Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


A conversation about Converse’s timeless shoe

All about the pioneers of the canvas high-top sneaker worn around the world by folks of every and all strokes

The Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star: nearly everyone owns a pair or has at some point in their life. Maybe you don a pair every day, or maybe they’re still collecting dust in the back of your closet from middle school.

Regardless, they are a staple shoe for anyone’s closet. No matter gender identity or age, these shoes are perfect for everyday wear and they’ve somehow managed to stay relevant for even the highest of high fashion connoisseurs. Others have come close when it comes to replicating the quintessential silhouette, but Converse will always be the tried and true.

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The iconic rubber-soled, canvas high-top sneaker first emerged over a century ago in 1917 as a basketball shoe, tied to none other than Chuck Taylor himself.

Initially, Marquis Mills Converse began his new company, Converse Rubber Shoe Company, with the production of rubber-soled winter shoes. Looking to expand, Marquis and the Converse brand turned to an appealing new market — sports footwear. Basketball had just emerged in the latter half of the 19th century and was steadily growing in popularity post World War I.

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Sadly, after Taylor’s death in the 60s, Converse hit a decline as sports footwear brands like Adidas, Puma, Reebok and Nike began gaining momentum with their technological innovations, to which Converse fell short.

By switching its target audience to everyday streetwear, All-Stars reemerged as an essential to youth culture — no amount of advertising campaigns could rival the sales followed after Kurt Cobain sported a roughed-up pair of black Chuck Taylors. Converse became synonymous with the subcultures of the world.

Over the last hundred years, the company and its popular shoe style have massively evolved with countless variations, color-ways and collaborations being turned out year after year. It is arguably one of the most universal sneakers out there, satisfying the needs of many and extending its reach into every niche social group that may exist. From Rihanna to Vice President Kamala Harris and even my 80-something-year-old grandmother, everyone can be seen wearing the fashionable and easily accessible shoes.

Sitting at $55 brand new from their official website, they are a fairly inexpensive yet durable shoe that will never go out of style. There is a color or textile variation to satisfy any curious shopper and their relative cheapness allows customers to accumulate multiple pairs for endless coordination possibilities.

Dirty from darties? They’re canvas, so toss them in the washing machine and they’ll be clean as the day you bought them. The standard canvas material is easy to manufacture, leading to so many options it may even be hard to choose — luckily you can buy multiple pairs without breaking the bank.

The ability to remain popular over time is obviously a very difficult thing to accomplish for brands. Sure, Nike and Adidas do so, but keep in mind they offer a multitude of other products outside of the footwear realm and engage in rather aggressive marketing techniques. While Converse does offer different products, the few t-shirts available aren’t particularly noteworthy.

But hey, why ruin the good thing they’ve got going? There is a Chuck Taylor out there for every occasion. Dress them up or down, no other model for a sneaker has remained classically the same for nearly as long as Converse’s All Stars have — which helps explain why every 43 seconds, someone in the world purchases a pair of Chuck Taylor All Stars!

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A shoe so old, yet seemingly everlasting, even if you are looking for something a bit more flashy or unique compared to the average pair, they have got you covered. With collaborations from the past couple years ranging from the likes of Comme des Garçons (you have definitely seen someone strut by you with a slew of red smiling hearts on the side of their high tops, but maybe now you know it comes from this Japanese fashion house collab), to Maison Margiela, Virgil Abloh (Off-White), Tyler, The Creator (GOLF) and etc.

The list goes on, including, most recently, Carhartt, with their new drop catered towards the rise in workwear (Converse also did a collaboration with Gore-Tex) and the craze for the color brown. Dior Men’s Designer, Yoo Ahn has reimagined the winter boots Converse used to produce for the United States military, way back when. And their platform high tops even offer a perfect boost for those of us not as blessed in the height department.

If you are looking for a sturdy and reliable shoe with ankle support, or maybe a statement pop of color to jazz up your drab, monotone wardrobe, or maybe a bright red pair as the icing on top of the perfect game-day-outfit, Converse offers it all.

For the adults, kids, parents and grandparents in your life, Converse high tops are a wonderful addition to any and everyone’s closet. Just be mindful of the snow or rain puddles, as the two holes on the side of the shoes that allow air to circulate might lead to wet, squishy socks!

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