What Was the First Sneaker Brand?
Converse and Keds are the two earliest noted and still extant sneaker brands; Converse created rubber soled athletic shoes in 1908, 8 years before Keds made its debut in 1916. However, according to a 2010 article from 'The New York Times,' there is evidence that rubber soled athletic shoes existed as early as the 1830s, though they may not have been mass manufactured under a single brand name.
Though rubber-soled shoes may have existed before Keds came on the scene, that company claims to have coined the term 'sneaker' to refer to soft, rubber-soled shoes that could allow the wearer to sneak up on people without being heard. From this perspective, it could be said that Keds is the first official sneaker brand.