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In this book, shoe enthusiast Hal Peterson takes an in-depth look at the history, significance, and magic of “Chucks.” Originally a rubber shoe company, Converse rolled out the canvas All Star in 1917, nicknamed “Chucks” for the basketball hall-of-famer, Charles “Chuck” Taylor, who was a lifelong promoter. The shoe quickly became a phenomenon that has lasted for nearly a century with a fanbase that has varied greatly. Though they have a simple, classic style, the many shoes photographed here make clear that true believers always find ways to individualize their favorite footwear, even though black was the only color available for almost fifty years.
Peterson explores trends in everything from lace styles to color schemes and highlights Converse’s feature that allows you to “design your own.” He also takes a look at the social importance of Chucks: appearing in sports, rock and roll, movies, and art, they are known as one of the most iconic examples of twentieth-century footwear design. What is it about this sneaker that makes it so culturally pervasive? With help from Converse-wearers, we’ll find the answers.
In this fawning fashionography, readers will find more than they ever wanted to know about the enduring line of Converse basketball shoes worn by hip athletes, lithe hipsters, Pollyannas and iconoclasts. Originally a rubber shoe company, Converse rolled out the canvas All Star in 1917, nicknamed "Chucks" for the basketball hall-of-famer, Chuck Taylor, who was a lifelong advocate. Chucks-obsessed Peterson chronicles the shoe's evolution from stylishly unsupportive court sneaker to the all-purpose footwear embraced by those who are "hip and fashion-oriented, part of the counterculture, nerd-like, or just regular folks." Peterson tries to dig up the secret of their appeal through owner interviews, a menagerie of trivia and a quirky collection of photos that range from art-house to prom-tacky. Anyone who has ever owned a pair will appreciate the movie and TV sightings: Brendan Fraiser's thawed caveman in Encino Man, Ice Cube in Anaconda, Timmy in Lassie and virtually the entire cast of The Wonder Years among them. Though Peterson can get carried away, it's hard to deny these high tops are as American as Apple Pie and Paris Hilton, and this book is a worthy appreciation of their place in the pop culture canon.