Why These American Sneakers Are a French Fashion Staple

While French style is known for its sleek, sophisticated brands and classic looks, there is one seemingly bizarre standout in both high and low French fashion.

When walking through the streets of Paris, one would expect to see suede boots, satin flats, even Oxfords. But the one item of footwear omnipresent throughout the city is actually a pair of white leather tennis shoes. Known as Stan Smiths, these iconic shoes were first made by Adidas in the early 1960s. So why would the French be so keen on them?

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As it turns out, before they were called Stan Smiths, these sneakers were known as Robert Haillets, named after the French tennis player of the same name. Adidas had hope that Haillet’s good looks and European suave would give the brand a little cosmopolitan gravitas. Unfortunately, Haillet retired young, and the company was forced to find another poster boy. Enter Stan Smith.

The rest is history. And that history walks the streets of Paris every day, a perfect mixture of urban chic and upper class sportsmanship.