Keds (shoes)

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Industry Sportswear and Sports Goods
Founded 1916
Headquarters Rockford, Michigan
Products Footwear
Parent Wolverine World Wide

Keds is an American brand of plimsoll-style canvas shoe with rubber soles. Keds were introduced in 1916[1] by U.S. Rubber (later known as Uniroyal, then Uniroyal Goodrich, and finally acquired by Michelin). The shoe brand was later acquired by Stride Rite Corporation and is currently owned by Wolverine World Wide.

When choosing a name, the initial choice was Peds, from the Latin meaning foot, but that name was already a trademark. Keds were first mass-marketed as canvas-top "sneakers" in 1960. They became known as sneakers because the rubber soles allowed sneaking around silently.[1]

In the 1960s and 1970s, Keds added to its range of casual shoes a line of athletic shoes called Pro-Keds for more serious use, specifically for basketball. Keds have been used by many athletes. In countries like India or Soviet Union, Keds has been transformed into a generic brand and until recently any athletic shoe was customarily called a Keds. Keds are a staple in physical training classes in many school curricula, and students are often required to wear basic white Keds for their classes.

1980s to late 1990s[edit]

From the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s girls wore Keds with leggings and over-sized tee shirts, over-sized sweatshirts, or over-sized sweaters and slouch socks, with baby doll dresses with bike shorts with or without lace and sometimes slouch socks, as part of a cheer-leading uniform with slouch socks, or in colder weather with leggings and slouch socks. They were seen being worn on television by Joanie Cunningham (played by Erin Moran) on Happy Days, Kelly Kapowski (played by Tiffani Thiessen) on Saved by the Bell, Stephanie Tanner (played by Jodie Sweetin) on Full House, many of the girls on Kids Incorporated, Samantha Micelli (played by Alyssa Milano) on Who's The Boss, Carol Seaver (played by Tracey Gold) on Growing Pains, Becca Thatcher (played by Kellie Martin) on Life Goes On, and during the first two seasons of 7th Heaven by Lucy Camden (played by Beverley Mitchell). Feature film examples include being worn by Frances "Baby" Houseman (played by Jennifer Grey) in Dirty Dancing and in 1996's Matilda worn by the title character (played by Mara Wilson).

Late 1990s to 2006[edit]

Keds lost popularity in the late 1990s, but sales increased in the mid-2000s[citation needed]. "The Champion" sneaker in the traditional white and black leather and canvas uppers remained essentially unchanged, but became available in other colors and patterns. In 2006 some of the Men's "Keds Triumph" sneakers were reintroduced, though Keds have always been more popular with women than with men.

In their 2004-5 song Rollover DJ, Jet sang "got your supersonic beats mixing up my Keds",[2] as part of the song's tongue-in-cheek attack on DJ culture.


Keds launched the Keds Studio, which allows customers to create custom Keds shoes using images, text, and colors provided by Keds or from the customer's own files.


Keds launched Keds Green in March 2009. The shoes feature organic cotton uppers, 20% recycled rubber soles, non-toxic inks and dyes, nickel free eyelets, and shoelaces made from 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET).


In 2012, Keds, along with Saucony, Stride Rite and Sperry Top-Sider, became part of Wolverine World Wide after a joint agreement with Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital acquired the Performance Lifestyle Group of Collective Brands for US$1.23 billion.[3] Keds collaborated with singer Taylor Swift, who released her own line of the shoes on October 22, 2012.[4]


  1. ^ "Keds Sneakers". Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  2. ^ [ Rollover DJ Lyrics]
  3. ^ "Saucony, Keds and Sperry Acquired by Wolverine Worldwide". Inside Insight. 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  4. ^ "Taylor Swift Meets Her Perfect Match: Keds!". Refinery29. 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2014-05-29. 

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