Chucks Relive Their Golden Age


Kailey Calvo

One of the reasons why Converse have had a surge in popularity is because of their extensive list of collaborations. Their collab with luxury brand, Comme Des Garcons, combines playfulness with a retro feel. After Travis Scott was seen wearing them in 2021, the Comme Des Garcons Converse saw a massive wave of demand.

Delaney Bolstein, Staff

From basketball players to the runways of New York Fashion Week, Converse sneakers are a cult classic among generations. Founded in 1908 by Marquis Mills Converse in Malden, Massachusetts, Converse sought to create a shoe for the new and upcoming sport of basketball. The rubber sole limited skidding on the concrete, and the canvas upper supported players’ ankles. Partly due to being one of the only basketball shoes available, Converse sneakers quickly became known as the “All-American” shoe.

However, it was not until 1922 that, with the suggestion of star player, Chuck Taylor, the sneakers began to sport the classic ankle patch. Converse reached their peak in the market during the 70s when they created a monopoly in shoes, and released the vamped-up version of the “Chuck Taylors,” Chuck 70s with a slight platform and thicker stitching. The popularity of the sneakers during the 70s can be seen in the movie Grease, in which they were used as a symbol of the gang The T-Birds’ rebellious nature.

Still, Converse wouldn’t remain a monopoly for long. During the 80s and 90s, the Converse brand was sinking into debt as companies such as Puma, Adidas, and Reebok surged in popularity. Luckily, they were soon revived by Nike’s acquisition of them in 2003. As a marketing strategy, Nike began to promote Chuck Taylors as retro and, “Tried and true.” Skateboarders gravitated to its ankle support, scene fashion kids gravitated to its edginess, and teen girls gravitated towards its “tomboy” style. Converse was mainstream again.

To sustain its popularity, variations of the classic Chuck Taylor are made to fit in with the year’s trends. In the 2010s, low-top Converse sales soared with the, “Girl Next Door” also known as the, “Twee” fashion craze which was sparked by Bella Swan’s classic black Chucks in the Twilight franchise. Converse became so popular among teens in the 2010s that in Demi Lovato’s song, “La La Land” they sing, “Who said I can’t wear my Converse with my dress? Oh, baby, that’s just me!” Now, Converse sneakers are experiencing a surge in popularity among both teens and adults.

Diverse collaborations can be partly credited to their rise in relevancy, even more so than in the 70s. Converse’s collaboration with luxury brand, Comme Des Garcons grabbed the attention of sneakerheads. Their collaboration with Tyler the Creator grabbed the attention of rap fans. Their collaboration with Rick Owens grabbed the attention of edgy teens, with a little too much money to spend. The platform shoe trend also found a home in Chuck Taylors. Chunky soles take up most of the best-sellers list and are consistently sold out.

Still, at the end of the day, the reason why Converse are the most popular shoe of all time is that they’re timeless. Scout from the 1962 film, To Kill a Mockingbird and Rue from Euphoria wear the exact same pair of black high-tops. Converse has the lasting power that no other sneaker has. Perhaps it’s their simple silhouette, their ability to adapt to trends, or their sheer nostalgia factor, but

The Run Star Hikes are a new rendition of the platform sneaker. With an insanely
thick sole and a rugged bottom, they are a textbook example of the trendiest shoe. (Photos courtesy of Converse. )
Chuck Modern was Nike’s attempt to make an upscale version of Converse. These shoes are
better worn with a pair of khakis than basketball shorts. (Photo courtesy of Medium.)
Another classic, soaring in popularity today, is the Chuck 70, loved
for its retro look, and sturdy upper. (Photo courtesy of Medium.)
The first Chuck Taylor came about when Converse hired the former basketball player
to perfect their shoe. Taylor added the iconic side logo and rubber toe cap. (Photo courtesy of Medium.)
The cult classic Chuck Taylor is
perhaps the most iconic shoe in the world. Kids in the 50s were sporting the same sneakers as
their great-grandchildren. (Photo courtesy of Converse.)
This pair of 50s
Converse rose in popularity with the creation of the NBA. It became the “it” shoe for players up
until the 80s. (Photo courtesy of Medium.)

has managed to be the most everlasting shoe of all time.