The Chuck Taylor has probably been the most collaborated-on piece of fashion of all time. And on the heels of Margaret Howell’s second-round collab on the iconic sneaker (pictured above), we’d like to show you our favorite Converse x efforts over the years.
Here’s a great way to relive some of the weirdest nights in your life, when a pair of Chuck Taylors, the duct-tape of apparel, functioned as a pillow (H.O.R.D.E. Festival ’95, the unscheduled 36-hour layover at a Kiev train station, the first and last time you gave Burning Man a go, etc.). Perpetual Kid, the curators of all sorts of relics from your misspent youth, have you covered.
Just don’t anticipate any blockbuster, REM-type sleep—calling this thing a pillow is sort of like calling Chuck Taylors basketball shoes.
Life’s too short to get angry. But from time to time, we see something befuddling, ridiculous or just plain wrong…and we feel compelled to offer a humble suggestion for improvement.
The picture above is the latest Converse collab, which unfortunately finds Givenchy in the middle of their leopard-print phase. It’s also quite possibly the least punk rock thing we’ve ever seen. We don’t blame Givenchy: by now, the Chuck Taylor’s been redesigned, remixed and relauched so many times, it’s lost every ounce of insurgent cred it had. It’s a shame because under the right circumstances, it’s still a pretty great shoe, but it’s losing ground with every outlandish designer collab.
So we’d like to offer the following Humble Suggestion: maybe give it a rest for a few years. Let the poor man catch his breath.
Most of us have a loose pair of cloth sneakers kicking around the back of our closet, whether it’s Chucks, plimsolls or something even more summery. After a few summers, they usually look a little worse for wear—and become prime candidates for a little experimentation.
In not too long, it’s going to be time to mothball our winter stompers and break out something a little lighter. If you couldn’t tell, we’re literally counting the days—and naturally, we’re not the only ones.
In anticipation, Converse has let slip a few hundred pairs of their latest Chuck Taylor update, made with the grand discovery of 2009, chambray. As a trend item, it’s a little late, but it makes up for it by being a genuinely good idea.
Chambray breathes a lot better than the treated canvas you’ll find on the standard Chuck Taylor, so this should be a more summery version of a classic summer shoe. (We’d even recommend going sockless, but each to his own.) Odds are it’ll also wear out faster than the average Chuck—if that’s even possible—but if you’re careful with it, it should see you through at least a couple summers.
Palladium Boots generally deals in heavy cloth-and-rubber boots, so we were pleased to see them moving in a sneaker-y direction with this Pampa Boot. It’s essentially a beefed-up version of the Chuck Taylor, but the rugged rubber bottom means it won’t fall apart after a year like every latter-day Chuck we’ve ever owned. The result is something light enough to wear through the summer, but heavy enough to take a few concerts’ worth of stomping. The light canvas version hasn't found its way to retailers just yet, but if you can't wait, you can find a heavier ones here.
No sooner did we gush about Seavees’ Gitman-inspired madras model than this flannel Chuck came down the transom from Woolrich. It’s not quite as drool-worthy as Gitman’s sneak, and both the flannel and the hijacked-Converse model land it pretty squarely in the grunge revival camp, but it’s a trend we’re happy to see continuing. Now if only the folks at Clae would come into some remaindered suits…
Old school sports shoe are pretty fantastic, but so far most of the love has been concentrated on one particular model. It might be time for some new blood.
This Japanese pair from Master & Co. fit the bill pretty nicely, with a pleasingly retro off-white and two rubber patches on the side to keep it out of knockoff territory. Let’s just hope the soles are a bit more durable than the average Chuck Taylor.
The oatmeal-loving minimalist Richard Chai is getting another shot at retail, thanks to a well-timed popup shop. This time, he’s taking to his brother’s rotating hipster depot DEN, with a few choice items from his recent Paris shows hitting the racks for the next few weeks.
As for the goods, it’s a bit more dour than last time around, but that might just be a sign of the times. The pants are all heavily cuffed for a grittily urban effect—none of Thom Browne’s nerd-chic here—with a few well-sewn jackets to complete the effect.
And apparently, like everyone else, he’s holding onto his chucks.
Chuck Taylors are so iconic at this point that they’ve overshadowed the original style they came from: the old-school basketball shoe.
When the sport was invented around the turn of the century, there was a rush of shoes with lots of ankle support, almost no arch, and a stripped-down canvas aesthetic. It’s hard to get ahold of them these days, but the fine folks at Winn Perry have gotten their hands on a recreation of one of the original models: the 1892 Colchester Rubber Co. Sneaker.
True to the time, it’s still just vulcanized rubber and canvas, but it should catch a lot more eyes than those Chucks.
The idea of mashing together 18th century upholstery and 20th century sneakers is an interesting one, and the Vuitton-esque pattern is a nice touch if you don’t look to close, but the skulls-and-crosses motif is a little more Goth than we’re used to. It’s not the first melodramatic pattern we’ve seen set into casual clothes, but hopefully we’re closer to the end of this trend than the beginning.