Feb 03, 2014 4:25PM

Interview: Stan Smith x adidas

The man behind the sneaker.

Stan Smith is a name synonymous with adidas since the 70s. Christened after the legendary tennis pro, the sportswear label's Stan Smith shoe has taken on a life of its own and even its namesake thinks it's outgrown him. When Stan Smith (the man) was told the iconic sneaker was being brought back from the archives, he was pleased. Since then, the shoes have been endorsed by guys like Sky Ferreira, Will Arnett and many more artists, performers and other creatives in a worldwide campaign. We had a quick chat with the man himself about what the now-immortal adidas shoes mean to him.

Jerico Mandybur: How did you feel when you learnt that adidas wanted to relaunch the original Stan Smiths?
Stan Smith: Well originally, I was disappointed to see adidas take the shoes off the market, but the strategy was to bring it back in a big way through social media and celebrity involvement. The strategy has varied in different parts of the world, and there has been quite a bit of buzz around the relaunch.  So I'm excited about what's been done in the last few months and the plans for the future!
The shoe has been a punk must-have, a hip hop staple and a piece of cult street wear merchandise. Did you ever think your name sake shoe would gain so much cultural cache? 
I had no idea in the beginning that it would ever have such a strong position with these subcultures. But over the years I've met many people in that arena who are wearing the shoe and of course, I have heard about the popularity of the shoe with all these areas, as well as with the older folks who have been wearing it for literally their whole lives. I've found that there is a large range of interest from various groups and all over the world, which is great.
How has the Stan Smith shoe changed your life?
Well, people know the name and that name has become bigger than me as a person.  It's fun to see that others have enjoyed wearing the shoe for all sorts of different reasons.
Do you believe that 'the shoes make the man?' How many pairs do you own?
I don't believe that the shoes make the man, but it does reflect someone's taste and the look they'd like to portray. These shoes are very comfortable, simple, and can go with anything casual or formal that you might wear. I probably have about 40 pairs at home.
If you were on a desert island and could only have a tennis ball, a pair of Stan Smiths, a tennis racket or a iPhone, what would you take and why? 
I would have to go with the shoes. The ball and racket wouldn't be of any use without a court. The phone wouldn't work without a network, but the shoes would keep you comfortable and protect your feet from the sand crabs and oyster shells!
Photos: adidas Originals