|Industry||Sportswear and Sports Goods|
|Headquarters||Lexington, Massachusetts, United States|
|Chris Lindner, President
Blake Kruger, CEO of Wolverine World Wide
|Parent||Wolverine World Wide|
Keds is an American brand of canvas shoes with rubber soles. Founded in 1916, the company is owned by Wolverine World Wide. The original shoe design, the Champion, was the first mass-marketed canvas-top "sneaker."
In 1916, U.S. Rubber, one of the original 12 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896, consolidated 30 different shoe brand names to create one company. Initially, the brand name "Peds" was chosen for the company from the Latin word for feet, but the name was already trademarked. Keds was founded in 1916 and was later acquired by Stride Rite Corporation. Because the shoes had a soft rubber sole, they became known as sneakers as the rubber soles allowed "sneaking around silently". By the early 1920s, the shoes were worn by Olympic soccer players, national and international tennis champions, and college athletes. In 1926, the Keds Triumph shoe was introduced.
Keds released "Kedettes", a line of washable high-heeled shoes for women, in 1938. In 1949, Pro-Keds were introduced as a line of sneakers designed for athletic performance. Designed specifically for basketball players, the original style, the Royal Tread, was endorsed by George Mikan. In 1953, the Minneapolis Lakers were outfitted with Pro-Keds. Pro-Keds were intended to compete with the industry standard, Converse. Pro-Keds were worn by NBA stars including Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nate "Tiny" Archibald, JoJo White, Bob Love, Lou Hudson, Bob Lanier and "Pistol" Pete Maravich, as well as music icons, The Ramones. The shoe earned cult status in the hip-hop community by the late 1970s.
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. They were often worn with slouch socks worn over leggings with an oversized sweater, sweatshirt or tee shirt. Moms also wore this same trend as their daughters. Also, Keds were worn with white slouch socks over black tights and a skirt or knee length or shorter dress or with a baby doll dress and slouch socks worn with bike shorts, knee length leggings or over black tights. Many cheerleaders also wore Keds as part of their uniform from the mid 80's to the mid 90's.
In January 2012, Rick Blackshaw was appointed brand president of Keds. Collective Brands Inc., the parent company of Stride Rite Corporation and Keds, was acquired by Wolverine World Wide for $1.32 billion in May 2012.
Footwear Plus recognized Keds as the "Best Collab" in 2014 for its Keds x Taylor Swift collection. In September 2014, Wolverine World Wide announced that Rick Blackshaw would be the brand president of Sperry Top-Sider. Chis Linder, former CMO and senior vice president of business development for Sperry Top-Sider, became president of Keds.
Keds launched the "Ladies First Since 1916" campaign in July 2015, which focuses on female empowerment and featured celebrities including Taylor Swift.
Keds celebrated its centennial in 2016 and the continuation of its "Ladies First Since 1916" campaign with a birthday celebration held during New York Fashion Week. To mark the occasion, Keds launched Keds Collective, a campaign to feature inspirational women following the 2015 Ladies First campaign. Some of the women featured were bloggers such as Chriselle Lim. Allison Williams joined the campaign as creative director and star of the brands video shorts, titled "Woman's Touch" and "Uncharted Territories." The campaign, which included a collaborative shoe design with Ciara, introduced the Keds Custom Studio which allows customers to create their own shoe designs on the Keds website. The company also announced that its shoe manufacturing was moving to Michigan, in the U.S. for the first time in 35 years.
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. They were usually worn with no socks when worn with shorts and if sock were worn they were mostly slouch socks. Keds were often worn with slouch socks in other outfits. Especially with the slouch socks worn over leggings with an oversized sweater especially a V-neck sweater worn by itself or with a turtleneck worn under the sweater, a sweatshirt or turtleneck under the sweatshirt combo or tee shirt usually a long tee. Moms also wore these same trends as their daughters. Also, Keds were worn with white slouch socks over black tights and a skirt or knee length or shorter dress or with the slouch socks and a baby doll dress over bike shorts or knee length leggings. The shoes have been featured in television and film including Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen) on Saved by the Bell, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and D.J. (Candace Cameron) on Full House, Lucy Camden on 7th Heaven, Becca Thatcher (Kellie Martin) on Life Goes On, and Frances "Baby" Houseman (Jennifer Grey) in Dirty Dancing.
Keds has produced collaborative collections with companies including Kate Spade New York, Madewell, Opening Ceremony, Steven Alan and Alice + Olivia. In 2009, Keds launched a collaboration with Loomstate which was sold at Barneys. The shoes were made with organic cotton, recycled rubber and non-toxic inks and dyes.
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