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Wednesday, August 27, 2008,10:34 PM
Damon Dash loses shoe
By Christine McConville

Stride Rite Corp. has reacquired the rights to the Pro-Keds brand from financially struggling hip-hop mogul Damon Dash.

The change for the iconic, 60-year-old shoe comes a week after Dash, who once boasted that he never wears the same socks twice, reportedly may lose two of his properties to foreclosure.

Lexington-based Stride Rite insisted Dash’s financial woes had nothing to do with the rebranding.

“It was just a matter of timing,” Stride Rite spokeswoman Debra Fernandes said yesterday. “We just wanted a new direction.”

Pro-Keds was launched in 1949 as a performance athletic shoe. By the 1970s, the round-toed sneaker was synonymous with some of the biggest names in professional sports - JoJo White and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar endorsed them.

The shoe also enjoyed a cult-like status in New York City’s early hip-hop community.

In 2004, Dash, co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records, purchased Pro-Keds’ licensing rights from Stride Rite for an undisclosed amount.

cw3 The next year Dash left Roc-A-Fella, and since then several of his ventures have suffered. His reality TV show, “Ultimate Hustler,” lasted only one season, and his record label, Damon Dash Music Group, was shuttered.

cw-2 Last week, New York newspapers reported that Dash and his wife, Rachel Roy, owe $7.3 million in payments on their mortgages for two Manhattan apartments.

cw3 Stride Rite - owned by Collective Brands Inc. of Topeka, Kan. - plans to kick off the new Pro-Keds line in November. Classic styles such as the Royal and Court King will be updated with new materials and colors. It also will launch limited-edition lines in a few months.


posted by R J Noriega
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