These days, you can’t walk two blocks without seeing at least one person wearing his namesake shoes, but most of the people wearing them don’t know that he actually exists. And he’s okay with that.
In fact, he recently hosted an RBCxMusic party with a performance by Dwayne Gretsky at RBC House during TIFF to celebrate the launch of his cheekily titled book, Some People Think I’m A Sneaker.
More than just an iconic sneaker, here are 10 fast facts to know about Stan Smith:
1. His contract with adidas began in 1971, right after he won his first Grand Slam singles title and before he won his second. But those are just two of his titles. A 7-time major champion and a 10-time finalist, Smith has won a total of 1,209 singles and doubles matches and was considered the best tennis player in the world.
2. Smith’s nickname was, “The Leaning Tower of Pasadena.” Partly because of where he was from, and partly because of his 6’4 stature.
3. Between 1971 and 2016, adidas sold 50 million pairs of Stan Smiths — that’s a whole lot of shoes! And since their inception, they’ve gone from technical athletic shoes to a fashion staple.
4. Smith owns, more or less, 40 pairs of the namesake shoe in 30 different styles. He shops for himself, too. In fact, he told The Cut that when he saw his shoes in all black for the first time while in Rome, he had to snag a pair. Whenever he’s in Soho, he’ll drop into the adidas Originals store to see if he can get a reaction.
5. The sneakers weren’t actually designed for Smith at all. Horst Dassler, the adidas heir, actually made them in 1965 for French tennis player, Robert Haillet. But when Hailet retired, Dassler decided to replace him with Smith, who was a huge star in America at the time.
6. While the shoe has always been a staple, they blew up in popularity in 2011 when Phoebe Philo, Céline’s creative director at the time, wore them while taking a bow on the runway.
7. Smith’s contract with adidas renews every five years, and they’re not planning on changing the name anytime soon. Because there’s no patent protection on a white leather tennis shoe, anyone could copy the design — and they do. But the tennis player’s name is what keeps the shoe an icon.
8. Stella McCartney, Smith, and adidas will make the first pair of vegan Stan Smiths this year. The right foot will feature a picture of Smith, while the left will feature McCartney.
9. At 71-years-old, Smith is still keeping busy. He’s a touring pro at Sea Pines Resort, acts as the president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and owns a hospitality group that does programming during tennis majors. Not to mention, he has a huge family, made up of four children and ten grandchildren.
10. His new book is filled with beautiful imagery from the past and present and does a perfect job of blending the history of Stan Smith, the legendary tennis pro, and Stan Smith, the iconic sneaker.
Featured Image: Joe Scarnici, Getty Images for RBC
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