Brand Icon: History of the Tretorn Nylite

Tretorn. The Swedish brand still has that country club allure, made even more exotic by the fact that they are still a bit hard to find in U.S. stores, though now seem to be reappearing. Above, an old commercial for the brand that seems to date from a 1990s revival of the brand in the U.S. Interesting that in the U.S., the brand is associated with tennis, but in Europe and the U.K., associations also include rubber and wellies.

The classic Tretorn? The Tretorn Nylite. My wife received a pair of the shoes from her fashionable sister Suzette for her birthday last week.

A bit of product info from a tag that is sewn on the back of each shoe:

The Nylite, born in 1967, reigned supreme on tennis courts around the world for over a decade. Recognized for its distinct toe shape and lightweight rubber sole, the Nylite was soon regarded as the first luxury sport shoe. Today, Tretorn brings you the Nylite in the same style as the original, created 40 years ago.

Today, the brand is apparently owned by German Puma, though that fact is hidden, so as not to contaminate one brand with another, as Tretorn is decidedly Scandinavian, just as Dunlop is British.

Recently, there has been a renaissance of interest in 1970s tennis brands; the Boast polo shirt, for instance, is also in revival.

With a legacy of Wimbledon and technological innovation with tennis balls, the Volvo of tennis shoes is everything classic that trendy Adidas and Nike are not.

Interested in classic shoe brands? Read:

Below, a 50th anniversary promo for the Nylite.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.


  1. If Puma really were smart, they would restore the quality of the original Tretorn Nylites. The current ones are expensive, but low quality. Missing items include: cushy footbed, raised heel counter (to keep the foot in when playing tennis), padded ankle collar, and padded sockliner).

    Also, the new Nylites are off-white/dingy whereas the originals were white/white.

    Puma could do great things for the Tretorn brand, but only if they restore the product quality.

  2. I was a big fan in the 80s’ – and the new version is definitely not the same. Feels cheaper – not as cushy and the strings are shorter and more flimsy. I ordered online from Macy’s and when they arrived they were an odd color, an off-white. Not so obvious indoors, but definitely noticeable outdoors.

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