Types of Converse

by Kirsten Nunez

Converse is an iconic American sneaker brand that is worn by people all over the world. Founded in 1908, the brand is best known for the classic Chuck Taylor All Star sneaker. However, you might be surprised to learn that Converse also makes many other different types of sneakers.

Chuck Taylor All Stars

Classic Chuck Taylor

The classic Chuck Taylor is made of canvas material and a rubber sole. They are available as low- and high-tops. The high-tops have a screen-printed circle patch that says "Converse All Star" around a star. High-tops can be worn in several different ways: The shoelaces can be laced all the way up or the tongue can be folded down for a laid-back look. Jeans can also be tucked into high tops or worn over the sneaker.

High- and low-tops are the two main types of classic Chuck Taylors. Other ankle lengths include knee-high sneaker, mid-length and flip flops. The "Shoreline" style is a summer sneaker that has elastic ruching along the heel.

Thick white rubber soles are an iconic feature of classic Chuck Taylors. However, Converse also makes sneakers with slim soles and wedges for women.

Classic Colors

The core line of Chuck Taylors features basic colors -- white (known as optical white), beige (natural white), black, navy blue, charcoal gray, red and pink. A monochrome black style, featuring black rubber soles, patch and shoelaces, is also part of the classic line. These colors are available all year-round and usually never go on sale.

Classic Color Slips

Chuck Taylor Slips are low-tops without shoelaces. They are designed to be easily slipped on and off. The canvas feels worn-in and has fraying edges. This unisex style is offered in four colors: black, navy, natural (beige) and gray.

Fresh Colors

Chuck Taylors in colors other than the classic shades are the Fresh Colors line. These shades, which are offered as both high- and low-tops, are usually available seasonally. This means that they may only be sold during certain times of the year.

Washed Colors

Washed Canvas Chuck Taylors are designed to look distressed and worn in. The canvas is sprayed with a special pigment to create a vintage feel. The shoelaces, sole and toecap are also distressed.

Graphic Collections

Chuck Taylors can also be made with printed canvas, offering alternative options to the classic All Stars. Graphic Chuck Taylors have the same All Star patch and structure as classics. Examples of Converse graphic styles include the American Flag, pop art and rainbow styles for the LGBT movement.

Converse has also partnered with many artists, musicians and designers to create graphic sneakers. These collaborations mesh the unique style of the partner with the authentic Chuck Taylor structure. Converse has a diverse roster of collaborators, including:

  • DC Comics
  • Black Sabbath
  • Missoni
  • Andy Warhol
  • Marimekko
  • The Simpsons

The price points of graphic styles depend on the design. Limited edition styles and collaborations with high-end designers, such as Missoni, tend to be more expensive.

Leather Collections

High- and low-top Chuck Taylors are also made with leather. The two main leather styles are white and black monochrome. The rubber sole, toecap and shoelaces are the same colors as the leather. Leather Chuck Taylors cost more than the canvas versions.

John Varvatos Collections

Chuck Taylors designed by American men’s fashion designer John Varvatos are also made by Converse. This is a permanent collection sold by both Converse and John Varvatos. These styles feature the iconic Chuck Taylor structure with an extra rock 'n' roll edge. Varvatos often uses leather, textured material and studs. Many styles also have extra zippers and additional hardware embellishments.

Because Varvatos is a high-end designer, his sneakers are at a much higher price point. As of 2015, Chuck Taylors by John Varvatos were $100 to $200.

The Cons Collection

The CONS collection is Converse’s skateboarding line. Cons are influenced by street culture and uses bold sports-inspired colors. Converse often releases Cons collaborations with professional skateboarders.

Cons are made with a memory foam liner, traction rubber and a padded tongue. While they are usually low- and mid-top length, Converse occasionally makes high-tops.

Jack Purcell Collection

Converse's Jack Purcell sneakers are higher-end versions of low top Chuck Taylors. They are have a thicker sole and raised toe cap. Often made with wool or leather, Jack Purcell styles have more support than their Chuck Taylor counterparts. The sole also has a comfortable foot bed, sometimes made of cork. This line of sneakers is named after the champion badminton player Jack Purcell.

About the Author

Kirsten Nunez is a lifestyle writer and author focusing on crafts, creativity and health. Since 2010, she has been sharing DIY projects at WildAmor.com (formerly Studs & Pearls). In May 2014, she published a craft book, "Studs & Pearls: 30 Creative Projects for Customized Fashion." She lives in San Francisco.