Used to be, any sport shoes that didn’t have cleats were called “tennis shoes.” And if you needed a new pair of sneakers, you got Pro-Keds or Red Ball Jets. Unless you were really serious – then you got Chuck Taylor All-Stars by Converse.
“Chucks” were first made all the way back in 1917 as just the “All-Star.” Then Chuck Taylor, a noted basketball player in the early twenties, went to work for Converse. It’s said that everyone knew him and liked him, and when he made improvements to the shoes, they became an instant hit. Converse soon added his name to the brand.
Until 1966, the shoes were only available in black or white. Then, as the psychedelic era demanded, Chucks became available in a variety of colors and materials.
They went out of fashion for a while when expensive leather basketball shoes (Air Jordans, et. al.) became the rage, but came back into fashion in the nineties. It was the music scene that revived them – the Ramones, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, and U2’s The Edge have all worn them regularly.
You won’t see Chucks on the basketball court anymore. They don’t offer the arch and ankle support athletes can get from today’s athletic shoes. But go to a college, or a rock concert, and you’ll see that the love for Chuck Taylor All-Stars has been passed to a new generation.