The Stride Rite Corporation has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Hip-Hop Mogul Damon Dash, CEO of Rocawear clothing and Roc-a-fella records, for the distribution of men's, women's and children's footwear under the PRO-Keds(R) brand. The line will be introduced at the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas in August 2004, and will be available at retail in January 2005.

“PRO-Keds is a classic American brand I grew up with as a kid,” said Damon Dash. “It's a sneaker that's been around for years and stands the test of time and trends. I am a sneaker fanatic myself, so the possibility of combining a sneaker brand with what I'm already doing with Rocawear, Team Roc, State Property, and C. Ronson got me truly excited. I am looking forward to building PRO-Keds as we continually invent creative ways to extend our brands across all ages and ethnicities.”

“Damon Dash and his team at Roc-a-fella and Rocawear have accomplished a great deal and are clearly a leader in hip-hop. 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 Richie Woodworth, President of PRO-Keds for Stride Rite.

Woodworth continued, “RocaWear has solidified its position as one of the rising stars of the apparel business. Roc-a-fella records, with its stable of artists including Jay-Z and Kanye West, are at the top of the music business. 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.”