created in 1916 the original keds canvas sneaker was named for its silent rubber sole; excellent for sneaking up on the unsuspecting. i wish i’d know this bit of information in november 1972 when i came home from college for thanksgiving wearing my size seven all time favorite red keds blue label oxford champions. my little toes poked out of holes worn through on the sides.

the white rubber trim was all but gone on the edges , the backs were completely broken down from being stepped on so that the shoe could easily be removed without the need for untying the laces. my mother was appalled. honestly, deborah, i think we can afford to buy you a new pair of shoes she declared. i like these, i replied. always one concerned about “presentable” shoes and under garments the thought of me being seen in public wearing these was more than she could bear. just before i returned to school the shoes disappeared. no one seemed to know anything surrounding the circumstances. obviously, someone had sneaked up on me. i was not pleased. that christmas they reappeared; gift wrapped. and bronzed! they’re not too good for sneaking up on the unsuspecting anymore but they are still, 40 years later, my all time favorite sneakers.

Katie Pertiet:
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