Converse Chucks -- An Iconic Skate Shoe of the Eighties

For whatever reason I have been thinking a lot about Converse Chucks lately. Now everyone knows the place that Vans and its shoes have in skate culture; it is uncontested and goes back to skateboarding's roots. (Certainly, when I was a kid, the iconic Vans logo was burnt into my brain from seeing it all over the skateboarding magazines.) That being said, as far as shoes are concerned, the shoe I myself most associate with skateboarding in the 1980's are not Vans (which I would associate more with the 1970's), they are rather Chucks -- specifically the ankle height high-top version. Now, there were, of course, other notable contenders in the mix for skateboarding's shoe attention at that time, from Vans itself of course, to Airwalk and Vision Street Wear to name a few, but for me skateboarding in the 1980's means, amongst other things, Chucks.

Part of this may simply be due to the fact that Chuck's came not only in more traditional shoe colors but also very distinctive one's like turquoise, pink, red and so on. This, combined with their rubber toe and white circular and blue starred logo, made the shoes "pop" and were immediately identifiable.The took on a kind of iconic status accordingly.  I cannot know what was going on in other regions, but certainly growing up in those days, this is what I remember locals gravitating toward. The image of a skater with his well worn Chuck's is one that is burnt into my memory quite distinctly.  Certainly, too, when you look back on old skate videos like Santa Cruz's Wheels of Fire you can see them all over the place, worn by skaters like Salba and Christian Hosoi for example.

It goes without saying this wasn't universal. You also see skaters wearing more typical sneakers from Nike or the non-canvas Converse as well, never mind Vision, Airwalks, Madrids and so on, but for me, Chucks, especially colourful Chucks, are the one's that to me were an integral aspect of skate culture in the 1980s.

Christian Hosoi
Natas in pink Chucks. Photo by Mofo.

Rocco on the left looks to be wearing Chucks
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Christian Hosoi
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