In 1949, Keds introduced the PRO-Keds brand of basketball shoes, and by the 1970s, the PRO-Keds Royal had transgressed its function as an athletic shoe and become an important accessory in the New York hip-hop scene. Like the Converse All Star, it featured a breathable, durable canvas upper and ankle patches bearing the brand name. The shoes also included distinctive red and blue “powerstripes” across the foxing (the strip of rubber bonding the edge of the outsole to the upper) that made it easily identifiable.
United Rubber Company, Keds PRO-Keds Royal Hi, ca. 1970s / Northampton Museums and Art Gallery, 2011.138 / Photo: Ron Wood