This post pays homage to a classic that for some reason garners from me a very appreciative, memorable vibe. It’s them Chuck Taylors of which I speak. All Stars Converse shoes have been in my life since I was a teenager and my son now wears this brand too. I LOVE Chuck’s and all the memories and events and activities that are the highest and richest vibes thus far in my life experience, have transpired with these shoes present.
They were a life saver for me when I had to take my driving test at 16 years old. I had learned to drive barefoot and felt very encumbered by a shoe near the pedals of the car – I bought a pair of red classic chuck taylors for the days I needed to do my Young Drivers of Canada practicums and my final driving test. They proved to be a very solid emblem for my confidence in doing so.
I remember my favourite blue pair were thrown overboard once on the outskirts of the Salcombe estuary, never to be retrieved or seen from again (sorry Ocean but that was not my fault and I was outnumbered) I watched as they departed from me and the subsequent feeling of crestfallen disappointment in doing so.
I managed to get my Jeep stuck off road when I was 17 on Easter Sunday when no tow companies were available, so with a few friends, some planks of wood and what became some very muddy converse shoes, I later freed my Jeep and felt so grateful to have gotten out of that jam.
There are dozens more memories I have stored up in my brain bank – the good ones you keep to get into a natural high vibe. Even a Mama Bear at 39 I have my fave purple super high tops that after a decade and a half of wear, have torn slightly and I yearn to have them stitched to repair in order to harness those good feels they bring me.
Once you dial in a pair of Chucks, they become a signature part of you and your style whether you intend for them to or not, and every pair is the same yet uniquely different.
Just like people.
There is a good and magnetic energy in these shoes and they have proven to become a timeless classic, originating in the USA in the Middlesex County Maiden, Massachusetts circa 1908. That is 110 years. There is something to be said about a product and brand that sustains that kind of longevity.
1908 was when a dialled in individual named Marquis Mills Converse founded the Converse Rubber Shoe Company.
Charles aka Chuck Taylor was an American semi-pro basketball player and a promotional salesman for Converse. He put in his two cents about the functionality of the shoe that within a year of his participation the company had implemented his suggestions for leveling up the design in terms of its support for the ankle and its overall flexibility. This reinvented shoe incorporated the ever so recognizable all star logo upon the circular patch that sits right on the ankle. The basketball player endorsed the ankle patch with his John Henry, and that is when they became well-known and recognized as the Chuck Taylor All Stars – the first ever celebrity – endorsed athletic shoe. History made.
The Chuck Taylor sneaker has withstood the cultural explosions of change and momentum yet has remained unmoved in its style, branding and popularity. The basic design of chucks converse has been consistent since the 40s. New styles have been introduced through the decades, colours, eyelets, and even glow in the dark but overall this shoe maintains a consistent resonance in good quality and simple elegance there has been no need to redesign it in its entirety, merely work off what is a simply divine design.
American Soldiers that participated in the World War trained in Converse All Stars and then post-war, these shoes were first seen on television in the 50s on The Donna Reed Show and then from there, we have seen them in tons of movies and television shows throughout history as well as many famous and influential musicians. One of my fave’s is The Edge from U2 – witnessing him jamming his magic on his guitar and tapping his foot in a stylin’ pair of new converse for me, was a very connected and good vibe.
Kids converse shoes are the cutest things to witness your little people adorn on their feet. My man just bought our little guy a new pair of converse Chuck Taylor high tops and I had serious shoe envy in that moment. There is something about this shoe that just encompasses a very solid vibe and being that it has retained its existence for over a century is a dialed in and almost curious thing to me as I have seen brands come and go. The ones that maintain have a very solid energy behind them.
In the 60s and 70s converse did lose a little of its mojo in terms of popularity with the basketball players and the last few basketball players to wear chuck Taylor sneakers were Tree Rollins, Michael Ray Richardson and Mickey Johnson. Initially a basketball shoe it then transformed to retro stylin footwear into the 80s and 90s – can’t keep a good brand down, it seems.
As of the year 2000 – 92 years in existence, converse had produced and sold over 600 million pairs. That is a solid amount of sales and a solid amount of years in the market and the reason for it? Simplicity is the key to good design. The converse shoe is not just a shoe – it is a culture and an all around epic statement about brand longevity. Inspirational vibes everywhere.
There have been varying and subtle changes in terms of the shoe with regard to the inner stitching, the ankle and heel patches, the rubber toe and canvas. All have evolved and been played with over the last century. Converse did not remain an independent company and was bought by the very affluent and famous Nike Corporation, but even still the shoe remains relatively unchanged with different styles that surface, but nothing deviating from the very original and classic design of the shoe.
So tell me, can you dig it?