JD Sports asked me what my favourite trainers are and why. This is my answer. Click that link above for a chance to win some trainers. You know you want to.
Once upon a time, a basketball player named Charles Taylor (‘Chuck’, to friends) met with a group of men who made shoes. He complained of chronic foot pain, likely a case of a plantar fasciitis similar to the one I recently grappled with, and asked the brand to produce a shoe for him. The resulting shoe was the All Star, a shoe with a silhouette second in star factor only to the Coke bottle.
But all that was a long time ago. So how is it that, more than a hundred years later, someone like me owns somewhere in the region of ten pairs of All Stars? Simple. Somewhere down the line, long before Nike acquired Converse in 2003 and Converse started being worn by everyone from Willow Smith to…my mum (yes, really.), Chuck Taylors became the shoe of choice for skramz bands in the ’90s and onwards, like Off Minor and Fugazi. Even if the pictures are inevitably pretty grainy…skramz kids don’t do Instagram.
Hell, they’re even included in three of the infamous, and massively tongue in cheek, guides to dressing like an emo that make up Your Scene Sucks.
To this day, 90% of kids at skramz shows are inevitably wearing either Converse or New Balance trainers. Unless you’re at a Comadre show…there, Vans are pretty much compulsory. Especially if you’re in the band.
Anyway. I got to thinking about why Converse shoes have become so prevalent, and I think I’ve figured it out. Skramz has always been, to some degree, pretty anti-fashion. In the same way that glam metal was defined by big hair, make-up and studded leather, skramz fashion looks more like it’s come from Gap -
And you can’t rely on turfing up old skramz merch on eBay – Saetia played their final show to just 40 people and Orchid even had a song called No, We Don’t Have Any T-shirts. I think one of the reasons so many skramz bands and fans wear Converse is because it’s just about the only form of uniform possible. Of course, all that has been diluted from 2000 onwards, with the post hardcore militia and metalcore fans also wearing Converse, not to mention celebrities, mums and One Direction.
And I can’t work out if that’s a good or a bad thing – I have to admit that I can’t help being one of those people who hates it when stuff that they consider to be ‘theirs’ becomes popular. That said, if it means that in another hundreds years my great grandkids will get to wear Converse, I guess it’s a price worth paying.