Keds advertisement 1935

An advertisement for Keds ‘The shoes of champions’ in the November 1935 edition of Esquire magazine.

Esquire, November 1935 (image courtesy of Esquire)

The advertisement is accompanied by illustrations of tennis, handball, basketball, the gymnasium, and ‘racquets or squash’. The shoe is clearly depicted as being—as the blurb in the bottom-left former describes—‘for every athletic purpose’. Add to that: dancing.

Swing dance historian Bobby White explains how Keds were essential equipment for professional lindy hop dancers between the world wars:

The basic Keds shoe (called “The Champion” today) and other Keds-like sneakers first appeared in 1917 and were the shoes the Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers began wearing to perform fast, high flying Lindy Hop routines… [In] Keep Punching in 1939, we start to see Keds and sneakers on the Whitey’s.[i]

The ‘Big Apple’ scene from Keep Punching, 1939 (director John Clein, writers Rosamond Johnson & Marcy Klauber).


[i] ‘Swing Fashion: Keds’, Swungover 27th May 2011