(even if they've never been worn at Wimbledon)
British Major Walter Clopton Wingfield defined the rules of modern game of tennis in 1874. He called it "sphairistike" (Greek for "playing ball.") Major Wingfield converted the design of an earlier French game to one that could be played in an open field.
As to the word "tennis?" In the French game, the server announced "Tenez!" ("Look here!") and then served the ball.
In 1931, Montgomery Ward was
calling these sneakers both "tennis shoes" and "speed shoes." Maybe
they were "speedy tennis shoes?"
in wrestling and basketball, the Converse
"Chuck Taylor" All Star once had a following on the
tennis court. My friend Bobby (who had a pair of early adidas
Superstar) went on to college to play basketball. Well, he also
played on the college tennis team, and I remember him seeing pictures of him cleaning up
his opposition while wearing high-top Chucks.
Traditionally, tennis shoes are white and attract little attention. (Some professional tennis players, as we all know, love to thumb their noses at tradition.) Some frequently seen examples of this ideal:
The adidas Rod Laver was named
after an Australian tennis pro of the 1960's. The shoe is still being sold.
adidas Wilhelm Bungert was named after a German
tennis pro of the 1960's. The shoe was reissued (at least in the United States)
The adidas Stan Smith was named
after an American tennis pro of the early 1970's. He was at the peak of his career as Rod
Laver was fading away. The Stan Smith, like the Rod Laver, is still available for tennis
Nike Ace 83 is based on the state of the art
in tennis footwear in 1983.
Puma GV Special was named after a one-time
The Reebok Club Champion (also marketed as the Club C,
apparently for those too humble or too unskilled to be a "champion") is one of
their perennial best sellers. It looks very similar to the much earlier adidas
Wilhelm Bungert (see above).
The Reebok Club
C comes in blue trim for those who don't want green trim. It also comes in
yellow trim (not pictured).
personally tend to associate the classic Tretorn Nylite (Tretorn calls them "Nylite" in both canvas and
leather) with the category of "women's sneakers," but
I've seen some quite athletic men wearing them over the years!
This is the Airwalk tennis "Jim Shoe." It's made out of neon
yellow tennis ball felt. I have three specific observations about it:
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Last Updated: 18 April 2012 11:32
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copyright 1995-2012 by Charles L. Perrin.
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