For most, cool is ephemeral, but for Converse, it's eternal. The company that was founded 100 years ago by Marquis Mills Converse in Malden, Mass., introduced its most famous sneaker in 1917and it's still tied on the feet of hipsters today. The Converse All Star, designed as a performance basketball shoe, boasted an orthopedic shank for cushioning and a corrugated edge for traction. Just a year after the All Star's launch, Indiana teen Charles (Chuck) Taylor laced up his first pair. Taylor was his school's star basketball player, an All-American who started playing professionallyfor the Columbus Commercialswhile still in high school. Not long after that, Taylor signed with Converse to become basketball's first player endorser, and by the 1930s, his name was officially added to the sneaker. When the NBA was formed years later, the sneaker was the most popular shoe on the court. The Chuck Taylor All Star, as it is now known, earned fans beyond basketball when Converse, serving as a military contractor during WW II, produced a modified version for use in basic training. In the '50s and '60s, it became a mainstay of youth culture. A new oxford style was introduced, and seven bright-color options were added to the black-and-white lineup. In 1969 Chucks became indelibly linked with rock 'n' roll when George Harrison wore a black pair of high-tops during the Beatles' famous Apple Studio rooftop performance. In the '70s, they were the uniform for legendary punk bands like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, and in the '80s, they showed up in classic movies like Footloose and The Outsiders. Today, with fans ranging from Reese Witherspoon to Mick Jagger, Chuck Taylor All Stars are a style slam dunk.
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