Converse is an iconic American sneaker brand that is worn by people of all ages all over the world. While Converse’s claim to fame is the classic Chuck Taylor All Star, the company has other collections aside from the All Star line. One example is Converse One Star, a retro-inspired collection that represents Converse’s distinctive "downtown cool” vibe.
Converse All Star
While Converse is known for canvas sneakers, the company began in 1908 as a rubber shoe brand specializing in galoshes. Eventually, Converse started using the rubber in their canvas basketball sneakers. In 1920, they named the sneakers "All Stars," which were only available in black leather and canvas. Shortly after, Akron Firestone basketball player Charles H. Taylor discovered All Stars. He liked them so much that he joined the Converse team and eventually had the All Star sneaker named after him. Officially known as Chuck Taylor All Stars, the sneakers became extremely popular, quickly spreading to the skateboarding, music and art scenes. Today, the brand heavily identifies with both creative and sports communities. It is also available in hundreds of different colors, patterns and materials. Converse often collaborates with designer brands such as Missoni and Commes Des Garcons to create high-end All Star sneakers.
The classic All Star is characterized by canvas material, a thick rubber sole and iconic circle and star patch. The traditional patch features a blue star in the center of a white circle, a blue dotted outline and “Converse All Star Chuck Taylor” around the star. Classic models have a screen printed patch, but different styles may have an embroidered or rubber patch. It may also vary in color scheme. Despite different models, the layout of the All Star patch remains the same.
Classic All Stars are available as low and hi tops. The low tops are known as an oxford or “ox.” Hi tops feature the All Star patch near the ankle, along the inside of the sneaker; low tops do not have a patch. Today, special styles of All Stars include open back shoes, mid-length and even knee high. Metal eyelets are added to the lace holes. Most All Stars have a white rubber sole and white stitching, but this may also vary depending on the model.
Classic All Stars are typically sold for about $50 for low tops and $55 for high tops, as of 2015. Exclusive and seasonal styles are more expensive.
Original Converse One Star
In 1974, Converse released the One Star sneaker. This low oxford version of their basketball sneaker was made with suede, giving off a retro look. Unlike the All Stars, One Stars did not have the traditional circle patch with a blue star and text. Instead, the One Star was branded with a single white five-point star. On the sneaker, the star looked like it has been cut out of the canvas, exposing white fabric. It was also outlined with white stitching and was not accompanied by text. By the 1990s, One Star quickly transitioned from a basketball sneaker to a staple in the surf, skate and grunge music communities.
Current Converse One Star
By 2008, Converse One Star became an exclusive brand for the American discount retailer, Target. While today’s One Star sneakers are also made of canvas, they are not considered to be classic Chuck Taylors. Available as both low and hi tops, the original single star motif is used in all sneaker designs. One Stars are only available in a few basic colors such as black, gray and pink, unlike All Stars. The lace holes do not have metal eyelets and the rubber soles are thicker than All Stars. One Stars also have more white contrast stitching than their All Star counterparts.
The most significant difference of the One Star line is the price point. Low tops are sold for about $15 less than low All Stars, while hi top One Stars are about $20 cheaper than high All Stars. Converse One Star sneakers are ideal for customers who love the brand but want a more affordable option.
Kirsten Nunez is a lifestyle writer and author focusing on crafts, recipes, 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 New York.