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PRO-Keds: Sneaking Back
April 29, 2002
NBA legends Tiny Archibald and Jo Jo White aren't coming out of retirement, but the sneakers they made famous are. After a 17-year hiatus, PRO-Keds are back, though you're more likely to find them on the shelves of upscale urban boutiques than on the feet of pro athletes. Rather than try to compete with cutting-edge kicks, Keds is aiming to cash in on retro appeal, a fitting approach for the company that, in 1916, produced the first mass-market sneaker. PRO-Keds, with their distinctive blue and red stripes near the toes, were unveiled in '49 as a basketball shoe. Although never as popular as Converse's Chuck Taylors, they found favor with '70s jukesters such as Archibald, White and Pistol Pete Maravich. Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, catcher Johnny Bench and defensive end Mark Gastineau also strutted in their PRO-Keds, as did seminal rapper Kurtis Blow. The new PRO-Keds (left) look much like the old ones; only their aura has changed over time. "Now it's more of a fashion statement than a performance statement," says PRO-Keds marketing spokeswoman Victoria Baluk. "It's about an attitude." We're just glad to be reminded of Tiny and Jo Jo.
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April 29, 2002

Pro-keds: Sneaking Back

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NBA legends Tiny Archibald and Jo Jo White aren't coming out of retirement, but the sneakers they made famous are. After a 17-year hiatus, PRO- Keds are back, though you're more likely to find them on the shelves of upscale urban boutiques than on the feet of pro athletes. Rather than try to compete with cutting-edge kicks, Keds is aiming to cash in on retro appeal, a fitting approach for the company that, in 1916, produced the first mass-market sneaker. PRO- Keds, with their distinctive blue and red stripes near the toes, were unveiled in '49 as a basketball shoe. Although never as popular as Converse's Chuck Taylors, they found favor with '70s jukesters such as Archibald, White and Pistol Pete Maravich. Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, catcher Johnny Bench and defensive end Mark Gastineau also strutted in their PRO- Keds, as did seminal rapper Kurtis Blow. The new PRO- Keds (left) look much like the old ones; only their aura has changed over time. "Now it's more of a fashion statement than a performance statement," says PRO- Keds marketing spokeswoman Victoria Baluk. "It's about an attitude." We're just glad to be reminded of Tiny and Jo Jo.

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