Petit Bateau t-shirts, Levi's and Kickers are all part the French childhood wardrobe that, despite the changing fashions, remains close to the French consumer's heart. With their almost child-like unisex appearance, Kickers are celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2010.

Kickers shoes

Kickers may be taken for granted today, but in 1970, when their rounded soles first appeared on the Parisian cobblestones, they caused a small revolution. Immediately following the French social upheaval known here as May (19)68, the younger generation all went for bell bottom jeans and rainbow colored shirts, but had no shoes that matched their newfound freedom.

Daniel Raufast, the head of E. Raufast and Sons, a children's shoe business, made this precise observation when he saw the poster for the comedy musical, Hair; i.e., he noticed that the actors were all dressed in the style of the moment, but that the "non-existence" of shoes matching their look obliged them to pose barefeet.

He decided to create a model that would respect the new generation's dress code. In order to do so, Raufast and his designer, Jacques Chevallereau, came up with the idea to transpose the strengths of their flagship piece of the moment, the jean, to their shoes.


They used visible stitching, button holes and even the "tab" - the famous small red tab attached to one of the jeans back pockets - in making their shoes, and their designs went against the Oxford and other old-fashioned, high-maintenance footwear of the time.

Taken from the verb "to kick", Kickers quickly swept the competition out of the market and became the must have of the moment. Their bi-color design (recalling the rainbow-colored shirts of the 1970s), ultra easy maintenance (with soap and water), as well as their undeniable comfort made them the ideal partner for blue jeans and the desire for freedom of the younger generation.

Kickers shoes

Kickers were intended for adults; but Raufast and Chevallereau, as an inside joke about their company's original customer, the child, distinguished the right shoe from the left with a red and green discs placed on the soles. This childlike detail won over the thirty-something's who liked to think of themselves as overgrown children.

From 1970 to 1980, the profits generated by their Kickers exploded (going from 10 to 330 million francs), and their collections diversified: the brand now offered numerous models of sandals and low boots.

However, their golden era did not last and the 1980s proved difficult. The new generation of was wearing Converses and Kickers gradually became obsolete. The brand that had begun with children's shoes in the 1970s now went back to concentrating on that market.


In 1989, the Zannier group purchased the company and attempted to win over the teens again with new products, but the strategy failed. It was not until 2002 and the arrival of Manfred Geserick, formerly of Chevignon, as the creative director that the brand started to come back.

He dared to debunk the mythic Kickers by polishing them, decorating them with flower prints, or producing them in monochrome white leather. The former Beaux Arts (the famous Paris Fine Arts University) student succeeded in giving new life to the brand. He also made other changes that quickly proved bankable: men's and women's shoes were differentiated, and the models became more urban (e.g., boots, pumps, etc).


In 2007, Kickers changed hands again. This time, the Royer group became the new owner. Given Geserick's excellent track record, Royer decided to keep him on as creative director. Kickers continued its evolution, with its ambition to offer original models corresponding more to the consumer's needs while continuing to emphasize its heritage. This winter, the brand will reissue most of its flagship models, beginning the Kick Legend and the Kick Rallye.

By recently launching a line of leather goods and children's prêt-a-porter, Kickers is attempting to prove that despite its 40 years, it remains a dynamic brand in perpetual evolution. Constantly mixing new ideas with their vintage pieces, the brand seems to have the potential to win over the new generations and to keep their older fans.

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By Coco in Labels

1 comment

chiricaromeo 02 novembre 2011 à 09:45
hi, my name is chirica romeo ,make shoes for kickers by 2005,in my factory and i like to know you.