I distinctly remember my last semester in high school and a pair of red Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Star sneakers. I first wanted a pair in eighth grade, except I wanted unbleached white high-tops back then. Mom refused to buy them for me, commenting that "you don't wear out the bottoms of your shoes, why should I get you a pair with really good bottoms?" Well, only because they were as desirable then as Air Jordans are in 2013! All my buddies on the basketball team wore unbleached white high-top Chucks except Randy, he absoutely refused to wear high-top anythings for his six years of junior high and high school!
Over Christmas vacation in 1972, I was getting ready for my last semester in high school, and I needed a new pair of gym shoes. I did have the adidas GYM I mentioned earlier, but they were incredibly thin-soled... no shock absorptive capacity to speak of. I was at J. C. Penney, and they had huge racks filled with Chucks of various colors in their sporting goods department. Mom decided I was old enough to send out shopping without her tagging along.
Our standard gym uniform was based on the school colors: a white T-shirt and red shorts (and, of course, the mandatory Baby Boomer Boy athletic supporter). I thought a pair of red low-top Chucks would go nicely with all the above.
I showed off my purchases to Mom and she had a comment about the red low-top Chucks: "At least they're not a pair of cowboy boots!" (Even living in Texas, I don't do cowboy boots.)
Well, when I got back to school in 1973, those red Chucks got major attention. particularly among my classmates that were more athletically inclined than I. I think the major reason was our basketball team also wore red low-top Chucks. From what I remember, I was the only non-basketball player to dare to break the red Chuck color barrier! A lot of my classmates had white pairs, however; and a few had black ones. In retrospect, maybe I should have gotten a pair of red high-tops but everybody thought high-tops were kind of dorky back then (much to the detriment of their ankles). I'm thinking I'll wear a pair of red high-top Chucks to my next high school class reunion and tell the basketball players that I'm wearing the shoe they should have worn for the 1972-1973 season!
That time of my life was probably the most "low-top" oriented I've been. If I remember right, I got my next pair of Chucks (the always classic canvas unbleached white Converse "Chuck Taylor" All
Star high-top shoes) when I was in college. I felt I needed the additional stability to play intramural volleyball, although I would have been better off with a pair of something like adidas Promodel or Nike Blazer high-tops (to mention two contemporary shoes) as Chucks aren't extremely resistant to rolling. The University of Missouri basketball team also wore unbleached white high-top Chucks at the same time. One night, I got tired of studying and went out to run off some of the stress. Much to my surprise, three young ladies were watching me and made their presence known by cheering me on. But that's another story...
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Last Updated: 22 February 2017
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