Vans and Chuck Taylor All Stars: Two Shoes That Will Always Spark Conversation
I don’t usually pay close attention to what other guys are wearing, but the other day I couldn’t help but notice the footwear on my coworker, Chaz. He happened to be sporting a pair of checkered Vans. You may remember it as the shoe that Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) used to thump himself in the head in the 1982 classic film “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”. Now, 30 years later, Chaz is sporting them on Casual Friday at the office. We talked for a few minutes on the subject, and Chaz tells me he started wearing Vans in the late ‘80’s, then stopped for a while, but began wearing them again when he received a pair as a Christmas gift.
What does this particular fashion statement say about my coworker? I don’t know. Anyone who knows him understands that the words “fashion” and “Chaz” don’t mesh well in the same sentence. But the fact that he was wearing a shoe that came to existence over 45 years ago intrigued me. You see, I too have been known to sport vintage footwear. I have owned at least one pair of Chuck Taylor All-Stars since 3rd grade. I started to wear them because my mom was tired of the rate I was going through shoes, so she paid $3.00 for a pair that were a size too big. It took the whole school year to grow into them, and I haven’t stopped wearing the brand since.
Today they are a part of who I am, in a way. They cost a lot more than $3.00 now, but Chucks are worth every penny. Now that my feet have stopped growing, I can keep the same pair for five or more years, and I can wear them while doing most everything, from mowing the lawn to going out on a date, or taking the family to the zoo. They travel well, too, because a pair of Chucks can flatten to about an inch thick. And I’ve been told that they actually look cooler the older they get. Even better. I think it’s funny that the only use they aren’t really suited for is playing basketball – it’s original purpose.
“Chucks” are now a family tradition. As the Chuck Taylor All Star brand approaches 100 years old, my son now wears them proudly (now with one black, one white shoelace) to school most every day.
I don’t know if I’d consider my shoes – or Chaz’ – to be a fashion statement, but our shoes sure do manage to spark conversation. Do you, or does someone you know, have a similar “fashion statement”?