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Converse Buyers Guide

Converse Buyers Guide
Converse Buyers Guide

Converse history & background

Converse Non-Skid All-Star (1923)
Converse Non-Skid All-Star (1923)

Without a shadow of a doubt, Converse is one of the most iconic sneaker brands in history. Founded over a century ago back in 1908 by Marquis Mills Converse, the company started off as a rubber shoe manufacturer in Boston, providing winterized rubber-soled footwear called galoshes for men, women, and children. In 1910, Converse decided to expand into athletic shoes, and while the brand's high-top silhouette wasn't a hit amongst the public, Marquis Mills knew that there was something special about it, and thus he persevered and continued producing them. This paved the way to the introduction to the Converse All-Star basketball shoe in 1918. Featuring a canvas upper and a rubber sole, the shoe has remained pretty much the same since its debut. It wasn't until five years later when the silhouette would get its legendary name and become one of the most coveted hardcourt models in the game.

Fast forward to 1921, and a high school basketball player at Columbus High School waltzed into Converse's sales office in Chicago looking for a job. While he would never go on to play at the NBA or even at college level, Charles H. "Chuck" Taylor's impact on the game of basketball was truly undeniable. After being hired on the spot, Taylor would offer insight and introduce innovations to the sneaker that would enhance the shoe's comfort, flexibility, and support. The All-Star would eventually become America's first player-endorsed shoe. Bearing in mind this was decades before Air Jordans or LeBron's even existed, so this was literally unlike anything that had been done before. Two years after Chuck stepped foot into Converse's building, his name was added to the model, officially renaming them the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars. He then set out on a tour across the States to promote the sneaker, and while his named was used on them, he never sought any type of royalties. He was just so passionate about them that those things didn't really matter to him.

In 1936, basketball made its official debut at the Olympic Games in Berlin, and so did Converse. Outfitted in Chucks, Team USA would go on to defeat Canada by a final score of 19-8, bringing home the gold medal. The silhouette subsequently spread like wildfire throughout college basketball. When the first NCAA National Championship Game was held in 1939, Oregon and Ohio State were both geared up in All Stars.

Over the next century, Converse would go on to experience many genre-defying moments. In 1962 the company would introduce its first low-top model, and in 1976, Rocky would run through the streets of Philadelphia rocking a pair of Chucks. Kurt Cobain wore a beat up pair to the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards with a flannel shirt that resonated with the grunge scene that was exploding at the time, and just ten years later, Converse sales declined rapidly, leading Nike to step in and purchase the company, ensuring that the legacy of the Chuck Taylor All-Stars would live on for generations to come.

COMME des GARÇONS x Converse Collection (2021)
COMME des GARÇONS x Converse Collection (2021)

Without question, the most popular Converse model right now is the Chuck Taylor. With collaborations with Virgil Abloh's Off-White, Jerry Lorenzo's Fear Of God, Hiroshi Fujiwara's fragment design, Rei Kawakubo's COMME des GARÇONS, and many more, it's the perfect balance between hype and performance. The Chuck 70 is also extremely sought-after. A silhouette that was introduced in the '70s, it's significantly beefier than the conventional pair with a slightly reworked design and a vintage-focused aesthetic. Tyler, the Creator's GOLF le FLEUR* and Samuel Ross' A-COLD-WALL* commonly work on this retro model, providing it with their own unique spin.

In 1962, Converse introduced its first low-top shoe named the Oxford. This would later be shortened to just Ox in later years, and we've see partnerships from GOLF WANG, Ibn Jasper, and of course, Union Tokyo, which reworked it into a skate shoe. Another low-cut model that's definitely getting more and more popular is the One Star. In 2022 alone, the silhouette saw major collections from both Notre and Stussy. World-renowned for its simple, no-nonsense design, every sneakerhead needs a pair in their daily rotation.

Over the past few years, Converse has ventured from its retro roots and into the futuristic footwear trend. A-COLD-WALL* recently lent a hand with the avant-garde Aeon Active CX that looks like something from a different dimension, and the American sportswear brand just debuted the Sponge Crater CX which keeps in line with the sneaker-clog fad that's all the rage these days. Featuring a knit bootie, it's housed within a one-piece construction that's made from Nike's Crater foam. Crafted from recycled materials and factory off-cuts, we wouldn't be too surprised if this made its way to Converse's core line very soon. Keeping up to date with all of these can be overwhelming, so make sure you follow Sole Retriever over on Twitter and download our official Mobile App if you haven't already.

How do Converse fit?

Coming in men's, women's, unisex, and kids sizes, Converse sneakers generally fit half a size up. Made to be worn quite snug with the laces fully tied, if you want them to be a little looser we suggest that you go a full size up for the optimum fit. With that said, the materials that are generally used tend to soften over time, so we would recommend just going a half size up. Please refer to the size chart below to get a better idea of what Crocs size will fit best. It's always best to try on a pair before purchasing to be sure you’re getting the correct size.

How much are Converse?

The retail price will really depend on which Converse model you're looking for. For instance, Fucking Awesome's Louis Lopez Pro Mid starts at $80, but other pairs like CLOT's Jack Purcell and Patta's Chuck 70 will set you back $100. On the higher end of the scale, A-COLD-WALL*'s Geo Forma Boot, which is a futuristic take on the original Chuck Taylor, retails for $150, and luxury collaborations like Rick Owens' TURBOWPN carry a price tag of $200. For your best chance to cop Converse at retail, follow us over on Twitter and download our Mobile App today.

What are Converse made of?

GOLF le FLEUR* x Converse Chuck 70 Chenille (2019)
GOLF le FLEUR* x Converse Chuck 70 Chenille (2019)

In general, Converse shoes are made of canvas and rubber. With that said, over the past few years the All Star brand has also been experimenting with a vast range of different materials across its entire range of silhouettes. A-COLD-WALL*'s Geo Forma Boot is crafted from a technical ripstop textile, while Sage Elsesser's Fastbreak Pro and Barriers' Pro Leather are outfitted in premium leather and buttery suede, respectively. In 2020, Fear Of God brought back the Skidgrip with its classic hemp-infused upper, and CLOT's Chuck 70, from 2022's "Panda Season" collection, is covered in a fluffy fabric to resemble the bear's cuddly fur.

What's the hot take?

Off-White x Converse Chuck 70 (2019)
Off-White x Converse Chuck 70 (2019)

For over one hundred years, Converse has been a staple in the sportswear and sneaker industries. From its humble beginnings in Boston, to its rule over the hardcourt in Berlin, and its subsequent domination of the entire world, hype for the brand isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. In fact, in 2020 Converse ranked fourth in total number of transactions on StockX beating out both New Balance and Yeezy, so if you still don't have a pair in your collection, keep it locked to our Twitter and download the Sole Retriever mobile app right now. We’ll be sure to keep you updated with the latest news, release info, and raffles for Converse and more in the sneaker and streetwear world!

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