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Trend Alert: Summertime Sneakers
Converse All-Stars were first introduced in 1917 as a new and improved basketball shoe. But the shoes didn't grow in popularity until the basketball player Chuck Taylor endorsed them in the late '60s, hence the name "Chuck Taylors." Now, after four decades in the mainstream, "Chucks" are less about athletic capability and more of a retro fad that can be worn in almost any social situation. Converse Shoe

The "sole" reason for being so timeless could be because of the shoe's versatility. "Today, Chucks can come in just about any color imaginable and with any design you can think of," says John Orravino, director of sales and marketing. "And that's what attracts customers - variety. Whether you're into rock and roll or are looking for a pair for a more formal setting, Chucks will meet everyone's taste."

Don't believe him? Twilight star Kristen Stewart created a stir at the MTV Movie Awards last week when she paired her red-carpet ready dress with a pair of black Chucks. Some loved it, other hated it, but many in the fashion world were talking about it. With vintage apparel and accessories still in demand, look for Chuck Taylors to fall in the "must-have category" this summer for an end-user's shoe collection.

But you don't have to offer the Converse brand in your inventory. Consider a look-a-like version that will be just as engaging to your customers. "In this industry, not too many companies have a shoe that resembles the classic Chucks," says Orravino. "We offer a pair that has a similar style with a camouflage design on it for that extra throwback appearance." Orravino says the shoes continue to be one of the company's most popular products and advises other owners to consider adding the trend to their footwear stock.

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