February 7, 2017

Forever Chuck: Exploring the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Family

The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star is a testament to effortless cool with an impressive history. Transitioning from the athletic arena to the casual spotlight in the mid-20th century, it has remained a symbol of individual style ever since. Its ubiquitous presence on the feet of musicians, artists and rebels has ensured that it’s synonymous with counter-culture. Truly, the sneaker has transcended being just something you wear, and instead become a physical embodiment of the creative spirit.

By infusing the Chuck Taylor with modern innovations such as Lunarlon cushioning and Hyperfuse construction, Converse continues to improve the iconic silhouette without losing the authenticity that’s hard-coded into the original design. Now, the Converse All Star’s century-long legacy is represented by the four key models that make up the Chuck family. Offering iterations, but never deviations, each version is an evolution – but the differences that make them unique might not be instantly obvious.

Chuck Taylor All Star: The Beginning

This is the one that started it all. The simple basketball silhouette that bore the Chuck Taylor co-sign was the humble seed that grew into a style icon. Introduced in 1917, the high-top quickly rose to on-court supremacy – with Americans adopting the shoe as their preferred footwear to ball in. Although it may seem modest in comparison to the feature-packed kicks of today, at the time, the All Star was equipped with some serious technology. With medial eyelets that ensured ventilation, a durable vulcanised rubber sole and branded patch for ankle protection – the Chuck Taylor offered an edge on the hardwood. It’s hard to understate the impact that the beloved sneaker had on basketball – by the mid-60s it was on the feet of more than 90 percent of college-league and professional players.

Still, it wasn’t just athletes that flocked to the canvas sneaker. Its understated form made it the perfect partner for slim denim, and it quickly fell into favour with the creative set. Both artists and musicians alike adopted the All Star as a fundamental component of a style that signified carefree rebellion and independent spirit. The durable sneakers could take a beating on stage, and the iconic shape looked great with a few scuffs and stains. To this day, you’ll still find the instantly recognisable shoe on the feet of the biggest names in art and music.

The Chuck Taylor All Star is available from Converse now.

Chuck Taylor All Star ’70: The Throwback

The next member of the Chuck family is the All Star ’70, lovingly recreated to the specs of the 1970s court iteration of the high-top – this is one for the true connoisseurs. Built from 12oz organic cotton canvas, the robust upper is designed to endure rough rides without showing signs of fatigue.

The throwback sneaker features high rubber siding, an updated Ortholite cushioned footbed for extra comfort and a period correct Chuck Taylor license plate on the heel that denotes its retro pedigree. A keen eye will also notice the semi-gloss finish on the off-white rubber toecap, and the 70s-style packaging that accompanies the shoes. While this build of the All Star pays homage to its glory years on the court, these days you’re far more likely to find it on the feet of discerning collectors than on the hardwood.

The Chuck ’70 is available from Converse now.

Chuck Taylor All Star II: The Sequel

Released in 2015, the Chuck II was the highly-anticipated sequel to the Chuck Taylor All Star. A reimagining of the classic that’s been reengineered with modern technology, the result is a sneaker that stays true to its original design while still maximising comfort wherever possible.

The upper construction was updated with Tencel canvas, and lined with breathable microsuede. This, combined with the memory foam collar and Nike Lunarlon insole, ensures that the fit and cushioning of the Chuck II is unparalleled – without sacrificing the classic silhouette. Aesthetically, the II was refined through a minimalist approach that stripped away contrasting details for a contemporary finish. If you’re looking for a sequel that’s just as good as the original – if not better – then look no further.

The Chuck II is available from Converse now.

Chuck Taylor All Star Modern: The Evolution

Rounding out the All Star quartet is the new Modern Lux. A triumph of contemporary technology, this take on the staple Chuck rebuilds it from the ground up – without altering that winning formula. Boasting microsuede lining and taped seams, this is a lightweight build of the sneaker you know and love. Perhaps the biggest update to this shoe comes in the form of the new full-length Phylon sole unit – a change that shaves precious grams from the total weight, without a loss of comfort and stability.

Elsewhere, the medial eyelets have been removed from the mono-leather upper, as have the foxing tape and raised license plate on the midsole – resulting in a completely streamlined build. The iconic ankle patch remains, but it has evolved into an embossed logo. This is a masterful meditation on the art of reduction – creating an entirely new form not from needless addition, but rather through meaningful subtraction. The monochromatic colourway speaks to the ruthless simplicity of this premium take – it’s an instant classic that’s guaranteed to ensure that the All Star will continue to build its legacy well into its next century.

The Chuck Modern Lux will be available through Converse from February 18.

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