What began as the Converse Rubber Company in 1908, has continued on to become one of the most recognizable footwear brands the world over. Throughout its hundred plus years of existence, Converse has created all types of functional footwear for fishing, camping, hiking and of course basketball. The company even made military footwear for the U.S. government starting in World War II. Like a lot of the brands seen on these pages, Converse has a rich history of making classic American footwear that stands the test of time.
As part of an ongoing partnership (this is their second in a series of special goods), Converse teamed up with the Ace Hotel and its creative head Alex Calderwood for two new styles of canvas and rubber-wrapped 1940s looking shoes. The Ace-only sneakers – dubbed the Chuck Taylor All Star Bosey – are an update to the classic Chuck Taylor with design cues taken from vintage wading boots that Converse created for U.S. military basic training way back in the 1940s.
To me this seems to be a pretty logical and fun partnership for everyone involved. You have to give the Ace guys credit for being able to walk (pun intended) in both the product/design and hospitality worlds. Now if only someone could convince them to sell Miller High Life, they’d be doing everything right in my book.
A limited run of 300 pairs of the Chuck Taylor All Star Bosey ($100) are available this week to purchase at the Ace Hotel (New York, Seattle, Portland) and online here.
Comments on “Checking in | Ace Hotel + Converse”
Really cool, I love the sole !!…
There is no Converse anymore and to say that Converse has a rich tradition of making American footwear is laughable, since there is no connection between today’s brand and the once venerable Massachusetts based company. Converse is simply a brand name held by Nike. All the tradition went out the window when Nike halted USA production of Chuck Taylors and moved production to China and Vietnam. I notice there is no mention of where these are actually made.
We live in such a global economy/community, it seems like “American Brand” is more an aesthetic and copywriting adjective these days, than it is an actual proof-of-origin badge. But I can think of bigger issues to get up in arms about.
i recognize their iconic appeal – but i discovered at age 12 that i can’t get away with them. they give me clown feet. experienced similar failures with k-swiss, vans, vision street wear, et al.
Have to agree with the “American Brand” label argument … just how are these particular shoes American?
So, unless this special edition marks a return to the USA for Converse, then I wonder why you are shilling it.
As always, I enjoy, if don’t agree, with your site! Keep it up …
Would love to see ACL & Co x Converse, lets make it happen! I’ve been a long-time reader for a long time now, happy new year!
“But I can think of bigger issues to get up in arms about.”
Deliberately marketing a product based on heritage when there is absolutely no connection between that heritage and the present manufacturer is the height of dishonesty. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as American textile and clothing production has moved overseas with ever increasing speed since the 1980s, there have been more claims of authenticity and heritage–I’ve seen several brands with labels which read “Authentic Jeans” or “Authentic Shirts”, as if that signifies anything. L.L. Bean and Land’s End have jumped on the heritage design bandwagon, but try to find USA made products in their catalogs, with very few exceptions. I’m old enough to remember when Ralph Lauren oxfords and polo shirts were made in the USA, with mother-of-pearl buttons, and, in the case of oxfords, proper sleeve sizing. Those days are long gone, but that doesn’t stop Ralph from slapping American flags everywhere. The irony is that companies save money by producing overseas, yet prices are ever increasing. Nike buys the Converse name, ships production to China, and prices *increase*. I realize it’s a global marketplace these days, but Converse is a particularly egregious example.
If you want to write “Nike division Converse has licensed the Converse name to Ace Hotel for a limited edition Chinese/Vietnamese-made shoe”, go for it. Don’t tell me about Converses’s illustrious history. It doesn’t matter.
These are very cool and without Converse’s history, these shoes and most any other sneaker today wouldnt exist in their current form. The comments are harsth. In the end, these are a cool nod to tradition in design that makes sense for the Ace and Converse.
This is strictly a case of packaging driving the bus. Under whatever ownership the longest running tradition Converse has is, let’s be honest, making truly crappy footwear. But Chuck Taylor’s, American made or not will always have a place in my heart. My current 2 pairs are proof of that. But I have no interest in these ones. Meh.
I mostly agree with CCFK. The brand heritage died when production moved out of the US, or possibly when the name was sold in the first place. The price increase was insult to injury. Just another example of our history being sold back to us.
The part where I diverge is that the current Chuck Taylor seems largely the same as the US-made version from a decade ago. With a mass-manufactured product, using the same materials and process gives you more or less the same result. So at least the basic shoe didn’t get screwed up – the same old crappy Chuck Taylor, as Billy might put it. Otherwise, they could’ve slapped the Converse name on some metallic-foil-colored, plastic monstrosity. The shell is the same even if the soul is different.
“Otherwise, they couldâ€™ve slapped the Converse name on some metallic-foil-colored, plastic monstrosity.”
CCFK is on target.
I agree – but I also think there is some value in the fact that fashion may be dictating a return to more “local” production methods that are more sustainable, ethical, and so forth. If, for example, these shoes are being made in the United States, that fact could be minimized simply because the heads at Converse are only doing it to score cool points and make a few bucks, but it could also be taken as a happy sign of the fashion system for once producing politically meaningful change.
Converse is awesome period
AMERICANA IS DEAD…BEST BELIEVE!
couldn’t we split the difference and call these a celebration of Nike’s rich heritage of brand hype and overseas labor exploitation? It’s win-win!
All of you make valid points, but seriously, you might be taking it much too seriously for what reality has laid upon us in these modern times. This is what happens with capitalistic economies. Companies look for the cheapest production, and with demand, they can raise the prices. It’s business. Take the origin labels off a pair of Made in USA chucks and a pair of Made in China/Vietnam, would you really be able to tell? Or would those made in the US have that heritage glow you guys seem to seek out? And as an aside, Lands End Canvas makes some good shit.
I’ll take the Palladiums, please.
And yes, I’d pay twice as much for a pair of All-Stars if they were made in America. I know I’m in the minority, but christ, put down a plant in Detroit or something. Sell them overseas, the Europeans would go crazy over special-edition “Made in America” Converses.
That “YOU ARE HERE” has been used printed on the bookmarks given by Housing Works Bookstore on Lafayette Street, NY for years….sorry guys not an original idea.
the converse pictured are so horrible i could not continue reading the article!
Question: can anyone think of a brand making All Star-style shoes in the US or at least the western hemisphere (that opens it up quite a bit because I remember seeing a lot of All Star-like shoes in South America that I’m sure were made locally)?
Sadly, so many of these once American brands are riding the false pretense that they are still American when we are actually helping the Chinese to get rich off our own hypocrisy. Buying truly American isn’t as easy as it once was and it is even harder to find the craftsmanship the country owned before shifting all of our production overseas.
I support the brands and stores which aim to produce made in USA items for the product they are – not the esoteric value.
These shoes would be great if they were authentic.
We always hear the argument that the reality of the global economy is that manufacturing moves to where labor is cheaper. Well, I say take a look at Germany. Germany still has a strong manufacturing sector that does quite well financially. Rather than focusing on producing cheap goods, Germany has decided to make quality goods. Competing on quality rather than price is much more sustainable over the long-term. In fact, Germany is actually having difficulty right now filling jobs. So, it’s not the reality of the global economy that has us producing our goods in Asia, it’s the reality of Wall St. demanding immediate results and C-level execs exploiting whatever and whomever they must to reap huge sums of money while they can. I actually get offended by companies trying to pull the wool over our eyes when they present themselves as Genuine American while producing cheap goods beyond our borders. So if ACL & Co. x Converse becomes a reality, do we have your pledge to produce your footwear in the USA?
I’m with CCFK all the way on this issue. I seek out small manufacturers and support local business. I don’t do fashion, I do quality so the extra expense usually works in my favour over time.
I can remember reading an interview with Steve Van Doren; son of VANS’ cofounder Paul Van Doren a couple years back and he said the main reason why VANS had to move manufacturing overseas in the mid nineties was because of the overwhelming environmental regulation of running a vulcanized rubber tennis shoe factory in California.
(Yes I’m aware that VANS is now owned by the huge apparel conglomo – VF corp)
The local workwear store near my carries made in the USA chucks. Perhaps they’re fake? I haven’t really looked too closely.
” the overwhelming environmental regulation of running a vulcanized rubber tennis shoe factory in California.”
There are many areas of the US with laxer environmental regulations than CA. Vans could have moved to another state if that were the “main reason”. That is, unless their processes are too toxic to pass muster in any part of the country, in which case I am glad they are not producing shoes here, and wish they weren’t producing them elsewhere either.
I think the Germany example is spot-on. Monocle ran a good piece last month on Miele, and how they’ve kept their manufacturing in Germany. It’s doable, and you don’t sacrifice quality. There’s also just so much less oversight when it’s made in China. You send them the specs, you cross your fingers everything turns out OK and that there’s not too much lead in the fabric.
I’m with Isaac & David on this. I just bought a pair of these kicks. hate the situation that caused these shoes to be made overseas? please direct your energies well above ACL and even Converse/Nike.
it sucks that $99 of my money went to a corporate fat cat & $2 went to Chinese slave kids, but what alternatives did I have for this purchase?
protest to your representatives, please, US workers could use the support.
also, grow the eff up already, this is 2011, not 1911.
Understand all your sentiments, really do. But if I must, minus the history authenticity issue, they do look pretty chill though.
It’s hard to disagree with the points that It would be nice to purchase some Made in America Chucks. Unfortunately, I wear a size 13/14. My options are limited. Converse makes a canvas shoe that fits me. I have 3 freaking pairs in rotation now. I would be willing to pay more for a pair made here. Best I can do.
Here’s a clue for all you hipsters: You know why Chuck Taylors are gone? They sucked.
I’ve been wearing chucks since the 70’s and I still swear by them… aside from all the new trendy aspects and the dilution of the brand with some ridiculous Varvatos collaborations [see. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/fashion/06CRITIC.html%5D. I think Ace has made an interesting update, and because it’s a limited edition I’m not offended. I would like to see the ACL collaboration though!
Hey Greg, Chucks aren’t gone. They never went away & never will.
Converse = made in China
Happy to my wear my USA made Red Wings.
you always have the choice not to purchase. I doubt anyone was forcing you to spend your money. People actually might still like you without the hippest pair of shoes and you might like yourself too.
I really appreciate the point about Germany. An interesting example, expanding on Issacâ€™s Miele article, is Rimowa luggage. This very high quality polycarbonate luggage that is made in Germany.
They recently decided to open another plant to supply their fast growing American consumer base. They decided on Canada. It speaks very highly to this German brand that instead of outsourcing they came to North America and opened their own manufacturing plant where they are able to over see all aspects of their production. Luxury brands based in the US need look to these guys for inspiration instead of relaying on an interpreter to figure out how to produce their goods.
Chrissandoval, I have recently seen New Balance sneakers made in the US as well as England. They might be the only options for no made in China sneakers…
New Balance. Yes. Got. Apples and Oranges Gents.
Aren’t the only New Balance sneakers still made in the US the military running shoe models? The US military only sources domestically (I think?), and as such, props up a few small factories producing various items – such as the white undershirt mentioned on here a few months ago.
Side nostalgic note: I remember wearing USA-made Vans and Converse in the 80s… the QC was horrific for both brands, but especially Converse. I’d look down at my feet and the shoes wouldn’t be remotely symmetrical. Lines out of place, toe caps of different sizes. Those were the days!
I know that J Crew is selling a few pairs of New Balance made in their Maine factory. They looked very good and top quality. Also Scoop in NYC is selling New Balance made in England, they also look of the highest quality. Both run about $150, I think.
In regard to local american manufacturing – I was at the levis store tonight and saw this:
An iconic jacket made by my hometown business (filson), so there is a pulse still…
Did notice that the matchsticks are now Chinese – glad I still have my old pair…
The D-rings at the top eyelets are a nice detail, as are the metal moisture vents on the sole. The colorway is also solid, reminds me of these which are my favorite Chucks, Olive Green Monochromes:
Humorously, at least two of the major sneakerhead websites are using the ones I’ve linked as their image for the AcexConverse collab, so we should at least be thankful that via this site we are seeing the ACTUAL shoe.
Edit: The Olive Green Monochromes were also a AcexConverse collab, from August 2009.
I became acquainted with the Ace Hotel just yesterday! The perfect pair!
Exactly how does one define American made these days? Does the company need to be owned by Americans? Produced by Americans? Designed by Americans? All of the above. You guys harp all over chinese made products and then turn around and laud a German made luggage company. New Balance only makes about 25% of its shoes in the USA. So what gives? Its certainly fair to scoff at a company that tries to pass itself off as “American” in an effort to cash in on the latest trend, but i’ll gladly buy a quality product at a fair price regardless of the image its trying to portray.
BTW, there are plenty of high quality products coming out of China these days. This isn’t the 1980’s… To suggest that the best a person can hope for is to send in the specs and cross their fingers is pretty laughable.
“Exactly how does one define American made these days? Does the company need to be owned by Americans? Produced by Americans? Designed by Americans? All of the above.”
The FTC defines “American made”.
“The FTC defines â€œAmerican madeâ€.”
I get that there is in fact a definition, but i think within the context of the discussion above, it might not be an adequate answer. It leaves out a number of possibilities and ignores various parts of the life of the product. However, under the definition of the FTC, i think its probably likely that the above shoes were in fact, “American made”. I admit i do not know for sure, but generally speaking, doing a small run order like the shoes above, is better off done within the states.
There is a distinction between “American footwear” and “American-made footwear”. Converse and Chuck Taylor’s are an American pop-culture icon, wherever the current iterations are manufactured. Making them in China certainly does not make them Chinese footwear. I don’t think anyone is claiming that they are actually “American made”, just lamenting the fact that they are not.
I hear what you’re saying. I was just sort of musing over the entire discussion about American made and some of the other companies that were brought into the fray as points of interest.
If this limited set of 300 pairs of shoes were, in fact, made in the USA, would that change the discussion though given that most of what the company does is produced over seas? Are companies with American heritage, such as Converse, worth supporting if they make a small portion of their product locally to appease a select few individuals who look for that sort of thing? Given a product of equal quality, does one buy the cheaper one because its made in the USA? At what price point are we willing to buy said product elsewhere because its just more affordable? Again, im just sort of interested in the discussion of it all, rather than a hard and fast answer.
I think what everyone is missing here is that, yes, Converse is an American shoe company that produces overseas, but because it remains affordable to customers everywhere…It is the worlds sneaker. Chuck T’s are the best selling branded sneaker in the world because it is so universally loved. ..loved because it represents so many amazing things about American history and culture – the FIRST sneaker, rock and roll, punk rock, basketball (Converse was the first company to sponsor a black athlete), and yes, even the dreaded Hipster! America is not dead and Converse definitely still exist’s CCFK..its been around for over 103 years… NO ONE can deny them their rich heritage or the contributions they inadvertently have made to our rich cultural history.
This discussion is great and should be taking place on a much larger scale than this. In essence it is about will the US ever again have a job sector (manufacturing) that maybe 60%(?) of the population could be employed doing an honest days work, make a living wage and be able to support themselves, their families and greater communities and rebuild a working middle class that really is the life blood of this country (or should be….). We are living the consequences of its erosion. Anyway…………….
My confusing example to add to the mix: Penfield, once an American owned/made product. Owned I believe by an English company, made in China of course, yet plainly labeled “Manufactured By Penfield, Massachusetts USA” Not ‘for’ but ‘by’……. Made/Manufactured – same thing right?
I don’t look for “American made” because I think non-Americans are incapable of delivering worthwhile products. Nor do I look for “American made” because I get a warm and fuzzy feeling about participating in a “rich heritage” if all that remains of said heritage is a shell propped up by sentimentality.
As such, where Converse makes a limited run of sneakers doesn’t, for me, change the discussion about Converse’s transition from an American original to mostly a marketing angle. They are still okay shoes and the design still appeals, but they are just a low end canvas and rubber shoe and no appeal to “heritage” is going to make then worth $100 to me.
FWIW, the reason I look for American made is because I believe in the value of a local (or as local as is feasible) and diversified economy.
I’m gonna jump up to the part about New Balance. I think it’s admirable that they make a portion of their highest quality shoes in America and England. I prefer that they make everything here, but that’s not possible. If people can choose between a $150 NB sneaker and a similarly outfitted, made-in-China Asics for $100, they’ll most likely choose the Asics unless they have the means and motivation to buy the American made product.
I just bought a pair of New Balance shoes here in Europe. The shoes were made in the UK and i paid 40â‚¬ for them, that’s an amazing price for something made in a 1st world country.
all great points but why no mention of completely dorky i would feel wearing a
pair of shoes licensed by a…. hotel. i don’t care how cool the ace hotel aesthetic is i don’t want a freaking pair of shoes from them! maybe a t-shirt, or some soap – ok. but i think that this is essentially a completely dorky idea. what next? maybe some ace hotel levis with you are hear on the left butt cheek?
“All of you make valid points, but seriously, you might be taking it much too seriously for what reality has laid upon us in these modern times”
With all due respect, we’re not taking it too seriously!
The unemployment rate in this country is most likely around 17%, despite what the BLS manipulates & churns out.
Until America gets back to the business of actually making stuff that’s useful, this country will continue sinking like the Titanic.
What we need in America is a productive capacity of goods & services. The only people who win in the game of globalism are the financial elites that get giant tax breaks when they offshore jobs.
As another example, GE (who Obama is now courting) only incidentally makes electrical things anymore. Mostly, like everything else in America, they became a financial company, looking for ways to make money off of money, and mostly losing heaps of money in the process – for the excellent reason that it’s really not possible to get something for nothing in this universe, though we wish it were.
There’s a lot of people out there who would appreciate a job making stuff back here in America.
We’ve been heading in the wrong direction & it’s time to change course.
duncan, i think you may have just proved my point. i really don’t think that the ace hotel
is going to save the american worker by slapping the same slogan on a pair of converse that they put on their hangers. my only point is that, in my humble opinion, is that this is essentially, well, kind of lame. i think they should concentrate on their lame bar service, etc.
but that’s just me.
I think Duncan is right and so is David. The only ones benefitting are the ones at the top. I thought after 9/11 this would all change and we would go back to depending on our own people. This country couldn’t be self sufficient if our lives depended on it, which was how it looked to me on 9/11.
Think of the American pride back in the 40′ s after WWII. Everyone had a job and took pride in what they made. People trusted that what they were buying was quality and wouldn’t make them sick because of lead paint. They would have NEVER bought an item made in Japan. Yet we continue have our everyday items made in countries that maybe don’t have the same regulations as us. Now, we are importing food and candy with wax and other junk in it. What about meat? Or seafood? Maybe I’m paranoid, but they could kill us all if they wanted. We rely on the rest of the world for everything. What a great way to bring us to our knees. We can’t even drive anywhere without foreign bought oil.
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