Twenty-eight years after he bid the professional tennis world adieu, Stan Smith has returned, not on clay, but on asphalt. While Smith’s days on the pro circuit might be long gone, he still remains one of the most well-known players of all time, thanks largely to the simple white sneaks that carry his name.
Truth be told though, those iconic adidas originally bore the name of another clay court legend – Robert Haillet. Haillet and adidas founder, Adolf “Adi” Dassler first partnered up back in the mid-sixties to create the stark shoes, but it wasn’t until Stan Smith wore them on the court in 1971 that they really took off. They were the first pair of all leather tennis shoes ever created, laying the groundwork for today’s ultra high-end sneaker market, but at the time, they were designed purely for performance.
Over the next couple years Smith won both The US Open and Wimbledon while wearing those snow white sneaks, making them an instant smash amongst the tennis community. Pretty soon, Halliet’s name was off the shoe altogether and Smith’s cartoon likeness was printed on the tongue, forever immortalizing tennis’ shaggy-haired seventies. As a new decade rolled around, Smith’s sneakers left the court, as their understated design made them one of the most popular casual shoes of the eighties and nineties. In fact to this day Stan Smith’s remain adidas’ best selling shoe of all time.
Which is why, when adidas stopped production of the shoe a few seasons ago, it felt like the end of an era for the brand. Fortunately, for all of us Stan fans that have been searching for a new simple sneaker ever since, adidas decided to pull the shoe out of retirement next year. Staring again this month, those all white sneaks are back in play, ensuring that Stan Smith’s name won’t soon be forgotten.