Product/Website Review: Chuck Taylor’s Converse All Stars/ Bagginsshoes.com

When I was in seventh grade, back in the year 198X, I remember that one of the most popular sneakers was a Chuck Taylor’s Converse All Star that was purple on one side, orange up the tongue and green down the other side. They were funky, ergo, they were cool. Nowadays if, anyone were to be posed with the question, “What is the greatest selling basketball shoe of all time?” the answer would likely be something like “Nike Air Jordan” or possibly even the “Reebok’s Pump”. Both answers would be dead wrong. The answer, of course, is the subject of this article: Chuck Taylor’s Converse All Stars Basketball shoe.

In the early days of the All Star, (Now also known simply as “Chuck’s”) which came into production in 1917, the shoe only came in one color: Black. In 1921, the company hired a salesman who was convinced that the Converse company had stumbled upon the greatest basketball shoe to ever be invented. He sold it accordingly. That salesman’s name was Chuck Taylor, a former pro-basketball player for a team called the Akron Firestones. In 1923, the company added Chuck’s name to the shoe and to date, over six hundred million pairs of the shoes have been sold worldwide. In 1966, the Converse company, owned a whopping 80% of the sneaker industry, and nearly every basketball player in the world was wearing a pair of Chuck Taylor’s Converse All Stars.

Since then, the shoe has really evolved. When I was a kid, up to the year 198X, when I saw my first multi-colored Chuck Taylor’s Converse All Star, the colors I was familiar with were the traditional black with white laces, and the white shoes with white laces, introduced by the company in the early 1920’s. After my brush with the shoe in the year 198X, the Chuck Taylor’s Converse All Star sort of faded from memory. Recently though I fell head over heels in love with this incredibly creative shoe. Okay, I know what you are thinking? All Stars? Creative? The two hardly seem to even belong in the same sentence. I thought so too until one day recently, when shopping in Downtown Victoria British Columbia. I happened across a little specialty store tucked back in the corner of an Alley off of Johnson Street. That little store’s name is Baggins Shoes, and it was there that I was introduced to the exciting world of the Converse All Star.

Would you believe that there are over 500 different variations of the Chuck Taylor’s Converse All Star sneaker currently in production (not to mention at leastthat many that have bene discontinued) ? They have come a long way since Chuck Taylor discovered them in black canvas. Now they come in every fabric and pattern you can imagine, and if I may be so bold, they are the coolest shoes I have EVER come across. Long ago the shoe came in one option, a high top black, but that was yesteryear. Today you can buy a Converse All Star in either Low tops, Extra High Tops, or the traditional high-tops. Patterns for the shoes have been created by talents such as Nate Van Dyke, and Gina Triplett. (If you have ever read a fiction novel, you have likely seen Gina’s work). The shoes come in leather, and canvas, and specialty fabrics such as silk, and even some fabrics that have gone out of production, but for which Converse retooled the shop in order to create limited edition shoes for aficionados.

You can, of course, view and order these incredible shoes at Converse’s website, but I must warn you that you will miss a bunch of options. If you really want to see all that converse has to offer in terms of these creative, self-expressive shoes, you will point your browser at www.bagginsshoes.com. They boast, what is likely the largest collection of Chuck Taylor’s Converse All Stars in the world, and a visit there is likely to drive any shoe fan wild with a newfound lust to own every pair. Baggins ships all over the world and they have one of the most user friendly websites I have come across. After spending nearly three quarters of an hour with Glen, the owner of Baggins shoes, as he regaled me and my traveling companion with tales of the shoes that he has spent his life loving, I saw why he caught the fever. SureâÂ?¦ you can wear the sneaker everyone else is wearing, if you are into that sort of thing. If you, like me, love the thought of wearing a shoe with a rich history that is unique and self-expressive, and which costs the same as a normal white production sneaker, then the crew at bagginsshoes.com can lace you up better than anyone else. At least, that’s my take on the matter.

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