High ankle sprain. Fractured fifth metatarsal resulting in surgery and a pin being put in my foot. Multiple lower back sprains. All of these injuries were a result of or directly correlated to footwear worn whilst playing basketball.
So, you can imagine how particular I am about what I ball in. I only have a few prerequisites, though: wide outsole for a stable base, stable uppers so my foot is snug and doesn’t slide, and comfortable midsole to absorb my aggressive style of play. Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars have not one of those things, and you know what? It wasn’t nearly as awful as you thought it’d be.
My feet were now in an abusive relationship they couldn't get out of.
If your grandparents ever uttered the words “ball is life,” they played in Chuck Taylors. You know those stories they tell about walking five miles to school barefoot? Well, in basketball terms, playing in Chucks was the equivalent to that. Converse All-Stars, dubbed “Chuck Taylors” after its creator, were introduced in 1917 to take on the basketball market and had a stronghold of the market well into the ‘50s and ‘60s, eventually riding into the sunset in the ‘70s.
Of course, they still play a pivotal role in footwear today, but if you step onto the court wearing them, you'll be heavily questioned and likely exiled from said court.
But with all of its rich history and considering how many former Hall of Famers laced them up without complaint or injury, I decided to see if I had the balls to do the same.
Times have changed and the technologies afforded to us are constantly taken for granted, so taking away luxuries as simple as a padded shoe to feel secure in was the least I could do. I took to the hardwood and blacktop au naturale; no orthotics, no ankle braces — just a pair of Nike Elite socks, because I’m not an animal, and my Chucks. Here’s how it played out: