It seems like the number 100 is very popular lately. First it was Pyrex that celebrated their 100th anniversary and now everyone’s favorite running shoes ‘Keds’ is celebrating their 100 year milestone. Congrats!

As a Lindy Hopper (swing dancer) we have a soft spot for our Keds running shoes. They are comfortable, affordable, cute and perfect for the demands of the Lindy Hop dance floor. If you attend any dance, anywhere in the world you will see at least 1 pair of Keds on the dance floor..guaranteed.

keds

For today’s post, I wanted to focus in on the early side of the Keds brand (1900s-1969), with some vintage advertising (Print & TV) I have found. Lets begin….

Brief History of Keds

  • Keds is an American brand of canvas shoe with rubber soles
  • Keds original sneaker were introduced in 1916 by U.S. Rubber or as they like to say, the first ever “feel-like-everyday’s-a-Saturday” shoe. But that was a bit of a mouthful…so instead they called it the Champion (Source)
  • The U.S. Rubber Company was a manufacturer of rubber soles to the footwear manufacturing trade. At the end of WWI they started to manufacture their own line of men’s, women’s and children’s canvas sport shoes (Source)
  • When choosing a name, the initial choice was Peds, from the Latin meaning foot, but that name was already taken
  • They became known as sneakers because the rubber soles allowed sneaking around silently (Source)
  • In the 1960s, canvas sneakers became far more common and accepted as a part of everyday dress, leading to Keds becoming a ubiquitous brand across the US (Source)
  • Keds was purchased by the Stride Rite Corporation in 1979
  • From the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, Keds were very popular with girls from elementary school age through tween and teens and college age and beyond. Notable Keds wearers during this time included: Jennifer Gray in Dirty Dancing, Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen) on “Saved by the Bell and  Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and D.J. (Candace Cameron) on “Full House”
  • Today’s Keds are still very popular and come in every colour and design imaginable.

Vintage Ads

1919

1919-Ad-United-States-Rubber-Keds-Womens-Shoes-Boots-Fashion-Sailboats-Footwear (1)
Source: Online Baltimore Shoeseum

1920s

1920-KEDS-Flats-High-Boots-Pumps-Canvas-Tennis-Shoes-Ad
Source: Online Baltimore Shoeseum

1928

1920s Vintage Keds Advertising

1936

1936-ad-keds-rubber-shoe-feet-sports-shock-proof-insole vintage advertising
Source: Dancestore

1937-Colour Ad!

1937-Ad-Keds-Shoes-Color-vintage ad
Source: Dancestore

1930s- Kedettes are formed for the ladies and there are incredibly stylish. I did a full blog post on the shoes which you can find HERE.

1939-Kedettes-Shoes vintage ad

1950s Kedettes Vintage Ad Keds

1947-The Ladies’ Home Journal

Keds, May 1947 vintage advertising
Source: Flickr

1953 – US Keds Booster Shoes 

1953 US Keds Booster Shoes Ad

1963 – Seventeen Magazine

1960s Vintage Keds Ad
Source: Etsy-paperdollgirls

1965 – Mademoiselle magazine

1960s Vintage Keds Ad2
Source: Flickr

Keds Vintage TV Advertising

I really really want the purse in this commercial..wow it’s a beauty!


Congrats once again to Keds!

I’m going to leave you with this great Lindy Hop competition video from last year. Can you spot the Keds??

Liz 🙂

8 comments on “Vintage Fashion: ‘Keds’ Turn 100”

  1. Fantastic post! While I’ve had very similar style deck shoes over the years (they were an inexpensive mainstay of my early childhood in particular, usually bought at Zellers, Saan, or Fields), I’ve never had a true pair of Keds. They’re on my wishlist for sure though and I can’t help but think that their 100th anniversary year would be the ideal time to finally add a pair to my closet. 🙂

    Big hugs & happy tail end of February wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

    • They have a 1940’s style in the new section apparently. Might be a good time to grab them 🙂 Not sure if you have a winners or a Marshalls but you can usually get keds on sale there.

      Happy shopping Jessica!
      Liz 🙂

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