Ay Bay Bay — Converse x Shoebiz Release Chuck Taylor All Star San Francisco Moments Collection
Forget Rice-a-Roni — the real San Francisco treat is being served courtesy of Converse and footwear retailer ShoeBiz. The two companies joined forces to create the Chuck Taylor All Star San Francisco Moments Collection, a three-style collection of high-top canvas sneakers, each illustrating a key period or defining instance in the city’s history.
The Shoebiz x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star San Francisco Moments Collection, hitting stores on Friday August 30th, consists of the following three sneaker styles: the Converse Golden Gate Bridge Blueprint sneaker ($60 at ShoeBiz in San Francisco and at ShoebizSF.com), the Converse Gold Rush sneaker ($60 at San Francisco and at ShoebizSF.com), and the Converse SF Earthquake 1906 ($60 at San Francisco and at ShoebizSF.com).
The highlight of the collection, at least aesthetically, is the Golden Gate Bridge Blueprint sneaker, shown second from top, which features white canvas uppers with a checkered blue grid design reminiscent of graphing paper. Atop this backdrop, you’ll find sketches of the Golden Gate bridge as they appeared in the original blueprints, with detailed annotations of the bridge’s length, the diameter of the cables used, the total height of the structure, and more. Turquoise blue laces and a matching lining (the latter with a white grid design that inverts the color scheme of the uppers), meanwhile, give the sneaker a bit of pop.
Completed in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is perhaps the landmark most closely associated with San Francisco and, until 1964, it held the prestigious title of having the longest suspension bridge main span in the world. Any San Francisco-themed collection, then, would be incomplete without some reference to this architectural wonder. Here are some detailed shots of this design:
Another interesting design is that of the Gold Rush sneaker, shown third above, which features black canvas uppers and rays of gold color in a starburst-like design surrounding a crisscrossed shovel and pickaxe. Atop the illustrations of these classic excavation tools, you’ll spot the letters “SF” at the center of a golden cube resembling a bar of gold, an unrefined sphere resembling a nugget of gold behind it. The thin rays emanating from these icons create a sense of radiance, solidifying the notion of gold being discovered. The phrase “Gold Rush” appears along the tongue of the sneakers in large, gothic style lettering.
As its name suggests, this Chuck Taylor All Star design celebrates the California Gold Rush that has been dated back to 1848. The early growth and development of San Francisco has largely been attributed to the Gold Rush, with the city growing from a modest settlement of about 1,000 residents in 1848 to a thriving cosmos of approximately 36,000 people in 1852 — many of them miners, prospectors, and merchants. Here are some close-up shots of these kicks:
And last but not least, the San Francisco Moments Collection includes the San Francisco Earthquake 1906 design, shown last above. This sneaker features white canvas uppers and a black tongue with the numbers “’06” outlined in white. The illustrations along the sides of the shoe depict toppled buildings, leaning houses with broken windows, and piles of debris resembling those left behind by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake of April 18th 1906 and the resulting fires triggered. Between the trembling earth and the string of blazes, within four days’ time, over 80% of San Francisco had been destroyed, with almost 28,000 structures burning, and property damages of about $400 million in total. Though not exact replicas, these illustrations nod to the photographs snapped by the liked of Arnold Genthe and George R. Lawrence during the aftermath of the catastrophe, images that still send a chill up the spines of most Californians.
Now, it may seem bizarre to choose a devastating earthquake as one of the three moments to immortalize in a collection about a city’s history but there’s no denying the significance of this event. For one, much of San Francisco had to be rebuilt, an endeavor that required that city inhabitants come together and persevere through even the toughest of times. In that regard, the city’s ability to reinvent itself and to survive even in the aftermath of tragedy stands as a testament to the fighting spirit of its inhabitants. Secondly, this particular earthquake led to very important scientific breakthroughs — in particular, the analysis of plate tectonics and the effects of ruptured faults (in this case, a rupture in the San Andreas Fault caused the quake). Third, it’s an important piece of the city’s past so that failing to mention it would amount to an incomplete and revisionist form of history, the equivalent of retelling New Orleans’ history and failing to mention Hurricane Katrina. To properly document a city’s past, then, it’s only sensible that one include both the moments of glory and those of despair.
Here are some photos that capture the detailing of this particular sneaker design — down to the cracks depicted in the lining:
Since the San Francisco Earthquake 1906 and the Golden Gate Bridge Blueprint designs feature such elaborately illustrated uppers, I’d expect these to sell out the quickest so, if you’re coveting either one, be ready to place your order come August 30th. All the sneakers are available for a reasonable price of $60 (thank you, Converse!) and are available in unisex sizes that range from 4.5 to 13.
Need another reason to celebrate the Bay Area via a pair of crispy new Chucks? Then check this out: ShoeBiz will be donating 100% of the proceeds from the sale of these sneaker designs to Compass Family Services, an organization that aims to help the city’s homeless.