PRO-Keds Royal Plus Suede History
From the ball courts of yesteryears, way back in the 1940s, the PRO-Keds turns up today on the high-streets as one of the favored sneaker brands with the compelling vintage appeal. Its low-top PRO-Keds Royal Plus Suede creates a strong bond with those who advocate simple silhouettes, classic aesthetics, and tasty tonal selections which are not difficult to fuse with any casual wear.
The original version of this shoe was merely called the PRO-Keds Royal that debuted in 1949 with a simple blue canvas and tacky rubber sole. It was PRO-Keds’ first performance shoe dedicated to basketball which arrived on the hardwood a little later than the Chuck Taylor All Star.
As avid followers of the Chucks would know, this high-top Converse sneaker with protective ankle patch was a celebrated ball shoe during that time that bears a resemblance to the PRO-Keds Royal high cut profile.
The PRO-Keds Royal was popularized by one of the early legendary icons in the NBA games George Mikan. He was a towering figure that guided the Minneapolis Lakers (now known as the Los Angeles Lakers) to five coveted titles during his time. Mikan’s popularity led him to become PRO-Keds endorser with the Royal canvas as the first shoe he campaigned under the utilitarian sneaker label.
The original model beamed with double heel cushion, plus added reinforcement inside to prevent the feet from getting easily bruised, heel-to-toe muffled insole, and pivot pads that guided the feet during lateral movements.
It didn’t take long before the PRO-Keds turned out as a reputable brand of professional basketball shoe. Specifically, in 1972, the Royal Plus turned out to be a favored sneaker by top athletes. And while maintaining its appeal in the NBA, its style gradually migrated into streetwear fashion as its simple, low profile silhouette became a coveted choice among b-boys in Harlem and Bronx.
It may have exited from the ball court in the succeeding years, but it managed to stay active as a streetwear style staple which has gone through several retro fittings using leather and suede in place of the original canvas cover. The PRO-Keds Royal Plus Suede is one of the modern updates of this basketball shoe heritage that radiates with its clean and retro-sporty aesthetics, highlighted by a combination of suede and leather trim.