I tried to get an interview with someone from Converse for my Huffington Post wedge sneaker story, but, unfortunately, it didn’t work out. I wanted to ask the company about its sales because it seems to me that Converse’s classic Chuck Taylor sneaker — whether low-top or high-top — has become more popular than ever over the past few years.
I’ve noticed this in New York, but I’m hyper-aware of it when I’m traveling to other cities and observing what both the locals and tourists wear. For instance, I have long kept an eye on the shoe situation in Paris because, despite Parisians’ reputations for head-to-toe chic, I think the footwear there has nothing on New York. (Sorry, French peeps!) A couple of summers ago, I noticed an increasing number of Converse-wearers in Paris, which I considered an improvement. This June, there were even more, plus plenty of Isabel Marant and Marant-style wedge sneakers. I was obsessed with the Converse situation by the time MrB and I moved on to London. That’s where I started counting Converse — during a 30-minute walk I counted 34 pairs and those were just the ones where I could clearly see the Converse name on the shoes. I excluded unverified but Converse-like styles from my tally.
I was fascinated by the variety of people who sported Converse. It’s not like it was in the ’90s when Chucks were mainly for rebels like Kurt Cobain.
I saw the shoes worn by whole families, including parents and their pre-teen children; fashion-conscious teenage girls who clearly put a lot of time into their appearance; skate punks; and businesspeople trudging to work in their suits.
So is it just my imagination? Or have Chucks taken over the world? These days, Converse offers more options than I ever dreamed of when I first coveted a pair of Chucks in the 1980s: there are styles including double laces, fold-over high tops, multiple-tongued sneakers and slip-ons; a rainbow of colors; and collaborations with design houses Missoni and Marimekko. There are country-flag Converse, Dr. Seuss Converse and DC Comics Converse. You can even design your own Chucks on Converse.com. But the sneaker that would have thrilled the teenage me the most is the 16″, zip-up, XX-Hi style (you can customize it too).
If I had been able to wear that sneaker when I was a kid, I wouldn’t be here today because I would have died from my own coolness. At least I would have gone with a smile on my face! Luckily, I’m made of stronger stuff now, because if Converse comes out with a black leather version of this with a 4″ wedge, I’m getting it. Consider that a pre-order, Converse folks!
UPDATED TO ADD: The Atlantic has a story called “The Racial Divide on … Sneakers” that has some interesting Converse history in it.
I’m a huge Chucks fan. I never liked squishy soled sneakers (except for a brief peer pressure cave for a pair of Reebocks Princesses in white in the mid-80s). My typical sneaker is the Keds Champion in white – the most basic of the basic. But Chucks, I love love love and wear a lot, especially to work. I have red, black, lemonade, lupine (a lt. lavender), silver sequin and bubblegum pink hi-tops.
There are sooooo many colors now. Love it. But I need the wedge version 😀
I like height!
I know it’s sacrilege for the punk rock Chucks wearers, but I adore my leather Chucks. The new leather yellow hi tops? LOVE.
Susan Partlan says
So cool, those super high tops. We also noticed converse everywhere in Paris and London earlier this year. And those really cute narrow brim hats the guys are wearing. I feel very cool on campus these days wearing my own chucks.
I’m so glad you didn’t die of coolness!
There was definitely no chance of my dying of coolness back then — but it’s for the best, right?
Amber of Butane Anvil says
I think that Chucks have almost achieved the status of a neutral.
Thanks for opening another interesting shoe conversation!
You must have small feet. I do not. Their shoes make my feet look like clown feet. Boat feet. Picture big LONG feet. Not a pretty thing.
i remember back in the day when you could buy a pair for $20.
Megan Mae says
I was one of those “rebels” wearing Chucks before they became a Thing. I had a pseudo middle school boyfriend who bought me my first pair for my birthday. They were purple. Needless to say the shoes stuck around a heck of a lot longer than the guy.
However that first pair sparked a collection, and my transition into goth/punk wear. I even owned a pair of calf high silver chucks at one point. I finally decided to give the collection up, but I kept my zebra pair because I still wear them. Mine were always high tops.
sulky kitten says
Chucks are everywhere, but if they took your idea for the leather wedge they’d be on to a winner.
savvy gal says
I love converse. One can slip on and go. : )
My friend’s tween daughter wears the ultra high tops in black. I never would have been able to pull them off as a 9 year old.
Mary Panjari says
I find them incredibly uncomfortable because they are so flat. A 4 inch wedge pair would be ideal!
Yeah, they need a little lift!
I can’t wear these. Zero arch support. I had a pair of black on black for a while, and I simply couldn’t stand to wear them for longer than two or three hours at a time. I cannot believe people used to actually play basketball in these… Talk about major foot injury.
Love the sneaker so cool!! Maybe not really my style but still an interesting piece to experiment with!
Julie Marie Matos says
Hey! I thought the same thing as soon as I saw the photo of ‘super high top’.
If it comes in ‘black leather’, I want it!!! I long ago donned the pink high tops
I oh so frequently wore with tons of Betsy Johnson skirts / dresses/ and leather pants. Hmmm, too mature (old) for that, but black leather? Truth is they are way
too flat for comfort, but the ‘look’ forever super cool.!!!!
The worst blisters I ever got was from wearing a pair of Chucks — haven’t had a pair since. Love the look but uncomfortable!
I agree that they are more popular than ever now.
And those sneaks give a whole new definition to “high tops!”