Tag Archives: Keds

Keds Display Ideas. 1940

It seems like someone is always trying to sell us something. With the internet and companies tracking our every click, we are subjected to targeted ads everytime we open a digital device. Websites we visit are covered with display ads.  There’s nothing subtle about it.

Stores have always known that to sell a product, the consumer has to notice it. Store windows have been designed to draw people into stores, and once in the store, displays are set up to attract attention. It’s true today, and it was true in 1940,when the footwear manager of sales at Keds sent out a portfolio of suggested ways to promote Keds in windows and in the stores that sold them.

As you will see, there was a central theme that stores were being encouraged to emphasize. Can you spot what the theme is?

All the displays were built around several counter display cards like the two seen above. I’ll guess that the cards were a part of the display package that included my display booklet. The above display was titled Gardening and Leisure.

Vacation and Camp features a counter card with hikers. I wonder where they got that little tent.

Keds are also great for leisure hours, but who in their right mind thought doing laundry in a wringer washer was part of leisure? It’s obvious that Mr. Adman never did a load of washing in one of those monsters.

The booklet also had suggestions for the Kedettes line of shoes. Kedettes was still made of canvas, but were a step dressier than sneakers. Here’s the consumer is reminded that Kedettes go well with one’s playtogs, like that playsuit.

There was even a display suggestion for the piece goods department.  I really wish these photo were in color. I’ve seen these shoes in vintage magazine ads and they are so bright and colorful.

There were also suggestions on how to pair Kedettes with hosiery. Somehow I can’t quite picture these comfortable shoes paired up with a girdle and stockings, but then I’m looking at this through modern eyes and a more casual mode of dress.

So, if you were so busy admiring the photos that you forgot to think about the common theme, it is washable, here spelled out in washing powder. So that explains the washing machine in the leisure display, and the tub of cotton suds and tiny washboard.  I can’t imagine putting these shoes in a washing machine, as was implied, as a gentle hand wash is all I’d dare expose my Kedettes to!

Added 1941 ad:


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Shoes

Keds Hand-book for Girls, 1923

Sometimes I wonder how things like this little booklet survive.  Published in 1923, the girl who originally owned it would now be in her hundreds.  Was it put in a box, stored in an attic for people to find at an estate sale?  And why was such a trivial bit of paper not thrown out years ago?

I should be glad that many people have a tendency to save things.  If we all threw out everything that was not of use then a lot of our history would simply be lost.  Of course 91 years ago children did not have the massive amounts of things that children have today.  Even a little booklet, given free with the purchase of a pair of shoes, might be treasured.

The booklet is 48 pages of miscellaneous information, plus one page of advertising the sponsor’s goods.  The styles shown are interesting because of the variety of Keds available for girls.  I love the cross-strap Mary-Janes, and picture them in red canvas.  And the third pair down is identical to a style that was made for boys.  It’s good to know that they were also made for girls.

There is no rhyme or reason to the choice of entries in the booklet.  These pages have games alongside chores and recipes.

I had no idea that 161 “girls” died in World War I.

The tiny illustrations on the cover show girls doing activities from the booklet.  It looks like Keds are good for reading and cooking as well as for tennis and canoeing.



Filed under Shoes

Ad Campaign – Kedettes, 1950

This Kedettes ad from 1950s is interesting because of what it does not say.  There is virtually no ad copy, only the styles, the prices, and a note that the shoes are washable.  But read the illustration, which says that Kedettes are just right for a casual date at the soda shop.

You might have noticed that colored rubber soles are pretty hot right now.  You see them quite a bit on athletic shoes, of course, but makers of street shoes, like Cole Haan have added them to oxfords  and loafers.  It rather nice seeing the same trend from 64 years ago.  There really isn’t much new under the fashion sun.



Filed under Advertisements, Shoes

Ad Campaign – Kedettes, 1953

I did promise to feature shoes this month in the ad campaign, and so now I’m making good on that promise.  Kedettes was a division of the United States Rubber Company’s Keds brand, making canvas and rubber casual shoes for women.

Some of the shoes in the ad look a bit dowdy to me, but have you ever seen a cuter thing than that Gay Espadrille?  The shoes came with two sets of laces – one to match; one to contrast, and they were available in twelve different colors.  They actually made it for several years in the early 50s, so why is it that I’ve never found a pair?

A few years ago Keds had a collection based on updated versions of the old Kedettes of the 1940s and 1950s.   Most of them had 2 -3 inch wedge heels , which lessened the appeal to me considerably…


Filed under Advertisements, Shoes

Ad Campaign – Keds, 1922

Keds were first made in 1916, and their only product for the 95 years of their existence has been shoes.  So it was a bit of a surprise when they announced the release of a line of clothing.  It would be, of course, sportswear, as Keds has always been a maker of classic sneakers.

The line is currently being sold at Opening Ceremony in their stores, and online.  It is pretty much what you would expect, primarily sportswear basics such as tee shirts with pants, shorts and short skirts.  But there is also some outerwear and a few dresses.  I was pleased to see that the tee shirts and a few other items are  made in the USA, which was a bit of a surprise as Keds themselves have not been domestically produced for a good many years.  (Be careful if shopping, as the little American flag means only that the company is American owned.  To see the country of manufacture you have to click on the “Details” tab.)

It is a mystery to me why the made-in-China items are so expensive.  I have not seen these in person, so the quality might be extraordinary.  I hope so, because $150 for a pair of poly blend shorts seems to be a bit much.  Anyway my favorite pieces are USA made – the brown and beige ribbed turtleneck and the little white crew-necked shell are great, and I’ll even admit to liking the Keds logo sweatshirt.  But for the most part, I’m really not impressed.

Now, the shoes above are what impress me.  These are the ones in the 1922 ad, and I’m happy to say they are a part of my collection.


Filed under Advertisements, Collecting, Shoes

A Freedom …We Never Knew Before

For a very long time I’ve been trying to find a pair of early Keds.  I  have even  been looking for the ads thinking I guess that if I couldn’t have a pair, at least I could look at pictures of them.  From time to time a pair will come up on ebay, but the condition is usually very poor, and then they always go sky-high anyway.  I almost broke down and bought a pair of keds-wanna-bes that I found in an antique mall, but the same two-fold problem presented itself – they were in terrible condition and priced at $75.

Last week a fellow VFG member had a pair of 1920s canvas shoes which I gladly bought from her.  Imagine my surprise and extreme delight when they arrived today:

That’s right!  They are Keds, and even better, I have an ad from 1922 that features them:

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Filed under Shoes, Sportswear

Happy Birthday to Keds

This ad is from 1919, and Keds had been around only three years.   The US Rubber Company developed Keds as an athletic shoe, but you can see from this ad that they also had more formal styles.   And while US Rubber didn’t invent the athletic shoe, Keds was the first major brand that was marketed nationwide.   The term “sneakers” was actually coined by Keds in an advertising campaign; the term stressing  the quietness of the  rubber sole.  As for the name, the company had wanted to use “Peds” for the name of their new product, but that was owned by another company, so they settled on “Keds” which is thought to be a combination of “kids” and “peds”.

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Filed under Shoes, Sportswear