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?
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.
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.
Let's meet the competition.
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.
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.
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?