It was the early 1970s and racquet sports dominated the scene.
In Denmark there was a famous player named Erland Kops. He was winning international tournaments and making a name for himself.
But Kops couldn’t find a pair of tennis shoes to keep up with his game. Between the toe-drag of his fiendish serve and the force of his lateral movements, he was literally tearing through his sneakers.
And that’s when a tiny company in Copenhagen, Denmark set out to create the ultimate court shoe for its national hero.
On paper the concept looked promising. The shoe would have arch support, a padded tongue, hand stitching, and a unique basket-weave pattern on the outsole.
And the signature element of this new creation would be a reinforcing suede toe patch designed to protect against toe-drag and provide stability. It was this simple asymmetrical design element that would create one of the best performing court shoes of the early 70s.
Soon they opened a factory in Europe and began making the sneakers in small batches. They used a process called vulcanization to make each shoe. This process of baking the sneakers meant two things.
First each sole was melted to the canvas upper so the shoes could never come apart.
Second the fiery temperature caused the rubber soles to soften and become more flexible.
What they created was the most comfortable, durable, flexible, lightweight shoe that anyone had ever worn. To this day the company still uses the same machines and you can see the proof of vulcanization on each pair.
Remnants of melted rubber can be found on the bottom of each sole and also where the sole is melted to the canvas.
And it's a hallmark of quality, small-batch manufacturing from the glory days of European sneaker production.
By the mid 70s the sneakers from Copenhagen were being spotted on courts all around Scandinavia.
But then something unexpected happened. Word spread about the unique design and the unbelievable comfort. The little-known court sneakers from Denmark exploded and became an iconic European fashion shoe of the late 70s and early 80s. They were spotted in the discos of Paris, on the streets of Milan and on the feet of celebrities and fashionistas from London to Lisbon.
Throughout the 80s and 90s millions of pairs were sold in every color and pattern imaginable.
But like many trends, the popularity faded and by the the dawn of the 21st century the tennis shoes with the little toe patch had virtually disappeared.
On a trip to Copenhagen in 2015 an American discovered the sneakers and asked the company if he could bring them to the USA for the first time ever.
Made with only natural materials and manufactured in the same European factory for over 45 years, this timeless shoe is Europe's best kept secret.
Scandinavian design, retro appeal, quality and comfort. It's nice to finally meet you!