A History of Stan Smith, the iconic shoe of Adidas

Speaking of Stan Smith, most people will have the inception of it being the most iconic sneaker of Adidas over the years. But not a lot know the story behind Adidas Stan Smith?

The original tennis shoe design was first introduced in 1964, marketed as the first Adidas tennis shoe designed by, Horst Dassler, son of Adidas founder Adolph “Adi” Dassler, coining the idea of the very first leather tennis shoe.

Unlike most Adidas shoes, there is no overt external three stripes but three rows of perforations on both sides on the upper white leather of the shoe.

Image souced from Adidas

The very first pair of the shoe was released in 1965, but it was in the name of Robert Haillet, a French tennis professional at that time, instead of “Stan Smith”.

It was after Haillet’s retirement in 1971, the Three Stripes was in need to find a new court champion to endorse the updated shoe, and Donald Dell, one of the most influential tennis agents at the time, proposed to his client Stan Smith, to partner with Adidas.

Stan Smith is one of the greatest tennis player in American history and former world number 1 player in the early-1970s who won the U.S. Open in 1971 and Wimbledon in 1972. Their partnership eventually becomes one of the greatest and most successful in sneakers history.

Image souced from Adidas

While Smith initially joined Adidas in 1971, the shoe’s name wasn’t changed to “Adidas Stan Smith” until 1978.

With the booming tennis market at that time, sales of the shoe reached its peak after the rename. The clearly marked “Stan Smith” at the iconic green heel tab with Smith’s picture on the tongue of the shoe turned this shoe into the best sellers.

Image souced from Adidas

The shoe then thrived off the court as a fashionable sneaker. In 1988, about 22 million pairs of Stan Smith had been sold, with that number growing to 23.7 million pairs by 1994.

Image souced from Adidas

Adidas has released hundreds, if not thousands versions of Stan Smith since then. They also introduced a re-issued version of the shoe, the Adidas Stan Smith II at the beginning of the 21 century.

This version has a thicker tongue with no Stan Smith portrait and only the Adidas trefoil logo on the heel tab.

Image souced from Adidas

Over the years, The Three Stripes has paired the shoe with celebrities to release limited edition of the shoe to boost sales. Here are some of the hottest collaborations:

Raf Simons x Stan Smith

Image souced from Adidas

Pharrell Williams

Image souced from Adidas

Yohji Yamamoto’s Y-3

Image souced from Adidas

Stan Smith definitely deserved to be in your shoe cabinet. You could grab a pair of the iconic shoe at Adidas Online Store for $80 USD.