It’s difficult to imagine what 1920s-era basketball player and shoe salesman Chuck Taylor would have made of the new John Varvatos-designed red seersucker low-top All Stars, with eyelets but no laces, or the Comme des Garçons white or black sneakers, high-top or low, featuring Taylor’s name on one ankle and a crude Valentine’s Day heart with cartoon eyes on the other. These contemporary riffs on one of the most enduring basketball shoes in history are a long way from the shoes that were first sold in 1917 and embraced by Taylor so wholeheartedly that he left his team, the Akron Firestones, to become a salesman for Converse.

In fact, these new designs, as well as those over the years by Converse itself, are remarkably faithful to the originals, which were first sold as high-tops only, in leather or canvas. Taylor, whose name was added to the sneaker in 1932, pushed the shoes hard but was conservative when it came to their design. For example, an all-white high top made for the 1936 Olympics featured single strips of red and blue trim, giving the shoes a subtle but unmistakably patriotic look—during World War II, Converse All Stars were the official sneakers of the U.S. Armed Forces.

By 1949, Converse had permitted the shoe’s design to go two-tone, with black canvas uppers attached to white soles, cementing what is today considered the shoe’s classic look. It was not until 1957 that the company offered a low-top, which was no good for basketball since it failed to give a player proper support but terrific for hosting weekend barbecues in the postwar suburbs. Indeed, at the end of the Eisenhower era, Converse was so ubiquitous, it alone accounted for 80 percent of the sneaker market.

Nike changed all that in the early 1970s, when the company introduced its waffle sole, which was much better for runners than anything Converse had to offer. Nike would go on to dominate the market for basketball shoes, too, particularly with its Air Jordan. Converse responded by offering so many variations of the colors and patterns of its canvas uppers that the shoes became collectibles in their own right, but by 2001, the company was forced into bankruptcy, only to be acquired in 2003 by arch (pardon the pun) rival, Nike.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

All About Shoes

All About Shoes

From Canada's Bata Shoe Museum comes a visually impressive exhibit focusing on the history of the shoe from traditi… [read review or visit site]

Virtual Shoe Museum

Virtual Shoe Museum

This virtual museum from Shoe Icons Publishing showcases over 800 pairs of shoes and related reference information.… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage The Winner Converse Chuck Taylor Canvas Sneakers Men's Size 10,pre-wornVtg Converse Basketball Shoes Blue Label Usa Made Net Purcell Winner All StarVintage 60's Converse Chuck Taylor Gold Suede Leather All Star Original New 7New Nib Vtg Converse All Star Chuck Taylor's Gold Black Logo Mens 9 1/2 RareNew Vtg Converse All Star Chuck Taylor's Light Blue Black Logo Mens 9 1/2 RareNew Vtg Converse All Star Chuck Taylor's Light Blue Black Tag Logo Mens 10 RareVintage 60's Converse Chuck Taylor Black All Star Lows!! Original New!! Sz 5Converse Jack Purcell Vintage Rare Canvas Deadstock Og Made In Usa 9New Comme Des Garcons Men's High-top Converse Size 11Ramones Chuck Taylor Converse Limited Edition High Top Men's 7.5 Rare NewVtg Converse All Star 5 Wmns 6.5 Made In Usa 70s Nos Jack Purcell Chuck TaylorConverse Comme Des Garcons Cdg Play Black High Top Size 9 Men'sNew Converse X John Varvatos All Star Leather Hi Top 145379c Sz Men's 12 Wo's 14Exclusive New Converse All Star Low Suede In Burnished Lilac Rose Gold, Size 8Converse Comme Des Garcons CdgConverse All Star Chuck Taylor Gorillaz Collab Mens Size 10 Very RareRare! Vtg Converse Chuck Taylor Usa Deadstock Green Men's 7 Shoes (nwt!)Comme Des Garcons ConverseVintage Converse Chuck Taylor Made Usa 19165 All Star Low Sz 11.5 In Box & TagNew Men's Converse All Star Chuck Taylor 151896c Sex Pistols Leather Hi Top 12New Converse By John Varvatos All Star Ox Limited Edition Shoes Us 9Converse Sneaker Wedge Red High Top Sz 7 Brand New!Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Hi Tops Sz 13 Black Basketball ShoesConverse X Fragment Design Chuck Taylor All Star Low Tuxedo Black Sz. 9Converse X John Varvatos New Mismatch 10 10.5 Ox Mens Leather Sneakers Shoes PpConverse Play Comme Des Garçons High-top Sneakers Us Mens Size 11Vintage 1975 Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Lows 11.5 Original New! Blue Label!Converse Jack Purcell By John Varvatos Limited Edition Mens Sneakers Sz 9.5Converse Chuck Taylor Major Mills Hi Top Leather Boot Black Size 9Girls Youth Size 5 High Top Leopard Print Converse Converse John Varvatos 127962c Slip-on Mid Shoe Leather Sneakers $140 Men's 10Converse First String Chuck Taylor 1970 Sz 9 Vintage Khaki Uec Ct70Converse All Star Women's 7.5/men's 5.5Converse All Star Chuck Jack Purcell Sneaker Black Leather 11 John VarvatosConverse Chuck Taylor All Star Mens 10.5 Black - Made In The UsaConverse All Star Women's Size 6 Low Sugar Skulls Day Of The Dead Shoes Xj-64Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Shoes Made In Usa Black Canvas Hi Top 7.5Men's New Converse Chuck Taylor 2 All Star Blue Hi Top Sneakers Shoes 13Chuck Taylor Converse All Star Gladiator 537049c Shoes Sandals Womens Sz 10 42Converse Comme Des Garcons Play Hi Top White Sneakers Size 9 For MenConverse All Star High Vintage 60's Chuck Taylor Original Shoes Sz 9Used Once! Converse Womens Size 8 Chelsee Hi Cut Leather Boots Shoes BlackNew Authentic Converse Jack Purcell Jack Ox Shoe Men's 11.5Commes Des Garcons Play Converse Men 4/ Women 6Converse X By John Varvatos Star Player Ev Black All StarNwt Converse All Star Vintage Grey Chuck Taylor Lux Hidden Wedge Mid Sneakers 6Rare Converse X John Varvatos Slip On No Laces All Star Mens Size 9.5 SandBlack Converse All Star Gladiator Sandals Size 8Chuck Taylor Converse All-star Women's Pink Gladiator Canvas Sandals Size 10Vintage Converse All Star Chucks Maroon High Top Sneakers Sz12 Grunge Well Worn Women's Converse All Star Coral Size 6Mens 13 Converse Jack Purcell Athletic Sneakers White Gray Red New OtherMens Converse Jack Purcell Athletic Sneakers White Gray Red 9 New OtherWomen's Converse All Star Chuck Taylor High Top Canvas Tennis Shoes White Sz 7Converse All Star Vintage Rare Canvas Deadstock Og Made In Usa 6.5 NwbNew Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Aqua Shoreline Slip On Shoes Sz 7Nwot Black Leather Converse Chuck Taylor Allstar Size 4 Men Size 6 WomenJ8172 New W/def Women's Converse M7652 All Star Ox Optic White 8 MConverse Chuck Taylor All Star ShorelineConverse Allstar Chuck Taylor 2 Men's Size 10 Burgundy Low Shoes