Next year, the most iconic sneakers in modern history will celebrate a century of its existence. Over the years, Converse’s All-Star sneakers have been more than a statement fashion accessory, they’ve been the symbols of irreverence, anarchy and anti-establishment sentiments. Here’s how the quintessential sneaker came into being.
1917 – The All-Star is Born
Established in 1908 by Marquis Mills Converse, the company stormed into the scene after the release of performance shoes All-Star, devised especially for basketball players. The prototype was made of canvas and had a rubber sole.
1921 – Chuck Taylor Joins the Team
Basketball player Chuck Taylor was one of the firsts to try out the shoe. In 1921 he joined the company and made some structural changes to the original design.
1932 – The Signature Chuck Taylor All-Star Shoe
The new version was more flexible than its predecessor and came with a patch at the ankle for added support. By 1932, the sneakers came bearing Taylor’s name and became wildly popular.
1936 – Basketball Shoes
Basketball was officially included in the Olympics in 1936. The American team beat Canada that year and won the gold–all in Chuck Taylor All-Stars too. This secured the sneaker’s position as sport shoes further, to the extent that by World War II, American soldiers wore the shoes to training.
1960s – From Function to Fashion
After finding its champion in the likes of James Dean, Chuck Taylor All-Star became the ‘it’ accessory with the nonconformists. This was also the decade when Converse released the sneakers in multiple colourways, making it one of the first brands to do so.
1977 – All-Star Goes Punk
While The Ramones endorsed Pro Keds (yes, #FactCheck), the Sex Pistols made Chuck Taylor All-Star their thing, making it one of the key identifiers of the punk subculture.
1990s – All-Star Goes Grunge
Two decades later Kurt Cobain was seen wearing these to an award show, sparking off a trend that would be significant to the grunge persuasion.
2015 – All-Star II
After years of retaining its design, Nike (the company that bought Converse) introduced the Chuck II in 2015. With thicker Tensel canvas, Lunarlon cushioning, sewn in ankle patches and smaller toe-cap, this version is technologically up-to-date but still retains its status.
Get your Chuck Taylor All – Star here.