As one of the most iconic shoes in the world, the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars have practically steered the course of sneaker development and footwear as fashion since its inception by the Converse Rubber Shoe Company in 1917. Since then, it has defined the brand under which it was designed — today, Converse is as synonymous with the All-Star as much as the All-Star is Converse. While the company is extremely protective of such an integral part of its identity — going so far in 2014 as to sue Ralph Lauren, Wal-Mart, Skechers and 28 other companies for trademark infringement on the All-Star design — there’s no denying that the Chucks have inspired, and given rise to a bevy of similar silhouettes throughout the past century in footwear design. With the release of the All-Star II, we thought it appropriate to cast an eye back at ten of the more inventive remakes of the basketball sneaker that started it all.
A Bathing Ape SHARK APE STA
No stranger to copying iconic footwear designs, first with the BAPESTA and the Nike Air Force 1, A Bathing Ape finally lent its hand to the All-Star with the SHARK APE STA in 2013, taking WWII fighter plane shark-faced nose art and overlaying it on a canvas upper of the navy blue and the brand’s trademark ape camo. Physically, though, the shoes are unchanged from the original save for a discreet heel zipper.
ICECREAM Drippy Sneaker
Devoid of any aesthetic additions except for a bold, contrasting drip graphic wrapping around the foxing band of the shoe, ICECREAM’s take on the All-Stars is both simple, yet attention-grabbing and tongue-in-cheek. Originally released in white/blue and navy/yellow, ICECREAM re-released the design in several new colorways in 2014.
PF Flyers Center Hi Canvas
Improving upon the urbane design of the All-Stars, the Center Hi from PF Flyers is a decidedly bulkier shoe, with an extra thick sole and vertically ribbed toe guard. Its trademarked Posture Foundation sole insert also trumps the basic, flat insole of the All-Stars. Dating back to 1937, PF Flyers was at one point owned by Converse in the early ‘70s, but continues today under the ownership of New Balance.
Shoes Like Pottery High Top Vulcanized Sneaker
Offering a stripped-down version of the All-Stars, these high-tops from Shoes Like Pottery don’t get any simpler. Hand-sewn and assembled in Kurume, Japan, the high quality construction of this shoe should outlast the already impressive lifetime of standard Chucks. In line with the minimal aesthetic, the only branding on the shoe is a rubber seal stamp of the mythical “Uchide-no-Kozuchi” hammer, in a bright shade of electric blue that continues on the outsole.
Alohi Footwear “Lo-LO” Sneaker
Released as the debut model from fledgling brand Alohi Footwear in 2013, the Lo-LO sneaker adds several subtle reinterpreted details to the original basketball canvas sneaker silhouette. These include a fold-over tongue, a slimmed-down crescent toe cap, embossed “V” branding on the toe guard, and a contrasting tonal foxing band. The result is a sturdy-seeming remake of the casual classic.
Rhythm Footwear Sandwich Hi
Rhythm’s most notable change to the classic silhouette is evident in the eye-catching segmented upper, which is composed of two or three overlapping panels on each side, for low and high-top models respectively. Add to this the “Bagel” camo pattern and a C-shaped suede toe cap, and you’re set with a somewhat quirky reimagining of the Chucks.
LOSERS Schooler Classic Hi
Remade in high quality 10-ounce Japanese denim is the silhouette of LOSERS’ Schooler Classic Hi “Okayama Denim” pack, with a reinterpreted V-shaped rubber toe cap. However, other markings native to the Chuck Taylors are present, such as the circular heel crest design (which in this case reads “Stick To Your Guns,”) and the clean white foxing band. LOSERS finishes off this particular model with rounded white laces and bold red eyelets for a solid and covetable colorway.
PRO-Keds Royal Hi
Introduced shortly after the founding of PRO-Keds in 1949, the brand’s first release, the Royal, quickly became the go-to shoe for professional basketball players after it became the competition sneaker for the Minneapolis Lakers. Later becoming associated with New York’s early hip-hop scene (whereas Chucks came to represent the punk and rock scene,) the Royal Hi is minimally differentiated by the signature “power stripes” on the side, and on some models features three parallel stripes on the foxing band.
Named after the once-frontier settlement of the Klondike Gold Rush and current cruise ship hotspot, the visvim Skagway pays homage to the Alaskan town and Hiroki Nakamura’s enduring fascination with the northern state with its classic blue denim upper, trimmed with contrasting red suede on the tongue and heel. A hand-stitched heel tab adds an artisanal touch to the white vulcanized sole of the silhouette.
Officine Creative Washed Leather Metal High Top Sneaker
In what is probably the most deviant reinterpretation, Officine Creative marries the Chuck Taylor aesthetic with the deflated look of a clown shoe in this awkwardly proportioned high-top. Contributing to this is the upper of washed leather for an aged look, the metal toe cap, and the irregular waffle sole. As a finishing touch, two layered strips of leather sewn around the front portion of the shoe allude to the traditional foxing band of the Chuck Taylor.