The History Of The Stan Smith

The History Of The Stan Smith

Typically, when exploring rare sneakers, many of the most prominent examples come from the world of basketball due to the successful endorsements of players like Chuck Taylor, Lebron James and Michael Jordan, but other sports have their footwear icons.

In the world of tennis, for example, there is the famous Adidas Stan Smith, a design that is now synonymous with the tennis shoe, but also one with a surprisingly complex history.

For a start, the sneaker was not originally called the Stan Smith but instead was the Adidas Robert Haillet in 1965, named after the second-ever French tennis player to go professional.

Mr Haillet was a skilled amateur player and player in the Davis Cup for nearly a decade, but by 1965, his professional career was winding down at the age of 36. By 1971 he had retired entirely from tennis.

Rather than keep the name endorsement, Horst Dassler of Adidas looked for another player to endorse the shoe, and found American player Stan Smith, at one point ranked number one in the world and a winner of both the US Open and Wimbledon Championships.

A year after his win at Centre Court, Adidas signed a contract with Stan Smith, but strangely the shoe continued to be called the Robert Haillet, leading to a strange tongue design which had Mr Haillet’s name but Stan Smith’s portrait.

This was rectified in 1978, and the Stan Smith has become one of the most iconic shoe designs ever made, to the point that to many people who are less familiar with Mr Smith’s illustrious career know him more for being the face of a famous shoe than for his on-court exploits.

Whilst no longer a practical tennis shoe, the Stan Smith is still hugely popular and much like other famous and iconic designs has seen a wide range of designs, colourways and artistic endeavours.

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