Troops were popular as an urban / hip-hop sneaker in the 80s and the 90s. The sneakers were endorsed by the likes of LL Cool J, MC Hammer, Ultramagnetic MCs, Stetsasonic, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Flava Flav as well as Ghostface Killah, Cool Kids, Mickey Factz and Teriyaki Boys. The sneakers were bright, bold and cheaply made. They did not necessarily last as long as other more mainstream sneakers, but they sure made a statement.
Troops sneakers were first launched into the market in 1985; the company went bankrupt just under five years later. It is not entirely clear what made Troops take such a dramatic plunge. It is hard for a small sneaker company to compete with big names such as Nike and Reebok. There were rumors that Troops closed its doors due to an embezzlement scandal and bad management. One of the most vicious rumors was that Troops was associated with the Klu Klux Klan. It is unclear where this rumor came from (although some claim it was used maliciously to take down the upstart sneaker company), but it is clear that the rumor is categorically false. Troops has absolutely no link to the KKK.
Troop was said to be an acronym for “To Rule Over Oppressed People”. People claimed that if you searched inside the lining of Troop’s sneakers, you could find hidden tags that spelled out this acronym, displaying Troop’s “true” colors. The accusation was that Troop Sneakers was actually owned by the Klu Klux Klan, and that the shoes were a KKK scheme to make money off of African-Americans. The truth is that Troop Sneakers were owned by Teddy and Harvey Held (who are Jewish) as well as William Kim (who is Korean). None of these people had any connections or business arrangements with the Ku Klux Klan.
It is interesting to note that Troop sneakers is not the only footwear company who has had this sort of problem. Rumors circulated that BritishKnights (commonly referred to as BK) was actually a cover-up name for Blood Killers. Reebok was accused of manufacturing sneakers in South Africa during apartheid; the truth is that Reebok had factories in South Africa but closed them down in 1986 in protest against apartheid.
Troop sneakers were resurrected in October 2008 under the hands of new owners. A limited number of classic Troop sneakers with updated technology were released into the market.