Stan Smith Leads Adidas to Unimaginable Sneaker Heights

Superfans include a professor of theoretical physics and a reporter for GQ Japan

For an athletic footwear brand, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Seriously, Adidas could ostensibly just lay out the following magazine-article paragraph in the middle of a full-page ad, with an asterisk pointing to the source:

In the United Kingdom, soccer fans in Liverpool and Manchester fight over who got into Stan Smiths first. In Greece, Smith says, where it is traditional to give babies white shoes on the day of their christening, Stan Smiths became the white shoe of choice. There’s a professor of theoretical physics in Sweden who owns more than 200 pairs. Both Will Arnett and Hugh Grant have said they kissed their first girl while wearing Stan Smiths. Stan Smith the man once met a reporter from GQ Japan who told him he’s worn his eponymous shoes every day for the past 13 years. (Smith’s response: “I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’ ”) More recently, they’ve been taken up by Céline’s Phoebe Philo, as well as Marc Jacobs, A$AP Rocky and North West, coming to define both a retro and minimalist movement in fashion just a few years after they were sold on the bargain shelves.

The source is a New York magazine piece by Lauren Schwartzberg about the Adidas brand’s recent revival. The associate editor traveled to Hilton Head, S.C., where two-time Grand Slam tennis champion Smith lives with his wife on the equivalent of what the reporter describes as “the laces” of the sneaker-shaped island.

There’s also a striking photo at the top, taken by João Canziani. The image banks on some clever nighttime contrasted-lighting to highlight a pair of said shoes.

The Stan Smith Adidas sneaker is 46; the Pasadena, Calif. native turned 70 on Dec. 14, marking that milestone shortly after welcoming Schwartzberg to his home; and the resulting New York feature, with its comical noting of Smith’s eyebrows and so much more, will likely prove to be timeless.

Image via: Adidas