Chuck Taylor All-Stars
From HoopediaChuck Taylor adopted them as his preferred shoe. He was so impressed with the design that he became the shoe's leading salesman. After proposing a few changes to the shoe, the shoe got its current name and Chuck Taylor's signature on its ankle patch.
Consumers demanded more variety from the shoe - particularly with respect to colors in order to match basketball teams - so colored and patterned shoelaces became popular to complement the two colors, black and white, available before 1966. Afterwards, more colors and styles became available. Low-top or "Oxford", high-top, and later knee-high, versions were produced. More materials were offered for the construction, including leather, suede, vinyl, denim, and hemp. Some versions of the shoe were offered without laces, held up instead by elastic. These new versions of the shoe were also co-designed by Chuck Taylor, shortly before his death in 1969.
Wearers of All-Stars admire the individuality of the distinctive colors, design, and sole of the shoe. They are available in several core colors, seasonal colors, and a variety of print styles. Fans of punk rock have adopted the shoe as a fashion trend since the late-1970s and many popular punk rock bands, such as the Ramones, have supported the trend by wearing the sneakers. All-Stars became popular again in the 90's grunge and hip hop cultures, especially in the early nineties days of G-funk and gangsta rap. There has been a recent re-adoption of them in modern hip hop and emo culture.
Despite the major setbacks for Converse in recent times, the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star is the most successful shoe in history, and has enjoyed recent popularity thanks to a resurgence of old school trends. By the turn of the 21st century, over 750 million pairs have been sold worldwide. They no longer seem to be worn by their original target market of basketball players (at least not in the professional sphere) who have moved on to more modern shoes, but instead they are now marketed to the mainstream teenager. Some are so enthusiastic about the sneakers that they have a vast, ever-growing collection. They are also quite influential in pop-culture; Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars have been popular for decades in the American punk and indie rock scenes, and Hollywood has popularized Chucks in countless motion pictures.
Since the turn of the century, especially the last 2 years, Converse have become increasingly popular, with a growing market. Originally seen as being worn by those in to a rock music scene, the market is growing to various, younger scenes, whether it be based on a sub-culture (rock still being popular, especially with the growing emo scene) the Chuck Taylors are becoming more popular with hip hop scenes and pop music scene or even just fashion. Many Chuck Taylor owners are those who have owned the shoes in the past, and most own more than one pair, as recently many more colors are now produced than before.
Although Chuck Taylors are, along with Dr. Martens, still closely associated with punk fashion, punks have been the target of criticism for wearing a shoe that is ultimately manufactured by Nike, a capitalist corporation that is widely known to produce their shoes in third-world sweatshops. Because of Nike's practices, wearing Converse shoes is at odds with punk's general association with left-wing politics, particularly anarchism and some forms of revolutionary socialism. This criticism has also come from within. Many punks now wear sweatshop-free imitations, such as those made by the Blackspot Anticorporation or No Sweat Apparel, so as to avoid such an ideological conflict.
- A full biography of Chuck Taylor was published by Indiana University Press in March 2006 under the title Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man Behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History, with Foreword by Dean Smith.
- Also referred to as Converse All Stars, Cons, Connies, Chuckers, Chucks, Chuckie T’s, Stars, All-Stars, High-Tops, Chuckie McFahtz, Chucker Boots, Old Schools, or simply as Converse(s).
- The Converse website features a section where you can design your own Chuck Taylors. Features include different colors, writing on the heel stripe or outside low rear, shoelaces and body colors.
- The Guinness Book of World Records states that as of August 23, 2006, the world's largest collection of Converse Shoes is held by Joshua Mueller of Lakewood, WA (USA) consisting of 403 unique pairs. Converse All-Stars make up the bulk of the collection.
- Jackass Number Two has also released a line of Converse.
- In Los Angeles, Chucks are used to claim a certain gang, usually through the colors or the shoelaces.
- Dempsey Hovland's world-famous female barnstorming basketball team, the Texas Cowgirls (1949-1977) was endorsed by Converse and officially wore Chuck Taylor All-Stars on the court. The team opened for NBA teams and the Harlem Globetrotters. The pre-WNBA team competed against men's teams winning 70-80% of their games around the world.