The Californian All Star


  There are few things more Californian than the ever-versatile Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker. Maybe you think they’re just another material thing of capitalistic glory, but the reality is so much more than that: a totally humanistic thread that connects people from literally all walks of life... and makes them look good while doing it!

  Everyone here either owns are has owned a pair of Converse sneakers in their lifetime. Pick out any random passerby on the street and they’ll probably agree. What’s more, a single pair of Converse is known to contain hundreds of little stories in the form of scuffs, skids, scrawling doodles, intricate drawings, and if they’re old enough probably a wear here and a tear there. Stories are the foundation of the human experience, and Converse sneakers provide a perfect canvas.

   The beautiful thing about this enthralling fashion statement is that it doesn’t really trend with just one group. Young, old, and in-between: Converse are worn by punks, hipsters, preps, jocks, entrepreneurs, and professionals alike. They’re a cultural icon, totally timeless, and they’ve made their mark on American fashion and style.

   Chuck Taylor All Star shoes have a long history, which is no surprise since they’re the oldest and most popular sneaker to date. The very first incarnation was created in 1917 as a basketball sneaker, and it came originally in natural brown colors with black trim. Starting in the 1920s, Converse All Stars were primarily made of all-black canvas or leather. It was the first basketball shoe to be mass-produced in North America, and sales didn’t really catch on until American basketball player Charles “Chuck” H. Taylor came into the picture.

    Chuck loved the shoe so much that he joined the Converse sales force and went on to heavily promote the shoe, going as far as creating and coaching the company’s industrial league basketball team. Chuck also had an influence in the design of the shoe, and it wouldn’t be the sneaker we know today if it wasn’t for his innovations. Chuck was so integral to the development and sales of the shoe that the company renamed it in his honor: and the Chuck

    Taylor All Star sneakers were born! They caught on with the American public, enjoyed spotlight in the 1936 Olympics, and went off on the feet of courageous GIs training in WWII. Chuck himself was a captain in the Air Force, and helped boost troop morale by coaching regional basketball teams.

    Eventually, these iconic shoes became an integral part of baby boomer counter-culture, and it’s moved from generation to generation, having become a part of counter-culture imagery itself.  And as we know, Americans are fascinated by rebellious youth and revolution. Chuck Taylor All Stars are just as popular with the general public as it is with counter-culture, and over half of all Americans either own or have owned a pair in their lifetime. That’s the true beauty of Converse: their ability to connect people from all walks of life, which they’re sure to continue to do for years and years to come.



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12 Feb 2016

By L.A. Smith