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Converse buying guide: Everything you need to know about the classic trainers

Founded more than 100-years ago, the brand has experienced a recent renaissance

Daisy Lester
Wednesday 13 April 2022 11:30
<p>The kicks have been sported by everyone from Bella Hadid to Vice President Kamala Harris </p>

The kicks have been sported by everyone from Bella Hadid to Vice President Kamala Harris

Founded in 1908, people have been stepping out in Converse for more than a century. Before the likes of Nike and Adidas, the American brand dominated the athletic shoe market for 50 years – and while its sporty status might have been overtaken, Converse’s popularity hasn’t waned.

The brand’s sneakers are a staple of off-duty style, spotted on everyone from influencers and dads to the likes of Bella Hadid, Kai Geber and Vice President Kamala Harris. Laid back, classic and cool with its retro design that’s mostly unchanged since the early 20th century, there’s a reason why Converse kicks are so enduring.

The brand has gone through a few different phases over its lifetime. Soon after introducing the All-Star basketball shoe in 1918 and then the first Chuck Taylor All-Stars in 1922, the brand switched to manufacturing military shoes during the Second World War before then returning to trainers.

The famed Chuck Taylor trainer was named as such after the Converse basketball team’s coach – yes, it was common at the time for brands to own sports teams and use players to promote its sneakers. As the label’s most recognisable shoe, it has seen a series of contemporary upgrades during its 100-year lifespan, as well as successful collaborations with Comme Des Garcon, Off White and JW Anderston, to name just a few.

Across its high top, low top, platform and boot styles, the classic lace-up and rubber-soled design is consistent, as is the brand’s star logo. But with so many collabs, soles, colours and ankle heights to choose from, it can be tricky to know which pair is best for you. Here, we’ve answered some of the biggest queries surrounding Converse and picked out the best styles you should invest in right now.

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How to clean white converse

If you’re looking to keep your white Converse box fresh, cleaning them by hand yields the best results. Start by removing the laces and brushing off any loose dirt with a toothbrush, before rinsing your shoes under running cold water. Then, scrub your Converse using any of the following liquids that you have to hand; baking soda and vinegar; toothpaste; or baking soda, laundry detergent and water.

The baking soda and vinegar method is the most widely recommended, as they combine to make an effective paste that can scrub off stubborn stains. You can use a toothbrush again to do this and make sure to rinse again under cool water once done. Stuff the shoes with tissue paper while drying to prevent the Converse losing their shape.

Can you wash converse in the washing machine?

You can, but this method is not as effective as washing by hand. If you choose to put your Converse in the washing machine, make sure you place them in a mesh bag or pillowcase to protect them from the washing machine drum. Always use a low temperature – 20 degrees or less – and put them on a gentle cycle for 30 minutes to an hour. It’s best to avoid fabric conditioners and for extra precaution against damage, you could pad the drum with towels.

How to lace converse

The criss cross method is the most common for tying up Converse. It begins with pulling your shoelace straight across the bottom set of eyelets, then cross one end over and pull through the second eyelet on the opposite side. Repeat on the other end and continue up through the eyelets.

How to style high top converse

The laid back and classic nature of Converse makes them a versatile wardrobe staple. High top styles in particular lend themselves to everything from jeans to dresses and skirts. Whether teamed with wide leg jeans so just the tips of your shoes poke out or with slightly cropped, straight leg jeans that show off the high top design, Converse add a retro flair to your everyday look.

They work just as well with dresses, whether midi length or mini – helping to dress down your look. If you’re showing leg, tie your laces around your ankle for extra detailing. For a high top pair that truly goes with everything, opt for black.

Do converse fit true to size?

In our experience, Converse is usually spot on with its sizing –  and if you’re between sizes, half sizes from 3 to 11.5 are available when purchasing directly from the brand.

Are converse vegan?

While Converse isn’t strictly a vegan label, many of its shoe styles are leather-free and crafted from cotton canvas and rubber; only a handful of styles still use animal leather and suede.

Though the brand’s not certified vegan, take your pick from any of the canvas styles for a shoe free of animal-cruelty (avoid the Chuck 70 high tops, as Converse has recently added a leather embossed All Star patch to the design).

And if you’re trying to make sustainable choices when it comes to fashion, then you may like to know that the entire “renew” line is made from repurposed scraps from the manufacturing range, making it the best bet if you’re looking for a waste-free pair of kicks.

Which Converse trainers to buy?

With your burning questions answered, you’re now left with the decision of which pair to purchase. From high tops and sustainable or platform pairs, to low tops, patterned pairs and collaborations, we’ve got you covered.

Converse black and white chuck 70 hi trainers: £80, Schuh.co.uk

Converse’s classic silhouette was given a contemporary upgrade with the addition of chunkier rubber soles. A favourite among the fashion pack, the black colourway is arguably the most wearable with the vintage finish adding to the shoe’s retro feel. Boasting winged tongue stitching, the label’s signature star ankle patch and glossy, egret midsole, the high top design is an instant wardrobe mainstay. Team your kicks with everything from straight leg jeans to summer dresses for a laid back and classic look.

The Chuck 70 trainers come in both high top and low top styles, as well as in a whole range of colours, from classic whites and pinks to patterned designs or limited edition seasonal colours – the widest selection can be found on Converse’s own site.

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Converse Chuck Taylor all star classic: £60, Converse.com

The classic Chuck Taylors with OG thin rubber sole are mostly unchanged since its creation more than 100 years ago. With its lightweight and durable upper canvas, as well as added airflow with the metal eyelets, it’s no surprise that they’re a summer staple.

The white and black colourways are always reliable – we reviewed the white leather finish version of the style (£70, Converse.com) in our round-up of the best women’s white trainers, with our tester praising them as “a great pick if you’re on the hunt for a high top that’ll stand the test of time.” But why not make a statement in pink this summer instead.

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Converse white Chuck Taylor all star low top trainers: £55, Urbanoutfitters.com

If low tops are more your style, Converse’s classic All Star Chuck Taylor trainers with the original thin rubber sole is your best bet. These white ones from Urban Outfitters’ come with the durable canvas upper, cotton laces, padded footbed and the signature toe rubber cap. Just like the high tops, they come in a wide range of finishes, from red (£36, Urbanoutfitters.com) to fun pink heart print designs (£45.60, Asos.com) and seasonal colours (£55, Converse.com).

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Converse run star hike platform: £95, Converse.com

Those wanting some serious height in their kicks should opt for Converse’s run star range. In vogue with a chunky track sole, the shoe retains all the label’s signatures including the lace up design, metal eyelets, rubber toe cap and the All Star logo, while there’s added detailing with the stitched finish. A fun and futuristic take on the retro style trainers.

As well as black and white, the run stars come in a range of seasonal colours and are even customisable (£115, Converse.com) via the Converse website.

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Converse X Comme Des Garcons Chuck Taylor hi 70s: £130, Offspring.co.uk

A fashion powerhouse, Converse and Comme Des Garcons first teamed up in 2009 for one of the trainer brand’s most successful and long-running collaborations. The Chuck Taylor hi 70s with the instantly recognisable red heart designed by artist Filip Pagowski. Introduced in 2015, the design has since been renewed every year and is available in black, white, grey and khaki, as well as high and low styles and novelty interpretations of the heart design. We love the black the best, finding it the most wearable and classic style.

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Converse run star motion platform: £95, Converse.com

Adding a good couple of inches onto your height, Converse’s run star motion platforms have a similar futuristic feel to the run star hikes (£95, Converse.com). The platform midsole is paired with the classic canvas upper, retaining all the Converse signatures of the stitching, laces and tongue logo. Available in both low top and high top (£110, Converse.com) styles, this modern take on Converse is designed for making a statement.

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Converse Chuck Taylor all star move platform: £75, Converse.com

A platform take on the Chuck Taylors, this pair are designed with lightweight comfort in mind – boasting a moulded platform midsole and extra cushioning. There’s also a recycled mesh lining that helps keep them breathable while the 100 per cent recycled polyester canvas is in keeping with Converse’s retro style. We love the lilac finish from the label’s range of seasonal styles.

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Converse Chuck Taylor all star lugged leather: £80, Very.co.uk

Opting for a leather finish means your kicks are much easier to keep clean. This pair of leather Chuck Taylors are from Converse’s lugged range, boasting a chucky track sole design. Designed for tackling tricky terrains, they’re a winter wardrobe staple and come in a range of colours.

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Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on trainersand other fashion offers, try the links below:

For more footwear inspiration, we’ve rounded up the best women’s white trainers

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