Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Chuck Taylor

Today would be the 108th birthday of Chuck Taylor, possibly the greatest shoe salesman in history. The Chuck Taylor hightop sneaker is every bit the American fashion icon as the Levi 501 or the leather bomber jacket.

A turn of the century basketball player of little reknown, Chuck Taylor designed a shoe that would support the ankle and convinced Converse to manufacture them. Joining the company, he travelled non-stop, moving from little town to big town convincing local high school and college coaches to co-sponsor clinics where they would provide the instruction and he would sell the shoes.

So wide and far were his travels and so magnetic was his personality that he became a force in the basketball world connecting rising playing and coaching prospects with different programs. Of course, once Chuck Taylor helped you get a spot on the team or better yet a better job, you were more than happy to bring him into your new home and give him a platform to sell his sneakers.

While no serious athlete today would prefer them over the highly engineered athletic footware, there is something funky and campy that will keep Chucks from ever going out of style.

Happy birthday, Chuck Taylor.