Famous for the unique ventilation holes, the Spring Court sneaker were one of the first tennis shoes designed to be worn on clay. We chatted to the president of the company, Théodore Grimmeisen, to find out more about this iconic brand.
Founded in 1936, Spring Court began when Georges Grimmeisen created a vulcanised rubber tennis shoe. With a cotton upper and four distinctive ventilation holes, the Spring Court trainer was a perfect lightweight shoe for amateur and professional tennis players. Since then it has moved into the world of fashion, cementing itself as a simple and stylish piece of footwear.
Famously worn by iconic names such as John Lennon, Kate Moss and Barak Obama, Spring Court has made a name for itself as a brand that can cross boundaries and be worn in a whole number of different looks. Now owned by George Grimmeisen's son, Théodore Grimmeisen continues to innovate and bring this classic shoe into the 21st Century.
What's the first thing you do when you get to work?
I'm not a morning person, but as our brand is developing fast in Asia too I'm often scheduled to talk to someone in Asia by skype bright and early when the coffee has not kicked in yet. The technology is wonderful to talk to people at the other end of the world, it's clearly something that my grandfather didn't have and a great way of ensuring the brand heritage is shared in Asia. It's just annoying it's always early in the morning.
Where can we find you most of the day?
When I am not travelling away, you can find me in my office (which was also my father’s, and grandfather’s and great grandfather's office – and remains relatively unchanged in this time). When I have to travel around Paris I can be found on my motorbike.
Can you tell us a bit about the design of Spring Court shoes?
The look of the G2 has remained almost the same since the beginning. Of course, technology has developed since the 1930’s, which means our production methods have changed, but we worked hard over the last 3 years to develop a shoe that stays true to the original design.
How would you describe the original aesthetic of Spring Court?
The original shoe was made to play tennis on clay. It was simple, functional and made to last. It’s easily recognisable by the 4 holes of ventilation in the side sole. This combination of simplicity and functionality gave something quite pure and strong in term of design.
We feel the original design is timeless, minimalist and difficult to improve on.
What inspired the latest collection?
The Spring - Summer 17 collection was inspired by the rocks and vegetation of lost islands, coastlines worn away by the wind and the swell of the sea… It is a very organic and sunny collection. You can find pastel colours as well as organic browns. In addition to our traditional canvas and lambskin, we used new materials including crackled leather, organic goatskin leather and hessian.
Do you have any interesting facts about Spring Court?
Most people already know about the famous people who have worn Spring Court over the years: John Lennon (he wore a pair for his wedding to Yoko Ono), David Hockney, Kate Moss, even Barack Obama. Serge Gainsbourg was another fan, in fact, he wrote the music for a short TV advertisement for Spring Court in 1984, it was very short but cost a fortune!
John Lennon was famously a fan of Spring Court; do you have a favourite Beatles song?
I like almost every Beatles song, but I guess my favourite would be “Come together”, the first song on Abbey Road… You can’t easily forget the sound of that song!
Although not quite a Beatles song, "Imagine” by John Lennon is a favourite of mine for the universal message in the lyrics.
What's your favourite piece from the new collection?
I love the OLG2. We made it out of high-quality Mongolian goatskin. The OL stands for Organic Leather – we lined it with vegetable tanned leather so it’s entirely chrome free. It’s a luxury product and you feel like you’re wearing slippers. For this style, we kept the original shape of the iconic G2 but turned it into a slightly different cut to outline the personality of this new range. I guess this is one of the highest quality products we have and also the strongest, it will last a long time. I love this idea.
What are your aims for next season?
Since we took back the management of the brand, we focused all our efforts to “get back to classics” and reaffirm the style and quality of our original shoe. We want to continue this work while offering more audacious collections.
We will keep on making our collections following strong inspiration themes. FW17 will follow the style of SS17 but in a very urban way. SS17 was inspired by rock and earth; FW17 will be inspired by asphalt and concrete.
My hope for the future is that as a team at Spring Court, we will look forward, keep improving, and work hard to try and make the people around us - both inside and outside the company - as happy as possible.
Do you have any highlights from your time at Spring Court?
In 2016 Spring Court turned 80 years old. This was a significant time for us. We decided we wanted this year to be a time of rebirth for the brand. We did not shout it out loud, but we made it happen and as a team, we are quite proud of it.
The coming years will be our “young” years in this new era, our will is to grow-up slow, safe and strong.