Dear Stan Smith(s), I Owe You an Apology

Illustration for article titled Dear Stan Smith(s), I Owe You an Apology
Photo: Shutterstock (Shutterstock)

I don’t know exactly when my disdain for adidas Originals Stan Smith shoes started. I’m guessing it was somewhere in my 20s, a time culturally defined as grown-and-sexy that featured the coolest of the cool jettisoning super baggy clothing and jerseys in favor of button-ups and lifestyle tennis shoes to match said button-ups—thanks Jay-Z. The sheer amount of Nike Air Force 1s and Those-Aren’t-Pradas-They’re-Steve-Maddens is astonishing, in retrospect. Either way, I’m pretty sure it was somewhere in the 2000s where I copped my first pair of adidas Stan Smiths. Hell, maybe I didn’t even buy them. Maybe I just tried them on in stores and was so appalled at the bowling shoe look on my feet against my baggy-esque jeans that I decided then and there that I couldn’t rock with the iconic shoe.


Oh, what (and why) are Stan Smith’s? Even if you aren’t sure, I guarantee that you’ve seen them. They’re ubiquitous. They’re a staple shoe. Everybody rocks Stan Smiths. They’re the all white, super clean adidas silhouette with the white man—Stan Smith, natch—on the tongue outlined in green and with a green heel tag that says “Stan Smith” below the adidas trefoil logo. Hell, I was watching an episode of This Is Us and one of the characters on the shoe remarked to Kevin (a main character) about his signature Stan Smiths. Everybody rocks them.

Well, that is (was) everybody except me. Again, I disdained them shits. I even went on Facebook one day to ask my community about shoes folks hated that were universally loved. My entire reason for asking this question was because of adidas Stan Smith shoes. I’ve written before about how I don’t like Jordan 3s, considered by many to be the best Jordan silhouette (for me it’s either the 1, 4 or 11). I wasn’t alone in my Stan Smith hatred. I was, however, surprised to see just how many beloved and classic shoes folks hated. That list included Air Force 1s, all manner of Jordans, Adidas Superstar (shell-toes), Reebok Freestyle (5411s), etc. Folks hate a lot of things.

Anywho, one day in March—in a COVID-19 world—I was perusing many of the various sneaker websites and apps I frequent when I’m not reading about quantum physics or writing the definitive article about definitive articles and I came across the new adidas x Pharrell Williams SS20 spring capsule. It was a collection of, maybe, 4 takes on classic adidas silhouettes like the Nizza and Campus, but also included a take on the Stan Smith that I found myself attracted to. The colorway was some sort of sail-to-light-pink tint but the light pink shoelaces put me over the top. There was something about the way the color of the shoes worked that I couldn’t shake. Even though I genuinely dislike the shoe as a rule, this particular take on it pulled me in. I went back and forth with myself for a few days about whether or not I should make the purchase. I’d hate to spend $110 on a pair of shoes that I’ll hate the minute I open the box, but you know how things nag at you until you finally just do the thing to stop the nagging? That’s what I did. I hit purchase on the adidas app and waited.

A few days later the box arrived and I was afraid to open the box while also very curious what was inside (aside from the obvious). Immediately I loved how the shoes looked. Any sneakerhead will tell you about that feeling of opening up a box of shoes and loving what’s on the inside. We all also know the other side of buying a pair of shoes and immediately regretting the purchase as soon as you see the shoes in-hand. It’s a downside to having to order so many shoes on-line; the other downside is having to find out the hard way that just because you wear a size 10 in one shoe doesn’t mean you wear a size 10 in all shoes. For instance, I’m a 9.5 in Jordans and Lebrons and a 10.5 (or even an 11 in some silhouettes) in Yeezys and some adidas Boost.

Anyway, I loved them. Which surprised me. I loved how they looked on my feet. I started wearing them more and more. I even took a picture with them on my feet and sent them to people. And then I turned a corner I never thought I’d turn. I wondered if maybe I didn’t hate Stan Smith’s. So I did what any self-respecting individual would do once he loves how something looks on his feet that costs (regularly) under $100 and needs to be sure if he was wrong—I bought another pair, with the more classic look (that I thought was black but is somehow really, really dark blue), but not the classic Stan Smith’s. And I loved them. So then I bought the classic, green-label Stan Smith’s.

And then I noticed the Disney x adidas Stan Smith collection and bought the Mickey Mouse Stan Smith’s because I needed some black and white shoes since I have so many black t-shirts (this is what I told myself; they were a birthday present to myself). If you’re keeping count, I went from hating a shoe in March to owning four pairs by June 3rd.


But wait, there’s more. I’d told myself to stop buying shoes—I went on a bit of a binge if you’ll remember—but I was on a site and saw some very colorful Stan Smith’s and I like colorful colorways and didn’t even try to stop myself. I just hit purchase and called it a day. And they’re awesome. I haven’t worn them yet. They’re pretty. So as you can see, I seem to have been wrong about Stan Smith’s. I owe them an apology. Not only did I not like them, I actively didn’t like them publicly only to find out I was mistaken the whole time.

I apologize to Stan Smith’s for disparaging what is actually a pretty fly sneaker. It never did anything to me and now it’s here for me all the time, on trips to Target and The Home Depot.


My bad. Thank you for being a friend. PJ Out.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.


IMHO...I'll just say stuff

I have always liked them because they look good with shorts, jeans and a crisp pair of chinos. I have taken AF1s out of my closet because they look like baby shoes to me now.