Our Story


Founded in California in 1966
K-Swiss was founded in 1966, when two Swiss brothers moved to California to create a footwear brand focused on tennis. As avid skiers and tennis players, the brothers took inspiration from leather ski boots to create a court shoe that supported the aggressive side-to-side movement of tennis.
Introduced in 1966, the K-Swiss Classic was the first all-leather tennis shoe. The K-Swiss Classic quickly gained worldwide acclaim and became a style statement both on and off the court. More than 50 years later, K-Swiss' modern brand mission is to outfit and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. These young leaders are at the forefront of today's culture, influencing and inspiring young people around the world.

Explore our timeline


Using functional design concepts from ski boots, the K-Swiss founders focus on supporting the lateral movement of tennis, building the K-Swiss Classic.

The K-Swiss Classic makes its debut at the Wimbledon tennis tournament.


The style and function of the iconic K-Swiss Classic makes it a staple on tennis courts, and in country clubs, around the world.


20 years after the company's founding, K-Swiss debuts its second ever style, The Gstaad.


K-Swiss is purchased by Steven Nichols, who sees potential in the 'country club' footwear brand


K-Swiss goes public, and launches a high top version of the beloved Classic.


K-Swiss is named "Company of the Year" by Footwear News magazine.


K-Swiss opens distribution in the UK and Europe for the first time.


K-Swiss was granted the patent to the D-R Cinch lacing system, a multi-ring design which gave the wearer more support during lateral movement.


The K-Swiss Si-18 International tennis shoe is honored as the "Shoe of the Year" by Footwear News magazine.


K-Swiss enters the fast growing aerobics market and premieres a line of basketball shoes, worn by NBA athletes.


K-Swiss premieres footwear styles for the walking and hiking market, expanding its reach to different types of athletes.


K-Swiss celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Classic.


Rapper Ice-T appears on The Arsenio Hall Show wearing the North Classic.


K-Swiss launched a $17M ad campaign called 'Club K-Swiss' as sales soared, prompting Footwear News to say that K-Swiss 'epitomized the little athletic footwear company that could.'


The Altezo becomes a huge hit, selling more than 1 million pairs.


Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde won the French Open in Men's Doubles wearing K-Swiss.

The Classic got its first makeover with the Classic LX, offering a thicker sole and a more refined silhouette.


K-Swiss ranked #10 on Forbes list of 200 Best Small Companies.

The 'I wear my K-Swiss' ad campaign takes over TV's in the US market, with a memorable tagline and young people wearing the Classic.

The K-Swiss ST329, with it's chunky profile, becomes a hit, driven by the baggy style of fashion of the early 2000's.


K-Swiss global sales pass $500 million.


K-Swiss announces Anna Kournikova, tennis star, as the new spokesperson for the brand.


Designed for the dynamic sport of Parkour, or street running, K-Swiss debuts the Ariake.


K-Swiss makes a push into the technical running category, gaining Best New Shoe and Best Debut honors in Running Network and Runners World magazines.

K-Swiss announces a long-term, official partnership with World Triathlon Corporation, owners of the Ironman brand.


The Blade Light Run is named Best New Shoe by Running Network.

K-Swiss introduces Tubes, a dynamic cushioning concept using tubular structures to cushion the foot.

America's Toughest Trainer, Jillian Michaels, host of The Biggest Loser, stars in a campaign to promote the benefits of Tubes.

Fictional TV character Kenny Powers of HBO comedy Eastbound & Down creates a viral ad campaign for K-Swiss, one of the most talked about campaigns of the year.


K-Swiss partners with American menswear designer Billy Reid to create a collaborative line of premium dress sneakers.


The Bryan Brothers win the Olympic gold medal wearing K-Swiss, while holding all four Majors in mens' tennis doubles.


K-Swiss is sold in 80 countries across 5 continents.


Under new ownership by Eland World of South Korea, K-Swiss begins a turnaround plan


K-Swiss selects DJ and music producer Diplo to lead 'The Board', a team of 100 young entrepreneurs making real decisions on K-Swiss' business.


K-Swiss collaborates with AAPE by A Bathing Ape, for a special and limited Made In Japan version of it's Classic 66.

K-Swiss celebrates the 50th anniversary of the company, launching the 50 Love campaign.


K-Swiss launches the Generation-K Campaign, positioning young entrepreneurs as the new heroes of youth culture, with the Gen-K Icon as the hero shoe.

Partnering with famed entrepreneur Gary Vee, K-Swiss debuts the world's first signature sneaker for an entrepreneur, the Gary Vee 001.


To celebrate Gary Vee's 5th New York Times best-selling book, Crushing It, K-Swiss creates a special version of the Gary Vee 001 which sells out in minutes.

K-Swiss returns to global growth and profitability, setting the stage for the next chapter in the brand's storied history.