When I grew up (just outside of Kansas City, Missouri), these were just called "tennis shoes" or "sneakers." However, in the Northeastern United States, there were a variety of interesting names for these "no-name" sneakers:
Up to the early 1970's, Chucks were pretty much the standard sneaker for Baby Boomer Boys growing up and playing basketball.... up to the time that adidas became popular. Then, some sneaker manufacturers started adding stripes to their same old product. There were two basic questions in picking out your sneakers in the early days:
For those not wanting to spend extra (or, as is true now, whose parents didn't want to spend extra) to get the genuine article, the major department stores and shoe stores all had their Chuck Clones. Around 1970, the genuine "Chuck Taylor" All-Star went for around $10, while you could have a pair of quite functional Chuck Clones for $5.
There were also generic running-type sneakers in the 1960's and 1970's, that were more or less "adidas clones" in their design.
As I, and others, remember some generic basketball-type sneakers:
are NOT your usual Chucks! Until 2003, another shoe company had the rights to
the All-Star name in Brazil, and they produced these shoes. Jorge (the guy who
sent me the picture) was mystified by the reference to "Julius Sixers," but I figured out it
was likely a reference to "Julius Erving.... of the
Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers." Indeed, in his heyday, Julius was either "America's No. 1
All Star" or he was close!
One of my readers mentioned that Wal-Mart had (in October 2002) a pair of excellent Chuck clones under the "Athletic Works" brand name. He also noted that they were even more comfortable than "real Chucks." (Those who insist on sneakers with good arch support would say "not hard!")
A brand of canvas sneakers made by the Bata Shoe Organization.
I remember that some jocks did wear these shoes (which did come in both
low-tops and high-tops) in high school, preferring them to the nearly omnipresent Chuck.
a clone they called the Coach. Look here for a detail
comparison of the Converse Coach versus the Converse
"Chuck Taylor" All Star.
"not a Chuck" from Converse: the "Player LT" sneaker, white with red and black trim.
Consumer Reports reviewed this shoe in 1968: $5.95 in high-top (white or black); low-tops also available if you insist.
I've had a couple of readers remark about the Converse Staff. Reportedly, they were even cheaper than the Coach.
number of my readers have commented about "Bob Cousy" canvas high-top basketball shoes with the name on
both the ankle patch and the heel patch, in green printing. One even sent me a
picture of the heel patch.
The first time I had heard of "Grips" in regards to sneakers, it was a reader mentioning that it was a slang term. As it turns out, there was indeed a "Grips" brand sneaker in the 1960s. Grips were made by the Beacon Falls Rubber Footwear Company of Beacon Falls, Connecticut... yet another long-gone brand.
Hood made PF Flyers in 1962. Later on, PF Flyers became a Goodrich
brand, then a Converse brand... finally ending
out with New Balance. Hood also made shoes
under their own name.
I had a reader mention these... he didn't know whether "Hummers" was a brand name or a nickname.
I had a reader mention these... with the epithet: "DEFINITELY boboes!"
I've had a reader mention canvas basketball shoes with the name of one-time New York Knicks coach Joe Lapchick on the ankle patch. They were
sold by Kinney Shoe Corporation. Kinney Shoe Corporation became part of
Woolworth Corporation (the "five-and-dime" company in the USA, not the
similarly-named grocery store in Australia). In 1974,
Kinney Shoe Corporation started Foot Locker. Since then, Woolworth closed or
sold off all the other parts of the company. In 2001, they changed their
corporate name to Foot
Locker, Inc. They even relinquished their prestigious one-letter trading
symbol "Z" to switch
the more meaningful "FL" symbol. As of the end of 2004, Foot Locker, Inc. now
has nearly 4000 locations worldwide under various brands (Champs Sports, Eastbay,
FootAction USA, Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker).
brand of sneakers from Mitsubishi. Interestingly enough, Mitsubishi is not
a single company, but a number of independent businesses who share a common
corporate history (some of them include Mitsubishi Chemical, Mitsubishi
Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi
Pharmaceuticals). One of the Mitsubishi companies still sells
sneakers in Japan. Some other examples: Playtex (clothing, household products);
Remington (guns, razors, and [at one time] typewriters) Marathon (oil exploration and production, oil refining and marketing)
A brand of Chuck Clones remembered by some people during a discussion of old sneakers.
A reader of Charlie's Sneaker Pages told me these were sold by the Thom McAn shoe store chain. I would have probably not seen them, as Thom McAn stores were in Saint Louis and points east of there; I grew up near Kansas City. Like NBA's, Thom McAn is no more. The last ones were shut down in late 1996. Interestingly enough for sneaker freaks, many of the former Thom McAn locations were converted to FootAction USA stores.
Another reader mentioned NBA's in connection with the Kinney shoe store chain... and Kinney is the ancestor of today's Foot Locker chain.
of my readers wrote with enthusiasm about his old North Star sneakers. Instead
of being strictly Chuck Clones, they look like they combined the basic design of
the Nike Blazer Canvas
with the two-stripe design favored by Pro-Keds of
Mentioned by one of my Canadian readers, who said "They were well made... almost as well as Chucks."
JCPenney, in addition to selling name-brand sneakers, had a produced a private-label sneaker with the ankle patch "JCP Air Cooled."
A brand of sneakers sold by the P. N. Hirsch department store chain. P. N. Hirsch is no more... they were absorbed by Dollar General Corporation in 1983.
Yet another brand of Chuck Clones. I (Charlie) remember having a pair when I was a kid.
I'm not certain Pro-Keds should be called Chuck Clones.
They weren't trying to look like a Chuck, and they had serious wearers all the
way to professional basketball players.
I had a writer comment about Randy Pedic brand sneakers. They were made by the Randolph Manufacturing Company of Randolph, Massachusetts... long gone.
are a brand of sneakers that have been mentioned several times by site visitors. Red Ball Jets were made from 1951 to 1971, then the sneakers were discontinued. Red Ball, Inc., continued in the footwear business for many years, but without any sneakers in their product line. They eventually became part of LaCrosse Footwear.
are yet another brand of Chuck Clones mentioned by visitors by this Web site. One reader sent me a poignant tale of the indignity of having to wear Scats as a young boy.
produced a sneaker labeled with the brand name "Jeepers." Jeepers looked more like Chucks than the Penney or Wards products. My older brother Bruce had a pair, and I thought they were a dead ringer for Chucks. (Jeepers were produced in the same factory as the Converse All Star, but there were some small differences.) Some boys called them Cheaper Jeepers, and some enterprising youth in Eugene, Lane County, Oregon started their own business removing labels from Jeepers for a small fee.
For many years, Sears
had a house brand sneaker called "The Winner." This ad points out that
"The Winner" (in this particular incarnation) was "Built by CONVERSE" and they sure looked it. (Also note the
quadruple stripes; not a mere three in the adidas
Another brand of Chuck Clones mentioned by an avid reader of the USENET alt.clothing.sneakers newsgroup.
of my readers sent me a picture of this ankle patch. The patch is on the outside of the
sneaker, instead of on the inside in the classic Chuck style. He described the sole as
looking "for all the world, identical to a Chuck, including the material." (A
sold their house-brand sneakers to Baby Boomers using the "Skips"
brand name. The 1931 Wards catalogue had Skips and I can remember them in the
1970s. (My typical fall school shopping trip started at Wards... then, if Mom
and I didn't find what we wanted, then off to Sears and Penneys; although later
on, we decided "the good stuff is at Penneys" and went there first. I can never
remember ending out with Jeepers until I upgraded to Chucks for gym class in
1973... so I must have decided the first stop we came to was good enough.) The rubber
foxing around the Skips that I remember looked nothing like Converse; it was
untextured. In 2002, I noted that the Montgomery Ward bankruptcy trustee was attempting to sell all
their brand names to the highest bidder. For those who like tradition, the name "Skips" was available for sale!
the W. T. Grant department store chain went bankrupt in the middle 1970s, the W.
T. Grant Foundation (endowed by the chain's founder) is alive and
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Last Updated: 31 December 2016
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copyright 1995-2016 by Charles L. Perrin.
READERS PLEASE NOTE: Names of athletic shoe manufacturers, shoe styles, and
technologies may be trademarked by the manufacturers. Charlie's Sneaker Pages uses these names solely to describe the shoes with the same familiar
nomenclature used by the manufacturer and recognized by the reader.