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In 1916, the Keds brand was introduced by the U.S. Rubber Company as the first national athletic and lifestyle footwear brand. At this time, the shoes were called sneakers, a term invented in late 1916 because the rubber soles made the shoes quiet. Worn by Olympic soccer players, scores of National and International tennis champions, and many college athletes, Keds was coined the shoe of champions because of its reputation as America's premier athletic brand. Not only was Keds a leading athletic brand, it was also the brand of choice for leading style icons due to its classic, stylish, and authentic characteristics.