Verdict from 100+ user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • A significant number of reviewers find this tennis-inspired canvas sneaker comfortable for everyday wear.
  • Several reviewers say the Keds Kickstart has a simple, versatile design that matches with many types of casual clothes and fashion tastes.
  • The lightweight sneakers are perfect for activities that involve a lot of walking like studying at school, traveling, or running errands.
  • Majority of those who have these low-top shoes like its laidback style and cute cuts that exemplify the simplicity of Keds sneakers.
  • Some customers with arch concerns are pleased with the arch support of these low-top kicks because they feel comfy.
  • The wide range of color variation is among the reasons cited by many customers for buying these low-top sneakers.
  • Majority of sneaker fans like the Keds Kickstart because of its affordable price.
  • The breathable fabric lining helps keep the feet ventilated for hours, a handful of customers have noted.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Several users comment that the lack of padding and the stiff canvas material at the back causes blisters and discomfort at the heel area.
  • Some wearers of the Kickstart sneakers from Keds say it takes some time for them to break-in the shoe before it becomes comfortable.
  • A couple of buyers experience the sneaker breaking apart after a few months of use.

Bottom line

Geared up for all-day wear, the Keds Kickstart aims for a stylish canvas footwear look while staying true to its timeless classic sneaker roots. The tennis shoe is extremely lightweight making it a reliable travel companion and for activities that require a lot of walking.

While the stiff canvas material seems to bother some users, this upper material is what keeps the feet sturdy. Moreover, the dependable cushioned footbed delivers a comfortable fit and arch support. 

Tip: see the best sneakers.

Good to know

A narrow-fitting medium width sneaker for women, the Keds Kickstart felt true to size and true to width according to most of its wearers. The cushioned footbed with breathable lining is complimented fully by a secure lace-up closure. 

Two sets of laces that include a tonal cotton lace and a white cotton lace are provided for colored variants except for the Kickstart in the white colorway. The 6-eyelet lace-up sneaker is easily tied for a complete lockdown.

Women’s fashion has evolved through the years that only timeless footwear designs like the Keds Kickstart can adapt fully well to these changes. The clean canvas upper in a multitude of colorways is easy to pair with various types of clothing. Whether you are wearing skimpy shorts or skinny jeans, these simple footwear designs blend well but also serve as a complementary accent to one’s fashion style.

The Keds Kickstart is best paired with skinny jeans and a fitted shirt for that relaxed, casual look. It can also be paired with miniskirts and shorts for that ready-to-go and sporty styling. The black, white, navy, light gray, chambray navy, and coral colorways of this tennis-inspired casual sneaker are styled hassle-free as their colors are not too overwhelming and instead are pleasing to the eyes in its subtle treatment.

Giving a comfortable feeling to the Keds Kickstart interiors are its signature Ortholite insoles that provide excellent cushioning, arch support, and lightweight feel to the sneakers. The sturdy canvas uppers also fuse exceptionally with the light rubber soles for a comfortable walking sneaker.

Keds are the old-school version of all mass-marketed sneakers in the world today. Keds first used the term sneakers on their canvas shoes that had soft rubber soles that allowed those wearing them to sneak around silently.

  The brand’s beginnings

The brand started in the U.S. Rubber Company created in 1892 as a union of several rubber companies in Connecticut producing tires, gloves and later on shoes using other brand names. In 1916, the company decided to consolidate and come up with a single name for their plimsolls. Initially, they arrived at the name Peds or the Latin name of the foot but later changed it upon finding that the name has already been registered. They settled for Keds, a Native American term for moccasins.

Among its first and bestselling designs is the rubber-soled, canvas plimsoll known today as the Champion original which was worn by champion Olympic soccer players, tennis stars and college athletes. In 1949, Pro-Keds was introduced as a line intended for athletic activities with several professional basketball players wearing the shoes.

In the 1950s, Keds enjoyed popularity because of its casual appeal and minimalist look that mixes well with a wide range of outfits. The next decades have been pretty steady regarding sales for Keds even if it changed ownership and controlled by the Stride Rite Corporation and its mother company Collective Brands Inc. The global firm also bought the Sperry Top-Sider brand in 1979. Keds is now owned by Wolverine World Wide which acquired the brand from its parent company Collective Brands for $1.32 billion in May 2012.

Over the years, Keds has remained as a forerunner in the female shoe market with the likes of Mischa Barton and Taylor Swift as its most famous endorsers. The brand also has successful TV ad runs and exposure in television shows and movies in Hollywood.

  The Kickstart and its iterations

The casual sneaker design of most of Keds designs has remained unchanged through the years with its canvas upper and solid rubber soles. In 2016, the company started rolling out Keds Kickstart canvas sneakers which instantly became a success in the women’s footwear market. Other Kickstart iterations of the silhouette include Keds Kickstart Leather, Keds Kickstart Perf Leather, Keds x Kate Spade New York Kickstart, Kickstart Perf Shimmer, Keds x Alaina Marie Kickstart Lobster, Keds x Alaina Marie Kickstart Mesh Lobster, Kickstart Mini Bright, Keds Kickstart Summer Stripe, and Keds Kickstart Pennant among others.

  • Six-eyelet lace-up sneaker comes with regular flat shoelaces.
  • Keds branding details at collar, tongue, and back heel.
  • Lightweight rubber outsole with quality grip and traction.
  • Celebrities spotted wearing the Keds Kickstart silhouette include Taylor Swift, Anne Hathaway, Miley Cyrus, and Kirsten Stewart.


How Keds Kickstart ranks compared to all other shoes
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The current trend of Keds Kickstart.
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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.