January 07 2011
The first time I saw Spring Court sneakers was in the Hamptons last summer, browsing in a men’s boutique – a staffer wore a spiffy pair of grey canvas plimsoles and unwillingly coughed up the brand when I asked (“No, we don’t sell them. They’re very hard to find”). A little research and I ferreted out a few facts: the French firm’s vulcanised tennis shoes pre-dated Fred Perry, John Lennon was a fan and the company is still based in Paris.
So the next time I was in France a few months later, I beelined for its hard-to-find store on a side street in the grimy north-east of the city. Though manufacturing has been moved elsewhere, the brand has maintained a small shop which stocks the entire range of shoes – it was an Aladdin’s Cave of understated, timeless sneakers. The firm (still family-owned, in tandem with a US licensee) has expanded the range to include new materials such as pony hair, shearling and even knitted uppers, but it was those same tennis shoes (second picture) I spotted in the Hamptons that were must-buys for me. Virtually unchanged since 1936, they’re washable, with an aerated, breathable sole. I just wish they could help me improve my backhand.
First picture: basketball boot in Japanese shirt fabric. Third picture: pony hair sneakers in dark brown.
From around €110.