Skate Culture

Converse Chuck Taylors: the greatest of the 1980s skate shoes

The place of Skate Shoes in Skate Culture

Lately, I  can’t stop thinking about Skate Shoes and their place in skate culture.

Of course, everyone knows that skate shoes have an important place in skate culture that goes back to skateboarding roots.

In particular, when I think about skate shoes, Converse Chuck Taylors are burned into my mind from skateboarding magazines I flicked through when I was a kid.

Are Converse Chucks really the greatest 80s Skate Shoes?

As far as the 1980s skate shoe is concerned, the shoe I most associate with skateboarding in the 1980s is not Vans (which I associate more with the 1970s) but the Converse Chuck Taylor skate shoes — specifically the All-Star ankle height high-top version.

Salba Converse 1980s Chuck Skate Shoes
Salba wearing Red Converse Chuck Skate Shoes

What were the other popular skate shoes in the 1980s?

Now, there were, of course, other notable contenders for the greatest 1980s skate shoe other than Converse Chucks. 

At the time, there was, of course, Vans itself and Airwalk and Vision Street Wear, to name a few. 

Rocco Converse Chuck Skate Shoes
Rocco (left) is wearing Turquoise Converse Chuck Skate Shoes

I cannot know what was going on in other regions, but certainly, growing up in those days, this is what I remember locals gravitating to.

The image of a skater with his well-worn Chuck’s is burnt into my memory quite distinctly.

Converse Chuck Skate Shoes

Why were Chuck Taylor Skate Shoes so popular?

In the 1980s, when I thought of skateboarding, my mind immediately thought of – among other things – Chuck Taylor Skate Shoes.

The notoriety of Converse Skate Shoes in the 1980s and beyond may be – in part – because they came in distinctive colors like turquoise, pink, red, as well as more traditional shoe colors such as black and white.

As a result, the distinct colors of Converse Chuck Skate Shoes, in combination with their rubber toe and white circular and blue star logo, made the shoes “pop,” and they were immediately identifiable.

Accordingly, Chucks took on a kind of iconic status

Additionally, a large part of the popularity of Converse Skate Shoes is in no small part due to many influential skaters wearing them in iconic skate videos.

Indeed, when you look back on old skate videos like Santa Cruz’s Wheels of Fire, you can see Converse All-Stars all over the place, worn by skaters like Steve Alba, Natas Kaupas and Christian Hosoi.

That said, this wasn’t universal. You also see skaters wearing more typical sneakers from Nike or the non-canvas Converse, never mind Vision, Airwalks, Madrids and so on.

Still, for me, Converse Chuck Skate Shoes, especially colorful All-Star Chucks, are the ones that were an integral aspect of skate culture in the 1980pop

Natas Kaupas wearing Chucks

Natas Kaupas Converse Skate Shoes
Natas Kaupas wearing pink Converse Skate Shoes, Photo by Mofo
Natas Kaupas Converse Chuck Skate Shoe
Natas Kaupas Wearing Red Converse Chuck Skate Shoe

Christian Hosoi wearing Chucks

Christian Hosoi Converse Chuck Skate Shoes
Christian Hosoi wearing Pink Converse Chuck Skate Shoes
Christian Hosoi Converse Chuck Skate Shoes
Christian Hosoi Converse wearing Pink Chuck Skate Shoes in a half pipe
Christian Hosoi Converse Chuck Skate Shoes
Christian Hosoi wearing Hibiscus Converse Chuck Skate Shoes

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