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The most influential sneaker of all time has to be the Converse Chuck Taylor. Since 1917, the canvas high-top sneaker ran from hoop to hoop on countless basketball courts and evolved along the way to become the staple shoe in everyone’s closet from your childhood best friend to Rihanna.

But as the classic sneaker evolved, Converse eventually took a look back and in 2013, released the Chuck 70, a revival of its Chuck Taylor sneaker from the late 1960s and 1970s. The 70s brought a chunkier look back with a taller sidewall and sculpted silhouette while also playing on its vintage looks with yellowish-tinted rubber, reminiscent of an aged vintage sneaker. Its handsome looks paired with the upgraded components helped solidify the Chuck 70 as a mainstay sneaker for the brand seven years on and has since seen collaborative iterations with a bevy of notable designers and celebrities including Brain Dead, Carhartt WIP, Dover Street Market and JW Anderson.

Other than aesthetics, what else is different? Is the $30 price jump worth it? And most importantly, which version is right for you?


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Chuck Taylor All Star

Can this classic defend its crown against a revitalized retro reproduction?



The canvas upper has a smooth hand and feels about as light as New Yorker tote bag.


This is the padding you’ve come to expect from a pair of Chuck Taylors. Enough cushion to get you through the day easily, but certainly not an orthopedic oasis.


Here, the sole material is flexible, but not flimsy. Next to the Chuck 70s, however, that becomes even more clear.

Hardware + Laces

The aglets at the laces and for ventilation are silver-toned and matte, but otherwise look identical to the alternative.

The laces are a true white to match the matte white rubber of the outsole and toe cap.

Chuck 70


The Chuck 70’s fabric is the first thing you notice before even putting on the shoes. The 12-ounce cotton canvas is beefier and more substantial. There’s also an extra layer of canvas stitched into the upper at either side of the vamp.


The insole feels more supportive and more spongey than the Classic Chuck. This is more evident at the balls of the foot.


While both soles look very similar, it feels as though the Chuck 70s are slightly grippier, despite having less-defined grooves than the Classics.

Hardware + Laces

The metal eyelets match the rubber. That is to say that the eyelets are also shiny, compared to the matte finish of the Classic Chuck.

It’s no surprise here that laces also feel like an upgrade. The laces are denser and thicker.

Which One Is Right For You?

A major appeal for the Chuck 70 is its silhouette. The last for the retro contender gives the sneaker more structure. But the looser and lighter All Star is an icon for a reason. Why redo it?

The Icon

Chuck Taylor All Star


Go with the Classic Chuck if you like its shape over the Chuck 70 and you’d rather save $30. The uppers of the Classic Chuck have a smoother hand than its retro version, plus it’s more flexible to begin with. The Classics are also noticeably lighter overall, but, interestingly, the heel counter is significantly more stiff than the 70s. This should help keep the shoes hold their shape over time.

Though the shiny varnish on the rubber of the 70s evokes a vintage feel, it isn’t the most attractive for people who favor a beat-up sneaker. The matte look of the Classic’s eyelets and rubber subdues its looks. If you’ve known and loved the Classic Chucks, you know the saying: if it ain’t broke.


That said, go with the 70s remake if you’re willing to pay a little extra for the upgraded experience. While the Classic Chuck’s uppers feel like a tote bag you’d get as a free gift, the Chuck 70’s canvas uppers feel more like a tote bag you’d have to pay for. That may read as a positive (and ways, it certainly is), it’s also just one of the reasons for the price jump. The 70s have more cushioning than the Classics, so if you need more support, these are also a better choice for you. And the higher rubber sidewall isn’t just for show. It adds more stability to the shoe.

As far as aesthetics are concerned, the 70s have a vintage appeal with a more substantial profile and cream-colored rubber foxing and cap toe.

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As a freelancer working from home in New York City, a pair of Chuck Taylors or two are de rigueur. I've long since worn out my favorites, an old pair with a broken heart pattern that I haven't been able to locate again. When trying to shop online, I've not found any other Converse that I love as much as I loved those.

Then, a couple weeks ago, my fellow GeekMoms pointed me to the new Wonder Woman Converse. Want! Need! I headed over to Journeys to buy them, only to be informed online that they were weeks away from shipping. Thwarted! With a fire lit under me, I popped over to the Converse website and started to dabble with their Design-Your-Own online tools. Before I knew it, I was in deep. On a basic pair of Chuck Taylor All Stars, there are 14 points of customization, including obvious things like the exterior fabric, the tongue fabric, and the shoelace color. But the details don't stop there. Choose the color of the rubber, the eyelets, the stitching, and the stripe down the back.

I settled on a nice, urban plaid, and then loaded up a combination of purple and gray accents, keeping with basic white for the laces and rubber sole. The detail of the skull fabric on the interior makes me giddy. No one has Chucks like my Chucks.

Now Converse has launched a DC Comics Design-Your-Own line, and while there's no Wonder Woman (c'mon, Converse, get on it!), I was able to design some sweet Catwoman hi-tops. They come in adult and kid sizes. I might have to get a second pair, and design some for the kids as well.

Now, my shoes ran around $67 (a cool 80 bucks with shipping), and these Catwoman ones will cost me $75. Is this more money than a human being should pay for canvas shoes? Probably. Yet I have no regrets. They're a must for design geeks.

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The Gibson Custom Shop releases a replica of Chuck Berry’s 1978 Wine Red ES-355

Coinciding with the rock n’ roll legend’s birthday (18 October), Gibson has announced a Custom Shop recreation of Chuck Berry’s 1978 Wine Red ES-355, featuring ageing from the Murphy Lab team and a slew of historically accurate specifications.

The guitar features an all-maple body construction with red spruce bracing and bound F-holes. Binding is single-ply for the fretboard and F-holes, five-ply for the headstock, three-ply for the back and seven-ply for the top of the body.

The three-piece maple neck is topped with an Ebony fretboard and custom inlays, 22 frets and a 24.75-inch scale length. The neck’s profile has been matched to the original, and there’s a headstock volute for ultimate historical accuracy.

The pickups are a pair of Gibson 68 Custombucker Alnico 5 humbuckers, voiced for classic PAF clarity and resonance. These run through a volume and a tone pot each, as well as a six-position Varitone switch for some extra versatility.

The guitar’s aged-hold hardware includes a maestro vibrola tailpiece, a tune-o-matic bridge and Grover keystone tuners.

Gibson writes of the instrument and Berry’s legacy: “Chuck Berry was a founding father of rock and roll. His stagecraft and musicianship laid the foundation for nearly every genre of rock and popular music. His playing, showmanship, and catalogue of music helped launch many musicians’ careers, and countless sidemen shared the stage with him. So did his trusted Gibson guitars.”

The recreation is limited to 100 instruments, each hand-built and aged by the Gibson Custom Shop and the Murphy Lab respectively. Each guitar comes with a custom 1970s-style ES-335 case with red lining and a certificate of authenticity.

The Chuck Berry 1970s ES-355 will set you back $6,999. Find out more at

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