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« “Summer of My Wasted Youth” | Main | "And It's a Hard Fight!": Revisiting "I'm Straight" by The Modern Lovers »

November 20, 2019



In the early days of the band, they definitely wore Keds (not even Pro-Keds, just Keds!). Contrary to what may have been reported elsewhere, the Ramones never wore Sperry boating shoes, and let's thank the Rock & Roll gods for that. For one thing, it's highly unlikely they could have ever afforded them to begin with, if they even knew what they were?

Based on photographic evidence throughout the years with Tommy in the band, they all wore Champion model Keds, a simple canvas sneaker mainly marketed to women, but preferred by the band for it's affordability and convenience. Joey, Dee Dee, and Tommy seemed to gravitate toward the laced model, while Johnny was frequently photographed in the slip-on variant, as shown on the cover of their debut album and Rocket To Russia. This has all been verified by various members of the band in print.

When Marky joined in 1978, he was the one who wore Pro-Keds, which most likely contributed to the idea that the band wore Converse when in reality none of them did, at that point anyway. The styles are similar, but distinctly different as well. Also, it's worth nothing that John Holmstrom always drew Joey wearing a Converse style sneaker, further contributing to the idea in later decades. I think this was mainly due to artistic license, and perhaps because Holmstrom wore Converse himself—they were definitely more popular and recognizable than Keds, but back then neither brand was exactly touting the 'cool' factor they have today.

As the early 80s came along, the band gradually advanced to higher quality sneakers, Johnny in Nike Bruin's, Joey in Reebok's, and Dee Dee in Converse (finally!). But if we're talking about the 'classic' Ramones sneaker, it will always be a Keds Champion.


Converse also made a boat shoe in the 70’s called the Naut I. I wore them back then. Was available in blue and white, sold at Modells and other sneaker shops in NYC. Can’t say for sure unless you can get a close up of the heel tag, but it may well have been them...


Everyone who cares knows the Ramones started off wearing white Sperry/Ked type canvas deck shoes/plimsolls (with Johnny favoring the slip ons).

But it wasn't too much later after they got started that you start seeing shots of Dee Dee wearing both white Jack Purcells as well as white low top Chuck Taylors (with the occasional black hi-top), so it makes sense they started getting associated with "Chuck Taylors" at some point, with my thinking that people are usually using the term "Chuck Taylors" or "Converse" more generically, like a substitute for the word "tennis shoe". No doubt the cartoon caricatures by John Holstrom and others certainly helped cement that idea. Just my two cents on the matter...

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