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.
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.
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.
1947-The Ladies’ Home Journal
1953 – US Keds Booster Shoes
1963 – Seventeen Magazine
1965 – Mademoiselle magazine
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??