The Stan Smith was introduced in 1965 as the first all-leather tennis shoe. It was originally endorsed by Robert Haillet. In 1971 it was renamed after tennis great Stan Smith. Since then it has become one of the best selling shoes of all time, having sold over 30 million pairs. Adidas writes in their website:
As part of the Tournament Edition, this is a 1-to-1 reintroduction of the Stan Smith originally introduced in 1977. The original version was a slight variation of the Haillet shoe, with Stan's signature on the side - the Stan Smith tongue logo became an icon all on its own over time. Featuring super-soft leathers, sophisticated perforated leather lining and laser etching sign off on the tongue, this is presented in a variation of the iconic Adidas white/green tennis colourway.
Stan Smith was the world's No. 1 ranked tennis player in 1972. During his long career, Smith won 39 singles titles and 61 doubles crowns. He was one of a long list of Tennis Players to endorse Adidas products, including Ilie Nastase and Rod Laver whose named model shoes are also currently available, and Ivan Lendl who has yet to have his shoe re-issued.
What is the main reason behind the Stan Smith's enduring popularity? I think it is the stylishness and cool, clean and understated design, especially in its original white leather lace-up form. They look good and sporty without making the wearer look sloppy. The Adidas branding is minimal (always a good thing), with the Trefoil logo on the top of the heel section and on the tongue, and the ubiquitous three stripes in the form of punched ventilation holes on the side of the shoe, instead of coloured stripes as in most of their shoes. Minimal is good, no? Also, the pricing is good, compared with modern designs that are here today, gone tomorrow.
Over the years, Adidas has changed the form the shoe took, introducing different coloured leather, velcro 'strap-over' models, a version with the Trefoil logo on the side in place of the stripes, and a version in nubuck. Many of these variations are available today, but the original classic design is still far and away the best. Why mess with a classic?