The Stride-Rite corporation has announced an exclusive licensing deal with Damon Dash, CEO of Rocawear clothing and Roc-A-Fella records, to distribute men’s, women’s and children’s footwear under the PRO-Keds brand. The new line will premier at MAGIC in Las Vegas and will be available for purchase beginning in January 2005.

"PRO-Keds has historical roots in the Urban Market. Connecting the PRO-Keds brand with the marketing capabilities Damon brings will uniquely position PRO-Keds for future growth," said President of PRO-Keds for Stride Rite, Richie Woodworth. "Integrating a brand like PRO-Keds, with its deep athletic and urban heritage, into this organization at a time when music is challenging sports as the key promotional vehicle in the sneaker market is a terrific opportunity," he explained.

Started in 1949 by Keds, PRO-Keds established itself as an athletic footwear line, directed principally at the sport of basketball. Nearly thirty years later, PRO-Keds has become widely recognizable as one of the biggest names in professional basketball and also became the first accepted style-sneaker within New York City’s young hip-hop community.

Damon Dash, at the age of 33, has created a hip-hop kingdom, comprised of Roc-A-Fella Records, Rocawear two film companies, Dash Films and Roc-a-fella Films, a sports management company, a non profit community outreach program and a luxury watch company.

Stride Rite Corporation markets one of the leading footwear brands for children in the United States. Stride Rite also market Keds, Sperry Top-Sider, Tommy Hilfiger, Grasshoppers and Munchkin shoes for children and adults.