I just read in CNN that Converse, which now a brand of Nike, is rolling out a new version of its venerable Chuck Taylor sneakers in hopes of invigorating both the style and the brand. The new version will look like old Chucks, but instead of being made of cotton canvas they’ll be constructed by some sort of (synthetic?) “breathable materal.” Because canvas doesn’t breath. They will also (finally) have a paddle insole and an actual arch–oh brave new world!
I wore Chucks on outdoor basketball courts from 7th grade until I was nearly 30 years old. In fact, I have a photo of my second to last pair of Chucks that I’ll post right below us here. I must have had 25 pairs over the years–it would have been more because I would occasionally go upscale for some other canvas summer shoes, if I found them on sale, but not because any of them were cool. I wore Chucks and their brethren because my dad had run off and I was I was poor. I wouldn’t have dreamed of asking my mom for leather high tops to squander on asphalt courts. Now, the Chucks were miserable at first, but a guy got used to them in the way, I
suppose that those people who jumped on the “shoes with toes” running fad got used to their flat, light footwear. In fact, I contend to this day that what I lost in padding and arch support was more than compensated for by the proportional advantage in weight. Chucks were super light and I always believed I could jump higher and run faster in them.
I always made do by buying them a size larger than I needed (size 14…) then, shoving in a cheap pair of insoles and, as I got older, my own homemade orthotic arch supports (some pieces of leather cut and glued together) to deal with really bad arches. I’d burn through two pairs a summer, for under $15 each. It’s great that trendogs are waxing all sentimental, but $75 for a pair of Chucks–all I can do is shake my head and smirk