Saturday, January 29, 2011


All-Stars became popular again in the '90s as fans of the world famous grunge-punk band Nirvana emulated the band's front-man Kurt Cobain, who had worn All-Stars for many years prior to the '90s due to the influence of different punk rock bands he enjoyed in his youth. Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello was (and still is) also known for commonly wearing Chucks. U2 guitarist The Edge has been seen wearing All-Stars onstage in recent years. Jackass star Johnny Knoxville is also known for his signature black hi-top All-Stars. Snoop Dogg has also been known for regulary wearing Chuck Taylors, as well as his associated rapper/friend Wiz Khalifa.

Converse All Stars have also been seen in many movies and television shows. For example, in the movie “I Robot” Will Smith (the main character) wore a pair of classic black high tops. Also, in the television show “Chuck” the main character (Zachary Levi) wears his classic Chucks in almost every episode. The iconic shoes were also a signature of the Tenth Doctor being used in multiple colors over the series.

Today the shoes are very popularly worn by children, teenagers, and young adults of both sexes. The shoes are available in several core colors, seasonal colors, and a variety of print styles. 

Thus far, 800,000,000 pairs of Converse All Stars have been sold.

The Converse Rubber Company opened for business in the year of 1908 by Marquis M. Converse, in Massachusetts. Marquis was in his late 30s and had some earlier experience as a manager at a footwear manufacturing firm. Initially, Converse only made galoshes and seasonal shoes. 

Nine years later, however, they decided to make athletic shoes so they could have continual production all year around. As basketball grew in its popularity, the Converse Company wanted to provide the players with good basketball shoes to accompany their sport. 

The Converse All Stars were the first mass production basketball shoe in America. As a high school basketball player in Indiana, Chuck Taylor began to wear Converse All Stars and became very fond of them. The shoes were not particularly popular until Chuck Taylor adopted them as his preferred shoe. He was impressed with the design so he became the shoe's leading salesman. 

After Chuck Taylor was hired by the Converse Corporation, he suggested new ways to sew the shoe together providing more support but also flexibility. He also suggested adding the patch for the brand name. 

When Chuck's suggestions proved themselves adequate, the shoe got its current name and Chuck Taylor's signature on its ankle All Stars patch. At first the shoe was only in earth tones with black trim, but in the 1920s they came in black canvas or leather styles. 

Another change was the switch to nonslip soles. Although classic black is the most popular, Chuck Taylor was himself known to prefer unbleached white high-tops (known in his day as simply "white"). 

The Converse soon had their own industrial league where Chuck was the coach as well as one of the players. Chuck Taylor traveled all of the time promoting and advertizing the shoes and running basketball clinics. 

As Chuck's popularity rose, he attained more opportunities to create extensive themes and designs. In the 1930's, Chuck designed white high tops with blue and red trim for the 1936 Olympics (the first year basketball became an Olympic Sport). Chuck Taylor also managed to become the army's fitness consultant during WWII. 

Soon after that, white high tops became the “official” shoe for the United States armed forces. Later in 1957 the low top All Stars were created for the more casual look.

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, blacks and whites, 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.
In 1968 Chuck Taylor went into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Only a year later, Chuck Taylor died from a heart attack in Florida. 

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 a foreword by the retired college basketball coach Dean Smith. 

During the 1970's and 1980's, Converse All Stars became extremely fashionable. Even adults who had grown up wearing them, refused to give them up. The shoe became part of the hippie movement accompanied by musicians and their bands. The hippies often wore the shoes as mismatches to promote their individuality. 
Converse All Stars were no longer only a basketball shoe, but also a shoe for more casual wear that began to represent rebellion and freedom.

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