More than just a pair of beat-up shoes, my Converse have stood the test of time, carrying defining moments of my youth through its simplicity and sense of familiarity that everyone has grown to love.
I was sitting in a parking lot, surrounded by friends, waiting for a concert to start. We were shaking from the cold and from excitement for the show we had purchased tickets for many months ago. My legs were stretched out in front of me, and I took notice of my hot pink Converse that looked perfect with the blues and pinks from the sky. As I stared at my shoes, I saw all the dirt marks on them. Instead of getting upset about my carelessness with my shoes, I thought about the memories these shoes hold, the memories that have defined my youth that are present on my Converse.
Proud Owner Since Age Five
I have owned a variety of Converse since the age of five; blue, gray, light pink, hot pink, and the classic white. I remember walking through the Converse store contemplating which color suited me best at the time. Part of the reason why I believe Converse is very popular is because of time.
Playing Against and With Time
Converse All Star shoes have been in production since 1917. Being around for approximately 102 years, they have had to play both against and with time. Every brand’s goal is to exist for as long as possible or to become timeless. Converse, originally a shoe for basketball players, had to challenge time when players moved on to more comfortable and durable shoes. The brand experienced some low points after losing its core consumers, but you can go to almost any setting with young people present and see a pair of Chucks. Our generation seems to gravitate towards anything vintage; record players, mom jeans, fanny packs, and Converse. We long to include ourselves in a past that we have not seen. We lace up our Converse and think about how our parents, and even grandparents, laced their Converse up before us during their coming of age. We are attracted to the sentimentality that comes with aging shoes.
Looking for Simplicity
The Breakfast Club, Booksmart, Stand By Me, and The Edge of Seventeen are all movies about young people trying to understand the world around them now that their view from a place of innocence and comfort is shifting. In all of these movies, there is at least one character wearing Converse. I believe that youths are attached to these shoes because they are simple. As young people, we are overwhelmed by figuring out who we are, others telling us who we should be, and complicated decisions. Chucks can be edgy, soft, vibrant, cool, bold, or whatever we want them to be. Through them, we can show who we are at the moment, and no one picks them but us. They match with almost every outfit, making the decision to wear them uncomplicated.
The Converse that I got in high school has marks from skating in the parking lot after school, running around parks with my friends during sunset, and marching in the streets of downtown to protest injustice. Although I love my Converse and my memories with them, now that I’m in college I think it’s time for a new pair that I can make dirty. I think I’ll get bright yellow because right now, I’m feeling hopeful.