Beloved of Mods and Terrace Casuals alike, the Adidas Stan Smith is the biggest selling model of trainer to date, with over 30 million pairs sold. But why are they so popular, and who is Stan Smith?
In 1965, Adidas introduced a shoe in the Stan Smith form as the top performance Adidas tennis shoe. It was originally endorsed by Robert Haillet, another Tennis Player on Adidas’ books, but was renamed in 1971 after tennis great Stan Smith.
The design and form of the shoe has stayed largely the same since then, but with several new models and colourways introduced over the years.
In the year 2000, Adidas issued a modern re-design of the shoe as part of its Millennium range, aimed at the Tennis Player. This re-make, like so many modern re-interpretations of classics, wasn’t anywhere bear as stylish as the original however. More on the design later.
Stan the Man:
Stan Smith was the world’s No. 1 ranked tennis player in the early 1970’s. During his long career, Smith won 39 singles titles and 61 doubles crowns. He was one of a long list of Tennis Players to endorse Adidas products, including Ilie Nastase and Rod Laver whose named model shoes are also currently available, and Ivan Lendl who has yet to have his shoe re-issued.
A Design Classic:
The main reason behind the Stan Smith’s enduring popularity is its inherent stylishness and cool. The design is clean and understated, especially in its original white leather lace-up form. The Adidas branding is minimal, with the Trefoil logo on the top of the heel section and on the tongue, and the ubiquitous three stripes in the form of punched ventilation holes on the side of the shoe.
Over the years, Adidas amended the form the shoe took, introducing different coloured leather, velcro ‘strap-over’ models, a version with the Trefoil logo on the side in place of the stripes, and a version in nubuck. Many of these variations are available today, but the original classic design is still far and away the best.
Another reason for their enduring popularity is the fact that they are constantly available. Some Adidas re-issues are only available for a limited amount of time and at ridiculous prices, but the Stan Smith has never come off the shelves and the price has stayed reasonable. No wonder so many pairs have been sold.
A word of advice to Adidas though – why mess with a classic? If it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it!