A select few products have been able to stay relevant for over 100 years. One of these products are the iconic Chuck Taylor All-Stars that were first introduced in 1917 as basketball shoes and would even be adopted by the US Army as one of the official WWII training shoes.
Well-known Converse salesman/basketball player, Chuck Taylor, asked for a shoe with more support and flexibility which resulted in the redesigned shoes being officially named the ‘Chuck Taylor All-Stars’. Chuck Taylor died 50 years ago this month but his name lives on with the shoes. By the ‘70s 9 of 10 basketball players were wearing All-Stars but this would soon change leaving Converse in grave financial difficulty. All-Stars also became the go-to shoe for skateboarders and powerlifters alike with the latter claiming that the shoes allowed for ideal squat and deadlift posture.
A decade later the All-Stars would go through a revival and become the popular culture icon they are today. Musicians and artists adopted All-Stars as their casual retro shoe. By the Y2k mark, 600 million pairs of All-Stars would be sold with a pair purchased every 43 seconds. Converse was bought by Nike in 2003 after years of financial struggles.
A pair of All-Stars sporting the American flag now reside in The Smithsonian, the repository of things that are regarded as American history. After being worn in numerous films and by as many bands the All-Stars have surely attained ‘Celeb Status’.
In 2015, Converse All-Star collaborated with the Andy Warhol Foundation to produce a collection of shoes released to honour the artist.