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The Quintessential American Sneaker

A Brief History Lesson

Chuck Taylor Classic Colors Black Low Top
Chuck Taylor Classic Colors Black

Whew, finally I don’t feel like I’m going crazy. When I was growing up rubber soled athletic footwear was called tennis shoes. I’m not sure when I began to notice these shoes being referred to as sneakers but I do know that the people in my circle using this term were younger than me so I was thinking I crossed over into another generation. Not that we had many in-depth discussions about tennis shoes but when the subject came up and I found myself about to utter the word ten… I’d quickly change it up to sneakers.

So the other day I got into a conversation about Converse which propelled me to research the topic. I was so glad to find out that the terminology for tennis shoes, sneakers, trainers, and athletic shoes is used interchangeably and refers to rubber soled footwear worn for exercise, athletic activities, and street wear.

Chuck Taylor Classic Colors White Low Top
Chuck Taylor Classic Colors White
Chuck Taylor Fresh Colors Poolside
Chuck Taylor Fresh Colors Poolside

Anyway, back in the 70s Converse All Stars were a huge deal and for some baffling reason I can’t remember if I’ve ever owned a pair. I guess this means I’m one of the 40% of Americans who do not have, nor ever owned a pair of Converse (but again my memory is a little foggy). But I figured since I’m always going on and on about heels that I should at least dedicate some time to athletic shoes and specifically Converse in part because of their rich history.

True Staying Power

  • 1908 Converse Rubber Company opens for business
  • 1917 The first All Star basketball shoe is produced
  • 1921 Chuck Taylor joins the All Star sales team
  • 1932 The Chuck Taylor All Star was born
  • 1949 The classic black and white high top was introduced
  • 1957 The low-cut All Star was introduced
  • 1960s Roughly 90% of all college and professional basketball players were wearing Chuck Taylor All Stars
  • 1968 Charles H. ‘Chuck’ Taylor was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame
  • 1969 Chuck Taylor passed away
  • 1970s Converse manufactured chucks in prints, patterns, unusual colors, and special models for different age groups.
  • 1980s & 1990s were rough times for Converse
  • 2001 Converse filed for bankruptcy and operations moved overseas
  • 2003 Nike buys Converse
  • Over 800 million Chucks have sold in their lifetime
Chuck Taylor Classic Colors Charcoal High Top
Chuck Taylor Classic Colors Charcoal
Chuck Taylor All Star Floral Print Black & White High Top
Chuck Taylor All Star Floral Print Black & White

Chuck Taylor can only be described as a Converse Ambassador because he loved the shoes and as testimony to this when he began working with Converse he traveled all across the U.S. holding basketball clinics and expounding the virtues of All Stars. The company fared very well during his lifetime in part because of Chuck’s passionate dedication.

Despite all the innovative changes within the athletic shoe industry the basic silhouette from 1949 has remained the same–now that’s staying power.

Chuck Taylor Dainty Ballerina Black
Chuck Taylor Dainty Ballerina Black

Though I can’t remember if I’ve ever had a pair of Chucks I do plan to get at least one pair so I can scratch this off my bucket list. I like the black and also the white low top canvas shoes and to achieve the perfect sporty chic look all you need to do is wear these shoes with a pair of cuffed blue jeans.

  • Low Top Canvas | Black with White Sole
    The Chuck Taylor All Star is the most iconic sneaker in the world, recognized for its unmistakable silhouette and cultural authenticity. And like all like the best paradigms, they only get better with time. Find here the classic colors that have donned its low top canvas upper for generations, all resting on top of a quality vulcanized rubber sole. It is the sneaker you choose to do whatever you want in.
  • Low Top Canvas | White with Red and Blue pinstripe lining the sole
  • High Top Canvas | Charcoal with White sole and black pinstripe lining the sole. The Chuck Taylor All Star high top is the most iconic sneaker in the world, recognized for its unmistakable silhouette, star-centered ankle patch and cultural authenticity.
  • High Top Canvas | Black & White Floral
    The floral design on this shoe is sketch-like in appearance and looks like a work of art.
  • Low Top Canvas | Dainty Ballerina Black with White toe/sole and black pinstripe lining the sole. Shoe has a little shoestring detail at the heel.
  • Low Top Canvas | Fresh Colors (Poolside a light greenish blue)
    So many choices it’s going to be hard to choose just one. The Chuck Taylor All Star Fresh Colors Canvas sneakers are exactly that. Simply combining the iconic low top Chucks with more colors than you knew about. The canvas outsole is freshly painted with metal eyelets popping through. All resting on top of a quality vulcanized rubber sole. No one will blame you for getting more than one pair.

Have a wonderful weekend!

“You know you’re old when someone compliments you on your alligator shoes, and you’re barefoot.” ~Phyllis Diller

4 thoughts on “The Quintessential American Sneaker

  1. In the mid ’50s, we wore Kedds sneakers, which had 100% cotton canvas tops. “Tennis shoes” was a term I associated with rich kids. The only pair of Converse sneakers I ever had came with my college gym suit in ’68 & lasted long after graduation. Thanks for the informative and nostalgic post:)

    _____

    1. I remember Kedds and I’m sure I had some of those I just can’t remember if I ever had Converse or not. I know my brother did mainly because he was a basketball fanatic.

  2. Wow, what an informative post! I remember my Converse. =)

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