Born in 1917 as a basketball shoe and appended with the name of a hoops star of the era – Chuck Taylor – a few years later, the All-Star soon became arguably the first global trainer icon. With its simple, lightweight structure proving ideal for athletic endeavour (though it’s hard to imagine those thin rubber soles offering much extra uplift for would-be dunkers), it had achieved near-total dominance of the basketball scene by the 60s (check out the film
Hoosiers, AKA Best Shot, for some excellent retro Chuck-age).
But it was outside of the organised sporting arena that the Chuck Taylor cemented its legendary status. Legions of skaters, BMX-ers and musicians – from the Ramones to Kurt Cobain, the Strokes to Wiz Khalifa – championed the style and ensured that, from the 70s onwards, the shoe was a byword for cool-kid casualwear rather than the hardwood court.
Whether you rock the more punky high-top or the versatile low-top version (at a mere 60 years old, the baby of the All-Star brood), it’s hard to go too far wrong with a pair of Chucks. Basic black or white, with white soles and laces, can be rocked with more or less anything – from skinny jeans to shorts, or even smarter cropped trousers and a blazer – while the more adventurous options (from stars and stripes to Campbell’s soup cans) are most easily styled as a statement piece in an otherwise-pared-back monochrome outfit.