Firmly rooted within the history of adidas, there’s no denying that the Stan Smith silhouette paved the way for the German sportswear brand’s future. Tennis trainer turned fashion favourite, the retro sneaker has maintained a minimalistic makeup since the very beginning contributing to its timeless nature. With Wimbledon season well and truly upon us, we’re taking a look at the story behind the sporty shoe.

First released back in 1963, the sneaker was originally named after talented French tennis star Robert Halliet. When Halliet went on to retire from the sport in 1971, Horst Dassler — son of adidas founder Adolf Dassler — decided to reclaim the model to commend the blossoming career of American tennis player, Stan Smith. The initial adidas Stan Smith model was then introduced to the public in 1978.

Defining features of the OG adidas Stan Smith include a smooth leather upper, lines of perforations mimicking the brand’s iconic Three Stripe branding, a contrasting heel tab and a sketched picture of Stan Smith himself on the trainer’s tongue. Also commonly crafted with a thin rubber sole unit which delivers cushioning for all-day comfort, the classic Stan Smith offering was also highlighted with a green hue which has since become synonymous with the model.

By 1988, over 22 million Stan Smiths had been sold globally which officially made the pair a record-breaking silhouette. The simple sneakers continued to be a hit both in sports and on the streets in the following years, with big names like Drake publicly showing their appreciation for the style. Production for the Stan Smith actually halted in 2011, but was then relaunched two years later to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Shortly after, the success of the Stan Smith skyrocketed, with celebrities such as Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Kanye West acting as a catalyst for the resurgence of the sporty shoe. Thanks to its stripped-back design and stylish versatility, the adidas Stan Smith was popular with fans across the globe. From some of the world’s greatest designers to grandads, Stan Smiths provided a pair that was as universal as it is timeless.

More recently in 2021, adidas gave the Stan Smith a sustainable makeover. Utilising recycled materials, the eco-friendly edition of the retro tennis trainer maintains the model’s signature sleek build, while simultaneously welcoming the vintage model into the modern sneaker realm.

Designed for tennis, claimed by fashion and loved by all: it’s safe to say that the legendary Stan Smith silhouette is cemented within the foundations of the footwear industry and will continue to shape the future of sneaker culture for years to come.