The Chuck Taylor All Star is Converse’s most timeless silhouette. However unbeknownst to many fans, the All Star has underwent many changes throughout its century of existence under Converse. Converse decided that it would release a reproduction of the Chuck Taylor based on their early 1970s Chuck Taylor models under their First string division. The 1970s were the most important period of Converse’s history. During this time Converse began to release their Chucks in an assortment of colors other than black or white, many famous athletes employed Converse sporting equipment, they sold many popular shoes other than the All Star, and most of all Converse had the reached the height of their popularity.
New vs Retro
When Nike bought Converse in the early 2000s the Chuck Taylor All Star underwent its newest change. Firstly the canvas on newest iteration of the Chuck Taylor is very thin, both the outer and inner lining of the shoe is thin and could easily be torn. The midsole (sidewall of the shoe) is composed of two separate rubber pieces. The eyelets are made of a nickel based metal, the insole is fairly thin, a hard plastic heel insert is present between the two pieces of canvas, the laces are made of nylon, and the All Star white label is present on the bottom heel of the shoe. Lastly the sole of the newer Chuck Taylors is composed of probably 2-3 pieces glued together, the rubber is less durable, and a felt material is glued onto the soles.
The 1970s Reproduction Chuck Taylor was released under Converse’s First String line up. A thick outer (perhaps duck canvas) and inner canvas was used for the 1970s reproduction. The midsole is composed of three distinctive parts, it is also higher. The lower pinstripe is made of ribbed rubber and seared onto the midsole instead of being built into the midsole. Aluminum eyelets are present, the air vents on the sides of the repros are further apart than on the newer Chucks. Cotton laces are utilized, they are thinner than the nylon laces. The bumper is twice as thick on the Repros than the newer Chucks. A “player’s name” graphic is located on the inner tongue of the right shoe. Instead of having a hard short plastic heel, a thicker softer taller canvas inner heel is sewn into the shoe. A nylon heel strip is used instead of the newer canvas heel strips. The insoles are made of the old Converse “comfort arch” each step you take you can feel the thickness and comfort of the insoles. Near the bottom of the Repros some extra stitching can be seen, at first glace they seem to be just for show. They are actually stitched to extra material on the the inside of the shoes, separate from the lining. The retro black label is used instead of the current white label. Finally there is the soles. They are made of one sold piece and the rubber is much denser. Unlike the newer Chuck Taylor models these 1970s Reproductions are actually practical to play basketball in, as they were still being used as basketball shoes during that time period.
Retro vs Old
While the Reproductions are very similar in design and utilization of materials compared to the Vintage Chuck Taylors of the 1970s, there are still details that should be observed. There can be said to be three distinctive communities built on Converse. There are those who are everyday buyer and like to collect all of the basic Chuck Taylors that can be found at the local malls. The community that loves both the newer premium and First String division of Converse releases under Nike. And people who are dead-set on buying only true vintage Converse shoes, back when Converse still made their products in America.
Firstly the boxes are different, The Repros use a more retro looking box where as the Vintage use a more sporty looking box. The laces on the Repros are thinner width-wise. An off white midsole and toecap was used for the Repros. The idea was to give them an oxidized looked because many of the midsoles on Vintage Chucks have been oxidized through age. However if the Vintages Chucks where stored properly then they won’t have oxidized midsoles or laces. The midsoles and toecaps on the Repros were given a glaze, probably to make them look nicer. Finally the black labels on both the Repros and Vintage Chucks are subtly different. The black labels on the Vintage Chucks have extra decals which say “Made in USA,” the Repros don’t have that decal because the Repros are made in Vietnam. For almost any Chuck Taylor All Star enthusiast the 1970s reproduction Chucks would be a must buy. However the Vintage Chuck community would likely pass on this release.
Resellers have been selling the 1970s Reproduction Chuck Taylor All Star at an average of $200-300. Whereas Vintage early 1970s Chuck Taylor All Stars could easily be sold for $500.
Retro 70s box.
Thin cotton laces.
Player’s name graphic on inner right tongue.
Thicker bumper, ribbed pinstrip, glazed off white higher midsole and toecap.
Extra material sewn inside of shoe for reinforcement.
Thick canvas heel sewn inside of shoe for reinforcement and comfort.
Retro logo printed on bottom inner heel.
Comfort bed conforms more to feet. Comfort Arch.
Denser sole made of one solid piece .
Nylon heel strip. Glazed retro black label.
Early 1970s Vintage Converse.
Laces and glue have been oxidized naturally through age. Midsole has not been oxidized.
Vintage black label circa early 1970s.