Chuck Taylor All-Stars, or Converse All-Stars, also referred to as "Chuck's" or Cons', are canvas and rubber shoes produced by Converse. They were first produced in 1917 as the "All-Star," Converse's attempt to capture the basketball shoe market.
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The shoes were not particularly popular until basketball player Chuck Taylor adopted them as his preferred shoe. He was impressed with the design so he became the shoe's leading salesman. After proposing a few changes to the shoe, the shoe got its current name and Chuck Taylor's signature on its ankle patch. One change was the switch to nonslip soles. Although classic black is the most popular, Chuck Taylor was himself known to prefer unbleached white high-tops (known in his day as simply "white").
Consumers demanded more variety from the shoe - particularly with respect to colors in order to match basketball teams - so colored and patterned shoelaces became popular to complement the two colors, black and white, available before 1966. Afterwards, more colors and styles became available. Low-top or "Oxford", high-top, and later knee-high, versions were produced. More materials were offered for the construction, including leather, suede, vinyl, denim, and hemp. Some versions of the shoe were offered without laces, held up instead by elastic. These new versions of the shoe were also co-designed by Chuck Taylor, just before his death in 1969.
A full biography of Chuck Taylor was published by Indiana University Press in March 2006 under the title Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man Behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History, with a foreword by the retired college basketball coach Dean Smith.
When Converse was bought by Nike in 2003 and operations were moved from the United States to overseas, the design saw a few alterations. The fabric is no longer 2-ply cotton canvas but 1-ply "textile" and many wearers have noticed different patterns of wear.
The shoes are available in several core colors, seasonal colors, and a variety of print styles. In the 1950s the shoes became popular within the greaser subculture and amongst many fans of rockabilly. Fans of punk rock have adopted the shoe as a fashion trend since the late 1970s and many popular punk rock bands, such as the Ramones, have supported the trend by wearing the sneakers. All-Stars became popular again in the '90s as fans of the world famous grunge-punk band Nirvana emulated the band's frontman Kurt Cobain, who had worn All-Stars for many years prior to the 90's due to the influence of different punk rock bands he enjoyed in his youth.