January 2014 is a very happy month for all the sneakerheads out there. We not only welcome the ZX Flux, but – no less important – after two years of absence a true and unforgotten classic finally celebrates its return into the stores: the Stan Smith. To celebrate the return of the Stan Smith, a host of international talent from the worlds of music, sport and screen came together to reveal what the sneaker means to them. You can watch the video below. But what ties the people who brought the Stan Smith back to the market to this famous sneaker? What’s their Stan Smith story? I searched for answers.

But first things first: The shoe is named after the American tennis player Stan Smith, who won titles in major tournaments in it, including the 1968 U.S. Open and the 1970 Australian Open. Over the years, the Stan Smith has evolved into an icon far beyond its success as a tennis sneaker, beloved for its clean, streamlined aesthetic by sneakerheads, fashionistas and editors alike…and adidas employees.

As promised above, I met some of the brightest and most creative people behind adidas Originals to find out what makes this shoe so very special to them and how they think an icon like this has to look on your feet.

Paul Mittleman – Design Director Originals

“In the late 80s, the Stan Smith was one of the first shoes that I actually bought for myself in NYC. It was just a good simple summer shoe. I used to wear them all the time and actually skated in them for a while.

The shoe’s design is so minimal that it’s already non-design, this is why it’s still relevant. For me, a Stan Smith will always look best when it’s worn in and busted.”

Rebecca Jury – VP Originals Womens & Kids

“I don’t really know how I came to my first pair of Stans, but during the last 15 years, there have always been several pairs of them in my wardrobe. The Stan Smith really is my favourite adidas shoe. They are such a big part of my life that, when I got married, my team gave customized editions to me and my husband – white for me, black for him and I wore them in the evening once I had put my heels off.

In the beginning, I liked it when they looked busted and I still think that most sneakers look best when they’ve been worn a while. But with the Stan Smith, I now would wear a box-fresh pair all the time if I had the opportunity – this underlines the perfect and clean design so well.”

Josephine Aberg – Design Director Originals

“When I was studying fashion back in Scandinavia in 1993, I added the first pair of Stan Smiths to my wardrobe. For a long time, it was the only sneaker that I would wear. For me it has never been a sport shoe but always a perfect and beautiful fashion shoe, especially for women. It simply matches every outfit.

Over the last years, it turned out that the Stan Smith would be a very important shoe for me. I didn’t only wear them at my job interview at adidas, but also the day I met my boyfriend. Maybe I should be wearing them all the time – but then again, I don’t like it when they start to look used. A clean, crisp leather shoe with an ingenious design like this one looks the best when it is brand new.”

Arthur Hoeld – Head of adidas Originals

“I won my first pair of Stan Smiths in a bet in about 1987. My former girlfriend’s father was an ambitious tennis player who kept a collection of the shoes he played in. After having won an important track and field competition, I was allowed to pick my favourite and, of course, I took the Stans.

The design of the Stan Smith is a secret recipe for a timeless and classic icon: clean, simple, there’s not too much of anything. In my eyes, this comes across best when the shoe is box-fresh, so it’s best to always have a spare pair on your shelf.”

So, what is your Stan Smith story? Tell us about it here or join the conversation on Twitter via #StanSmith.


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by Boulter John 27.02.2014
I don't claim to be creative but I was with Horst Dassler and Donald Dell when the deal was agreed at about three in the morning at Horst's home, with Donald for Stan and Adidas to become partners for the long term. The key was to rename the Robert Haillet shoe 'Stan Smith' and for Stan to take a relatively small royalty on each shoe sold. Since the Stan Smith has sold millions of pairs since then, I think it was a good deal for all concerned
by Marc 20.11.2015
another example on how simpler is more sophisticated....
by jashwanth 27.05.2023
by jashwanth 27.05.2023