Stan Smith on Why His Sneakers Remain So Popular — and the Time He Got a Shout-Out From Jay-Z

Stan Smith
Stan Smith
Patrick Miller

It was 45 years ago when tennis legend Stan Smith’s eponymous Adidas sneaker debuted. Today, the 70-year-old’s classic-cool kicks remain a versatile, clean style that has been embraced from the likes of first lady Melania Trump and rapper Jay-Z.

“Jay-Z was the first I heard using my name [in a song]” Smith recalled tonight in New York at the 2017 Footwear News Achievement Awards (FNAA), where the sports icon was honored with the Manolo Blahnik Lifetime Achievement Award.

adidas, Stan Smith sneakers Stan Smiths Courtesy of brand

“He says, ‘I’m just here chilling in my white Stan Smith Adidas,’” Smith said of the lyric.

Part of the shoe’s appeal — white leather with a colorful and perforated sides — is its simplicity, Smith said.

“Sometimes it’s better to be simple than fancy; it’s a little bit like my personality — it’s nothing too extravagant, but it’s been tested through time, and it’s held up amazingly” Smith explained. “Kids buy it, boys and girls, Men and women, all ages, all races, all cultures. It’s amazing the cultural group it’s been popular with — singers, dancers, Ivy Leaguers — every type of person you can think of seems to gravitate toward it.”

Click here to view photos from the 2017 FNAA red carpet.

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