WILT CHAMBERLAIN IN THE ORIGINAL CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR;
THE NEW CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR II HI-TOP
Last week’s introduction of the new Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II was met with excitement, apprehension, and curiosity. Chuck Taylors are an American staple. There is a pair in almost every closet — young and old, rich and poor, famous and unknown. They are the original basketball shoes — the sneakers in which Wilt Chamberlain famously scored 100 points in 1962. One wondered, how could a legendary shoe with such history, popularity, and a dedicated following possibly be in need of an update. Didn’t Coca-Cola learn its lesson in 1985, introducing “New Coke” to such disdain and anger they had to return to the original “Classic Coke”?
Before American iconography and basketball heroes, there was 47-year-old Marquis Mills Converse, who in 1908 opened Converse Rubber Shoe Company in Malden, Massachusetts. Not until 1917 was the All Star basketball shoe introduced, and a few years later in 1921, basketball player Charles “Chuck” Taylor went to work for the company. Taylor became an ambassador for Converse’s All Star basketball shoes. Within a year, his suggestions to change the design of the shoe to provide enhanced flexibility and more support were adopted. In 1932, the All Star signature patch was added to the classic, high-topped sneakers and they became known as the Chuck Taylor All Star.
CHUCK 2 LO-TOP; KRISTEN STEWART IN 2009 MTV MOVIE AWARDS IN THE ORIGINAL ALL STARS
Nike bought Converse in 2003 for $305 million cash and the brand has become one of the biggest sources of revenues for the company. Converse sales approached $2 billion in 2015, according to The New York Times. Smart enough to recognize the mistake Coke made replacing a beloved product with a new one, the Chuck Taylor All Star II is simply an addition to the line, and the original is still available.
What is new about the Chuck II is Nike technology: the foot-bed is a Nike Lunarlon liner, there is a padded non-slip tongue, and a breathable soft micro suede lining. The thin canvas, the readily worn and torn fabric we’ve come to know and love, has been thickened up, making the sneaker more durable, although more difficult to achieve the disheveled grunge aesthetic synonymous with the original Chucks. The All Star II is about comfort. From a style point of view, gone are the contrasting stitching and laces. The Chuck IIs have evolved with a more modern monochromatic look.
So while we loved the old classic, we are kind of digging the new flavor, very happy that both are available for All Star fans. Buy one, buy both, the choice is yours!
by Danielle Braha