Keds vintage sneakers & shoes from the ’20s to the ’80s

Vintage Keds shoes

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Keds vintage sneakers made their debut in 1916, and are still a widely-recognized brand more than a century later. Here’s a look back at some of their most popular footwear fashions from decades past!

Why you should insist on Keds (1922)

Every child and grown-up can now enjoy the comfort boys have always known.

For years boys have delighted in “sneakers” or “tennis shoes.” Unconsciously they were choosing the shoes that were anatomically right for their feet. The muscles of the feet, we know now, grow stronger naturally in flexible shoes — the best prevention for fallen arches and the foot troubles so common today.

A well known orthopedic physician has said: “The low-heeled canvas rubber-soled shoe is the greatest blessing that has been offered to mothers in a very long time.”

Indeed, a blessing for all. The big development of the Keds line, with rubber-soled canvas shoes for every need, has made it possible for the entire family to enjoy the comfort and healthful foot freedom that boys have always known.

Old Keds Shoes - Vintage ad from the 1920s

MORE: Women’s shoes from the 1940s: Stylish high-heeled vintage footwear

Keds — The natural shoe for America at play (1930s)

Old-style Keds footwear from the 1930s

A boy just has to have Keds… (1930s)

… or he is less of a boy!

To every boy, some other boy is king. And this king is set up by natural supremacy in the boy’s world where athletic prowess, speed and skill, meet their daily tests.

Vintage Keds shoes from the 1930s - Less of a boy

Booster — Aces in every color! (1950s)

Men insist they’re the most handsome, summer-comfortable shoes on earth! Boosters will give your feet a a real summer vacation, for they’re the lightest shoes ever! In fact they float on water!

US Keds - sneakers and shoes from the fifties

“You run faster in Keds!” (1950s)

You run faster in Keds - the shoe of champions - 1950s ad

Wish you were here! (1950s)

Something happens all summer — with Keds along to share the fun! Your feet feel so young and gay, hardly ever tire. Even dad’s a cool guy in Keds Casuals, so relaxed ‘n ready to go!

Keds shoes - Vintage 1950s ad

ALSO SEE: ’80s shoes for men: What stylish guys were wearing

Coach Frank Leahy says, “Win in Keds!” (1951)

“If any fast game and for all sports, you’ll do better for your team, and have more fun, if you wear correct athletic shoes. I was happy to advise on the design of new Frank Leahy Keds, so that your footwork can help you get the most from healthful, manly sports.”

US Keds — The Shoe of Champions — United States Rubber Company

Coach Frank Leahy says, Win in Keds (1951)

Frank Leahy was the coach for the Notre Dame (Fighting Irish) Football team

In or out of action… the big shoe is Keds. (1960s)

Take Keds ‘Court King,’ for instance. It was made for tennis pros, but it walked right off the courts and became a great all-around casual. Small wonder. ‘Court King’ has the cleanest lines, the smoothest fit. the greatest feel you could want.

Retro Keds shoes from the 1960s

Some men wouldn’t think of lounging around in anything but Keds Brass Ringers (1965)

Some men feel the same way about playing in them.

Even if the only game you play is one-upmanship, you’re the winner in Keds Brass Ringer. It’s the lace-to-toe oxford that’s long on looks. Those pull-proof eyelets ore gleaming brass. Strong on comfort.

It has Keds’ famous shock-proof arch cushion and cushioned insole. Washable cotton duck in sporting shades of dark green, navy, faded blue and chino as well as traditional white. Get a pair. It will be a long time before you need another.

DON’T MISS: Vintage shoe stores: See what shoe shopping really used to be like

Retro Keds Brass Ringers from 1965

Vintage Keds Mainsail boat shoes (1965)

Keds Mainsails were designed to grip the heaving, sea-swept decks of racing yachts.

That doesn’t mean you can’t wear Mainsails to hang around in.

You get a real feeling of comfort and security from Keds Mainsail boat shoes. They’re the shoes with deep zigzag cut outsoles for sure grip. No skidding.

Of course, they have Keds shock-proof arch cushions and pull-proof eyelets. In white, navy, chino, green, or faded blue — so nautical, who’s to know you, never been to sea.

Vintage Keds Mainsail boat shoes (1965)

Keds vintage sneakers: Court Kings shoes (1965)

Keds Court Kings were designed to provide sure-footed comfort for America’s top tennis pros.

You can wear your Court Kings to mow the lawn. No foot-fault here. Court King is the most — on grass, clay, concrete or asphalt. They’ve got Keds arch-roof arch cushions, largo pull-proof eyelets.

And they’re washable, of course. In fact, they’re strictly pro all the way. So much so, who’s to know you can’t tell a lob from a forehand smash? In black, white or chino.

Keds Court Kings shoes (1965)

Sneakers after sundown. (1967)

A lot of people wouldn’t dream of going out to dinner and a show with sneakers on. But then again, a lot of people would.

In fact, every night countless Americans actually do go out to restaurants, theaters and what have you wearing good old sneakers (and sometimes even new ones).

Also, a new and rather unusual trend in developing in most parts of the country. Smart dogs everywhere are beginning to fetch their masters’ pipes and sneakers for them. As a result, they’re being taken for bigger and better walks than ever before. All over, people who care about their looks and insteps are wearing our sneakers.

And these same people are also taking great pleasure in knowing that if a piece of pizza happens to fall on one of their beloved sneakers, so what? All they have to do is throw them in the washing machine (all Keds are machine-washable) and they’ll come out as good as new. As a matter of fact, after a few washings they’ll be even better than new.

They’ll be old.

Keds sneakers after sundown - Vintage ad from 1967

ALSO SEE: Vintage Keds Grasshoppers shoes for women (1970s)

Knockarounds by Keds (1969)

Keds introduce either a very dressy sneaker or a very causual shoe. In dark brown or beige. So soft, they can be worn without socks.

1969 Brown suede Keds shoes

Keds vintage sneakers: Pro-Keds (1977)

Vintage Pro-Keds - 1977 athletic products

Our shoes are better than your shoes. (1983)

The midsole is the heart of any running shoe. It helps protect you from injuries and it absorbs most of the shock. And of all the running shoes, only one comes with a midsole guarantee. The Pro-Keds Conquest.

We don’t claim our midsoles last the life of the shoe. We guarantee it.

Unlike the common EVA midsole that loses up to 75% of its resiliency after 300 miles, the Conauest’s EVA/Polyisoprene midsole retains most of its shock absorbent properties for the life of the shoe.

And should it ever go dead before the outsole wears out, we’ll do something unheard of. We’ll give you a brand new pair of Conquests with no questions asked.

The new Pro-Keds Conquest. It’s a better running shoe than the shoe you’re using now. And isn’t that reason enough to switch?

Pro Keds - vintage athletic shoes from 1980s

MORE: Converse vintage shoes: The old-school Chucks, sneakers & athletic footwear

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Comments on this story

8 Responses

  1. Looking for a pair of navy blue canvas, green bottom deck shoes from the 1960s. Please advise. Thank you.

  2. I’d like to see the tennis pro shoes (Court Kings)back and varietyof colors.. Had a pair of navy blue with lined rubber toes. Great support. Wish they’d start making them again. Loved those shoes till I finally had to throw them away. Emailed company, never heard back. Please listen up KEDS.

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