Stan Smith is the man. Not only does his tennis career loom large, but his eponymous adidas sneaker has an undeniable appeal with people who have never stepped foot on a tennis court. This year, adidas Originals has huge plans for the Stan Smith, and one of those ideas is re-introducing it to the skate crowd. But did you know that Stan used to skate? The details are sketchy, but the folks over at adidas Skateboarding recalled Stan as an Animal Chin-like character, whom no one has ever really seen skate, but his legend lives on.
Stan is also a cool guy to talk, too. And we did just that. To get a better scoop on how the Stan Smith translate to a skate shoe and what Stan has been up over the years, check out this exclusive interview below.
As told to Nick Schonberger (@nschon)
What's it like seeing your shoe embraced by skateboarding? Do you recall the first time you saw the shoe used for something other than tennis?
It is great to see these great athletes wearing the shoe. It demonstrates that the shoe is good for many uses. As far as seeing people wear the shoe for something other than tennis, that has been the case for over 30 years, and, of course, now it is worn for just about everything except tennis. I saw the first Stan Smith skate shoe about five years ago, and it was padded on the sides to protect the foot. Now it is reinforced inside the shoe and looks like the traditional tennis shoe in suede - pretty slick. The added piece of fuzz for the mustache has given it a special look - different from the regular Stan Smiths. I actually have worn a mustache since I was 22 or so and only shaved it off for a few months. That was when they took the photo which has been used on the shoe ever since. I guess the new skate shoe has been created to correct that.
Who is your favorite adidas skater?
Well....back in my skateboarding days, I, of course, saw the legend that is The Gonz unfurl his fury. He reminds me of my skateboarding youth! HAHAHAHAHA
Who on the team has the best style?
I'd have to say Nestor. He has embraced the mustache like only the best know how. It has been part of me most of my life and so if life has been successful. Then it would have to take some credit. I have never considered shaving it off since I did back in my twenties for a short period of time. My wife, kids, and friends would probably not recognize me if I did.
How about a few questions about the Stan Smith generally...were you ever tempted to redesign the shoe while you were playing tennis professionally?
I was tempted to suggest a little more support in the shoe to be a better performance shoe for tennis but the simplicity of it was one of its great qualities and as I said, it has been viewed, for quite a while, as a lifestyle and fashion shoe, so it doesn't need performance enhancements. It is very comfortable as well as clean, simple, and classic, and can be worn with just about anything.
I read that you now favor the Stan Smith Millennium on court, what would the ultimate Stan Smith be for you?
I have used the Millennium for about 13 years when I have played and it does have a bit more cushion which feels better when playing hard, competitive tennis.
What's next for you, Stan Smith?
I am excited about the relaunch of the skate shoe and the original Stan Smith. And I am traveling quite a bit to help this effort. There seems to be quite a buzz of all of all types of people who want the shoe. Many trendy folks seem to like the shoe. Social media has embraced this relaunch. The limited-edition adidas Stan Smith watch is good looking and has been fun to see in the market. I am also busy with my events company, tennis academy, and foundations that I am supporting here in South Carolina. The events company helps corporations entertain their partners and clients all over the world at sporting events including tennis, golf, Olympics, rugby, and football. I am trying to keep healthy and fit using a fitness trainer - playing tennis and golf so I can play tennis as long as my mother. She said she stopped playing tennis at 90 because all of her partners had died.