians, artists and many other style icons.
Keds Leather Sneakers
These leather Champion Originals are your go-to Keds shoes if you’re looking to keep it casual with extra style points.
Keds Tennis Shoes
Are you after a different kind of tennis shoe? These blue and grey canvas Keds are a great alternative and easily suit any casual look. They are great for both men and women.
These Keds boots are the perfect combination of trainers and classic footwear, ideal to elevate your look for a casual yet more formal occasion.
Feature image from Pinterest
Why Are Keds So Popular?
From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, Keds were very popular and fashionable with most girls and women. Most big names made them popular, such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. The big boom happened especially after the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing. Most teenage girls tried to copy Jennifer Grey, which is why they wore Keds. It was a new look with a ton of popular, practical, and common favorite features that teens could pull off, no reason to stick to heels. It was an original sneaker back in time and has had a lot of features like today’s Adidas shoes. This just goes to show you that with the right ad campaign, everyone can have it and enjoy easier access.
Having Said All Of That
So, want to rock this 80s cool dance inspired shoe? If you can find these cool shoes today, why not rock them asap? They can suit any gender and even NBA stars. Step out of your comfort zone, and ‘step’ into the right shoe!