Keds came to the USSR together with the Sixth World Festival of Youth and Students. It took place in 1957, and it was then that Soviet youth in sandals and patent leather boots saw comfortable rubber-soled shoes through the iron curtain. Soon, GOST appeared in the country for "Rubber and rubber-textile sports shoes" under the number 9155-88, and sneakers were imported to the USSR from China, North Korea and Finland.
Their sneakers appeared in the USSR in the mid-60s. They were called "Two Balls" and hit the shelves in 1965. This was one of the first Soviet-Chinese cooperation in the production of footwear. And it was a resounding success. In 1967, American journalist Bill Appridge, who came to the USSR to shoot his famous reportage Soviet Youth, captured on film Soviet youths, who polls walked in sneakers. "Two Balls" have penetrated not only sports and dance floors, but even the stage and the cultural environment. The Wolf from "Well, wait a minute!", Yuri Gagarin, basketball star Sergei Belov, Viktor Tsoi and Elektronik s Syroezhkin. The owners of "Two Balls" did not part with them even on the beach, combining sneakers with swimming trunks.
Soviet sneakers were produced in gigantic batches, while, as the founder of the modern project “Two Balls” Yevgeny Raikov notes, “they were made so high quality that we could improve them only in details”. But unexpectedly, in the late 80s - early 90s, they disappeared from the shelves.
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The team led by Raikov undertook to fix this: they found a factory where the equipment on which "Two Balls" was produced more than 40 years ago was preserved, and added new technologies to this, which provided additional cushioning of the leg and perfection of the design. “Our sneakers are interesting because they are created using reverse engineering,” says Evgeny Raikov. - It turned out that most of the old patterns and molds were lost, and we reproduced many samples from authentic sneakers that we inherited from our ancestors. Step-by-step restoration allowed us to deeply understand all the details of production, so, step by step, we restored the classics and improved many indicators."
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Reviving Soviet sneakers, Raikov's team abandoned harmful materials like PVC. Instead of gluing, they resorted to the method of hot line vulcanization, which mass manufacturers practically do not use today. As for the design, Evgeny Raikov himself dubbed it in an amicable way "a little clumsy and sometimes clumsy." "The look of sneakers reminds of a long-gone era of rough forms and good manners, and small details are designed to touch the eyes of a compatriot with their brutal lines and inserts," added the founder of the modern project "Two Balls".
So far, there are five sneaker models on sale. Their price ranges from 3.9 to 4.9 thousand rubles. And in the future, the collection will be replenished with more than ten models. “The production is not as fast and cheap as modern sneakers for the mass market. But on the way out we get those good old Soviet sneakers, "Raikov summed up.>