A few weeks ago DeFY. New York featured a brand by the name of Ektio that was developed by medical doctors to prevent ankle sprains. Since that interview it got me to wondering, how far back have medical doctors been collaborating with footwear companies to come up with sneakers geared to protect players and or endorsing the shoes themselves? Now while I can’t pinpoint an exact time, after seeing this ad we know it goes back to at least the 1930’s. A brand by the name of Servus Rubber Co. had a team of doctors and former athletes (some of which were both doctors and former athletes) enlisted to endorse  sneakers designed to protect players with different needs. Further, they designed one of their shoes specifically for women’s players (something I don’t think many of us have ever seen for sneakers going back to 1930). The company was founded in 1922 and eventually would go on to manufacture boots for firefighting, electrical utilities, industry, farm and outdoor sports but unfortunately (according to this article for the QCTIMES), the parent company Honeywell (a fortune 100 company that acquired Servus during the purchase of Norcross Safety Products LLC) recently had the company shut down. Further I wanted to investigate and see exactly who these guys were that were in the advertisement and the names were pretty impressive. You had Ralph Jones ( a guy that coached basketball and football with Big Ten and NFL championships), Dr Forrest C. Allen (a basketball Hall of Famer that won a NCAA championship as head coach, Olympic gold medal, four MIAA championships and created the National Association of Basketball Coaches, which went on to create the NCAA tournament), Dr. W.E. Meanwell (another basketball Hall of Famer that won or shared four Big Ten titles with the Wisconsin badgers basketball team), and A.C. Lonborg (a former basketball, baseball and football player (that also coached football and basketball) who won two big ten basketball championships coaching and would go on to become chairman of the NCAA Tournament Committee from 1947 to 1960, U.S. Olympic team manager for the 1960 Olympics. and finally get inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame). Indeed Servus was playing zero games with any other basketball sneaker brands from the time and while the company more than likely had no influence over Ektio or other brands partnering up with doctors its quite possible that they were one of the earliest companies enlisting athlete doctors to help make better athletic footwear (or give that appearance).

servus basketball shoes 1932