There’s no denying that if you want to go for a grungy, retro-look, that you’ll need to pick up a pair of canvas sneakers.
Popular since the 80s for skaters and mall rats alike, these sneakers are known for being stylish and comfortable, as well as being suitable for a large variety of situations.
But how do you tell the difference between Chucks and Converse All Stars sneakers? How can you stop yourself from embarrassing yourself in front of the stylish punks for whom the difference is life or death?
Well don’t worry, we’ll cover everything from the history to the manufacturing throughout this article to give you the low down on the difference between Converse All Stars and Chuck Taylors.
Converse was first founded as a company all the way back in 1908, although their shoes weren’t actually designed and created until 1917.
Initially, these sneakers were developed to work primarily as basketball shoes, similar to how Vans were made as skateboarding shoes (see also ‘Are Vans Vegan‘).
There were a lot of sports personalities that preferred Converse shoes, but it wasn’t until the very popular and acclaimed basketball player Chuck Taylor started advertising them that the sneakers became eponymous with the star and popular as a casual shoe.
Taylor can be thanked for the massive popularity that these shoes, as well as the company, saw later in the 20th century.
In the 80s, Converse actually had to change a lot about the ways that their flagship shoes were created in response to the rapidly growing popularity and increasing production costs.
These changes mostly consisted of making the canvas and the shoelaces thinner, which impacted the structure of the shoe, but not enough to make them undesirable.
Through the millennia, Converse All Stars started to grow much more popular than the brand’s Chuck Taylors. So, in 2013, Converse reintroduced the classic shoe as the “Chuck 70”, a modern take on the classic sneakers, whilst still including some vintage elements.
This page will compare these Chuck 70s to Converse’s All Star model to see what differences there are.
The main difference that you can see between these two models is that the Chuck 70s are bulkier and have a lot more weight to them.
This is because the canvas used to make them is thicker, and so is the toe box and the sole. This gives the Chuck 70 a lot more structure and strength to them.
All Stars on the other hand are lighter and a little flimsier because of thinner canvas, and a smaller toe box. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because some people much prefer the flexibility that All Stars offer compared to the rigidity of Chuck 70s.
If you’re wanting to use these shoes as a fashion piece, worn purely for style, then you can absolutely get away with All Stars. Just because they’re slightly lower quality doesn’t mean that they’re not still great shoes with a lot of longevity.
However, if you plan to wear your sneakers a lot, particularly if you want to wear them for sports or lots of walking, you’ll be much better off picking up Chuck Taylors, as the sturdier structure gives your feet and ankles much more support, and means you’re less likely to get injured whilst working out.
Aside from luckily chunkier, there are a few other visual aspects that should help you differentiate the two. For one, the sole and toe cap of the Chucks are glossier, and tinted off-white to give them more of a vintage feel.
The gloss makes them look more cared for, as well as reducing the chance that the toe cap will get scuffed (the most annoying thing to happen when you get new Converse).
The Converse logo on the ankle is also different between the two models. On Chucks, the logo is a little smaller, and there is an extra line on the midfoot.
There are a few ideas about why this extra line has been included on the Chuck 70s, but the most tangible possibility is that it’s there to keep the sole from splitting at the toe break, which is something that All Stars are notorious for doing only after a couple of months of continuous wear.
My favorite thing about the Chucks compared to the All Stars is the logo on the heels. All Stars have a screen printed tag that almost always starts to wear after just a few weeks.
Chucks on the other hand have a real leather 3D tag that is glued together and is a lot sturdier.
The sole on the All Star is 3 pieces of rubber, whilst the Chuck 70 consists of just one piece of rubber. All Stars have always been harder and flatter which are better for lifting though Chucks have much better arch support.
However, both of the shoes are made with a strong, vulcanized rubber.
The All Stars are popular for weight-lifters because of how solid and stable the sole is whilst the Chuck’s sole has a lot more cushion to it, making it better for long term wear.
The fact that All Stars have three pieces of rubber means that it’s somewhat less secure than the Chucks, because they have to be put together, and those seams will be weaker.
Again, this isn’t completely an issue if you would prefer to have more flexible shoes, but it is something to bear in mind.
As mentioned above, the Chuck 70s include a siding that runs for about half a millimetre over the top of the canvas, which keeps all the layers of canvas together, as well as reducing the chances that there will be holes that form by the toe break.
This extra stitching will also provide extra lateral stability and be much better for your ankle and overall walking health.
The Chuck 70’s extra softness comes from a special insole, which is made from a kind of material that both absorbs shock and has built up arch support. If your feet get sore without much support, pick the Chuck 70s.
They’re the most comfortable construction of the classic design to date.
Sizing has been a difficult thing to pinpoint with Converse for a long time.
If you have average sized feet, then you should be able to wear them true to size, however, if you have broad feet, then you might find that you need to size-up a bit in order to accommodate for the very narrow soles.
Some people choose to always size down so that they get a more secure fit, particularly if they’re wearing them to work out in.
For the All Stars, you should be able to get away with going true to size, but with the Chucks, you’ll probably have to size down. This is because of the heel slippage.
The All Star is much stiffer around the heel (one of the reasons that they’re so notorious for being a pain to break in). The Chucks, on the other hand, have some extra canvas on the heel which makes them worse at gripping the heel.
This is one of the reasons why people recommend that you get your shoes from a store instead of online, so that you can check the fit, and even get them measured properly by one of the store clerks.
The biggest difference between these two models has to be the price. All Star Hi Tops are probably going to cost you about $55, low tops about $50. As for the Chuck 70s, these are around $85 for hi tops, and $80 for low tops.
The reason for this price difference should be clear – the quality of the Chuck 70 is significantly higher than the quality of the All Star, even down to the stitching.
For a lot of people, this extra attention to detail is worth the extra cash, but it does make them a little less accessible for a lot of people.
You pay more, but they should last much longer, so maybe it makes sense to splash out in the long run.
All Star Pros
Converse All Stars are the pinnacle of sneakers. Over a billion pairs have been sold since they were first released, and they really are the definition of iconic. Just the silhouette of hi tops alone is enough to recognize the sneaker.
They’re also cheaper. Although the argument can be made that you pay for what you get, All Stars are still super high quality shoes that will see you a good few years of regular wear before needing to be replaced.
The All Stars are also lighter, meaning they feel easier to walk in, and you can travel with them better.
No one wants to have to pack a spare pair of bulky, heavy shoes into their luggage or backpack when travelling, but All Stars are more flexible and generally easier to transport.
They’re better for lifting weights because of their much harder, stronger, and more stable base. The final, and most vital pro for the All Star range is the sheer amount of variety you can pick from.
There are literally thousands of designs and colors for you to choose from, with new designs and limited editions coming out all the time. If you want to express yourself or your creativity, then you can absolutely do so through All Stars.
Chuck 70s Pros
The major pro that I think puts the Chucks ahead of the All Stars is the fact that the build quality is so much better. The thicker canvas and soles gives the shoe a lot more durability and structure, making them much better for everyday use.
Though the Chucks are more expensive, this is because they are simply a better shoe that will last longer and weather all kinds of wear and tear much better than the All Stars.
The Chuck 70 is more durable and sturdy, with improved cushioning and arch support, making them much better for long-term use.
All Stars are cheaper and available in a much larger variety of colors, allowing you to express your creativity much more than Chuck 70s.
In my opinion, Chuck Taylors are well worth the money for a solid pair of everyday sneakers that can keep up with all of your activities. Whereas All Stars are much better as fashion statements and to match outfits and improve your style.
If you can only buy one pair though, go with the Chucks, as you will get a lot more use out of them, and you won’t have to replace them after only a couple of years.
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