image via footwear news
It’s likely you’ve owned (or currently own) a pair of the classic rubber-soled canvas shoes we know and love: Keds. But did you know that the brand has a fascinating history?
The company was founded in 1916 as “Peds,” after the Latin word for “foot.” After learning that the name was already trademarked, the company opted for “Keds” and became the very definition of “sneaker.” (Due to the rubber soles, they were marketed as shoes that allowed wearers to “sneak around.”)
In the 1920s, Keds were predominantly worn by athletes, from high schoolers to Olympians to everything in between. Once the 1930s rolled around, the company released “Kedettes,” high-heeled shoes that promised the same amount of comfort as sneakers. It wasn’t until the early 1950s that Keds began to look more like they do today. The sneakers became even more popular when stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe added them to their wardrobes.
(image via witness to fashion)
The 1960s brought us another iconic Keds moment: Yoko Ono married John Lennon in her favorite pair of sneakers. In the late 1980s, we watched Jennifer Gray sport Keds in the cult classic Dirty Dancing. And in the 1990s, Kelly Kapowski rocked her classic Keds on Saved by the Bell, as did the Tanner sisters on Full House.
While the classic white Keds are, well, classic, in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, the company decided to branch out and began producing sneakers in new colors and patterns.
Yoko Ono and John Lennon on their wedding day. (image via over the moon)
Jennifer Gray in one of her many iconic Dirty Dancing scenes. (image via footwear news)
An angsty Kelly Kapowski in Keds (image via twitter)
In the last two decades, celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Lana Del Ray, and Mischa Barton have continued rocking their Keds and inspiring young women to do the same. Keds have also taken part in a number of successful collaborations with brands such as Kate Spade and, most recently, Rifle Paper Co.
Whether classic canvas, leopard print, or a botanical pattern, Keds are as cute and comfortable as they are versatile. If you still aren’t convinced that you need a pair, we’ve chosen a few of our favorites – and we even styled them for you!
Women’s Washable Champion Feat. Organic Cotton
These mustard-colored Keds are everything and more. We love these classic Keds in an all-over uniquely trendy color. We paired them with a dark stonewash destructed skinny jean and a chambray button-down. To finish the look, we added some round sunnies and geometric statement earrings.
Get the look: Keds Women’s Washable Champion Feat. Organic Cotton Sneakers ($49.95, shop here) / KanCan Signature Mid-Rise Ankle Skinny Jean ($69.99, shop here) / J.Crew Chambray Shirt in Signature Fit ($52, shop here) / Quay Farrah Sunglasses ($65, shop here) / Siesta Clay Studio Geometric Statement Earrings ($30, shop here)
Keds x Kate Spade New York Triple Kick Multi Stripe Canvas
The Kate Spade New York collaboration with Keds is one of our personal favorites – and for good reason. These pastel striped sneaks are perfect for summer, and are a super-fun way to add some color to your outfit. We paired these Keds with a silk maxi skirt and a knotted white T-shirt. There’s plenty of movement happening on the lower half of this look, so we balanced it out with a pair of statement earrings.
Get the look: Keds x Kate Spade New York Triple Kick Multi Stripe Canvas Sneakers ($89.95, shop here) / Free People Button-Down Sammy Maxi Skirt ($98, shop here) / Asos Ultimate Oversized T-Shirt in White ($14.50, here) / BaubleBar Jayna Earrings ($38, shop here)
Keds x Rifle Paper Co. Champion Strawberry Fields
We don’t think a better summer shoe exists, quite frankly. We styled these precious floral Keds with a pair of overalls and a plain white T-shirt, then topped off the outfit with some fun botanical stud earrings.
Get the look: Keds x Rifle Paper Co. Champion Strawberry Fields Sneakers ($64.95, shop here) / Pilcro Painters Denim Overalls ($158, shop here) / Pura Vida Enamel Sunflower Stud Earrings ($15, shop here)