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Last Updated on July 18, 2022
Summer is officially upon us, and I can’t help but reminisce on the days where I could be found running around the neighborhood with friends, chasing the ice cream truck, getting into trouble and soaking in the sun during the summer vacation from school that always felt way too short.
The footwear that stayed glued to my feet in that era of my life were my Converse, which were well-loved (aka… dirty). The brand “Converse” has remained a household name ever since its genesis as a basketball shoe, and is praised for their ability to keep with the times while also keeping the integrity of the original design concept.
Converse absolutely captivated 90s trend-setters, and with most styles that originated in the decade, it is making an appearance yet again.
In this article, I’ll show you seven different options for Converse that are comfortable, versatile, and nostalgic (what more could you ask for?)
- 3 Unisex 90’s Converse Styles
- Two of my Favorite 90’s-Vibe Men’s Converse
- Two of my Favorite 90’s-Vibe Women’s Converse
3 Unisex 90’s Converse Styles
Chuck Taylor All Star Classic
Let’s start with the basics, shall we? I present to you, the Chuck Taylor All Star Classic. A familiar, comfortable, and affordable 90’s Converse high top shoe. This historic and trademarked sneaker is loved by many, because it’s more comfortable and accessible than most of its competitors. That’s why we all feel so connected to the Chucks; because we’ve worn them since childhood, and we can always know what to expect when tapping into our favorite 90’s styles once again.
For the purposes of this article, I want to talk about this specific style and color. While most of Converse’ products are considered unisex, I’m incredibly drawn to the neutrality and versatility of the “Natural Ivory” color, because it looks good on everyone regardless of gender. We all have a pair of white sneakers, but finding some off-white kicks that don’t look like they’re just old or dirty is truly a struggle. These shoes are intentionally simple and sleek, so there won’t be any confusion about whether or not they’re supposed to be cream.
Furthermore, this toned-down beige can be paired with everything: from overalls, to dresses, to even slacks for a casual Friday in the office. The All Star Classics are the perfect footwear for anyone on the go, looking to seamlessly transition outfit vibes and move through each adventure the day brings.
I love these high tops because they are notably comfortable and supportive for the feet. I remember having to wear Converse for nine hours straight at an event for my sorority (I was honestly just eternally grateful to not be forced to wear heels for once). My feet felt like they were walking on clouds, and I was in high spirits as a result! The canvas is sturdy, the grommet holes allow for proper ventilation, and the laces won’t fray, even after years of use. This is definitely the most important unisex staple shoe that is additionally reminiscent of the 90’s.
Jack Purcell Beyond Retro Stripes
Let’s talk low-tops, shall we? I love this style that was born from a collaboration between Converse and UK vintage brand Beyond Retro. This shoe is unisex and sports all of the same positive traits as the All Stars, but there’s something interesting about this model: the body of the shoe is constructed from used and upcycled suit shirts. Various components of the piece itself are made from upcycled or partially recycled materials, so you can walk around knowing that not only are your shoes retro and trendy, but they also helped alleviate textile waste.
Overall, this pair of footwear exudes retro design through the pattern and tasteful mix of colors. This shoe would best suit those who don’t normally gravitate towards brightly colored footwear; because the muted tones combined with familiar neutrals allow for it to be fun yet mature. Consider pairing these with a navy blue shirt/blouse and some crisp-white slacks or jeans to (sustainably) strut in style.
Chuck Taylor All Star Run Star Hike High Top Platform Sneaker
If you know me personally, then you know I had to throw a platform into the mix. This is the Run Star Hike by Converse, which is considered to be a new and fresh take on the simple 90’s Converse high tops with additional utility and flair.
As an avid platform-enthusiast, I admit that at times… they can be a bit uncomfortable for the soles of the feet. One of the cutest platform sneakers I own (which gives me an additional three inches of height) is a doozy when it comes to running errands all day. That’s the beauty of the Run Star Hikes: they maintain the same comfort level, structure and support as their sister-shoe, the All Star Classics.
The shoe itself comes in canvas or leather (both incredibly moveable and lightweight) and the sole is made of a textured tri-colored rubber panel. I love my Run Star Hikes especially in the winter months, the added traction really helps through the snow (and I refuse to buy snow boots). This shoe is perfect for those who are on the go and enjoy adding a few extra inches to their height in a comfortable way.
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Two of my Favorite 90’s-Vibe Men’s Converse
Net Star Classic suede-mix sneakers in egret
Boys, I present to you: the Net Star Classics. These Converse skate shoes are elevated, sleek, and trendy all at the same time. This style is somewhat comparable to the Nike Blazer, though I find that all of Converse models are much more wearable long term, and the upkeep is more simple as well if they get dirty. The padded cuffs allow for extra support at the ankle, and the laces are thick and sturdy (because what’s worse than shoes that come untied every five minutes?)
When I see the Net Star Classics, I immediately imagine how they could be worn to work. These shoes don’t look like your regular sneaker; they’re refined, polished, and can be worn with any business-casual ensemble (since it features neutrals like cream, auburn, and black). Per their name, these shoes have suede detailing along the sole, behind the heel, and around the laces.
The only downside to these shoes is sizing. This particular pair of Net Star Classics run pretty small, so it is recommended that shoppers order at least a half size up.
Check Out: 13 Gnarly Skateboard Brands from the 90s
I would be doing everyone a disservice if I didn’t pay my respects to the style that started the Converse empire in the first place… the basketball shoe. I am especially excited about the Weapon CX (which, of note, is also actually a unisex style) because of its clean lines, durability, and pop of color. The Weapon CX was a popular style for basketball shoes in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and they just got a makeover!
Black basketball shoes were a popular choice among athletes in the 90’s, and mids were generally preferred over high tops (based on the ankle support and ability to pivot and sprint without constraints). This style combines all of the desired components of previous models, while adding even more technology to focus on aesthetics and comfort. The Weapon CX comes equipped with a foam sockliner and an exaggerated midsole, taking pressure and weight off the soles of your feet.
These shoes would obviously be ideal for the basketball-lover, and would definitely assist you in your game just based on the design and structure. However, any guy can rock these funky and interesting Converse. Did I tell you guys I played basketball in high school? Maybe if I had these shoes, I would have made it onto the Varsity team…
Two of my Favorite 90’s-Vibe Women’s Converse
One Star Sandals
Hear me out ladies… Nothing says summer in the 90’s like chunky platform sandals. We all know and love the plain black leather slides (preferably paired with a midi skirt), but let me provide you with another warm-weather footwear option: Converse sandals.
With the thick suede strap, durable rubber sole, and the iconic Converse star emblem, these sandals will surely be a staple footwear piece for the summer. Personally, I prefer slide-sandals rather than strappy ones that must be tied in order for them to stay on your feet. The One Star Sandals are a bit more casual, so I picture someone wearing these to the beach, to the farmer’s market, to a park day with some friends and their dog… but really, the options are endless.
Consider pairing these with a denim mini skirt and graphic crop-top for that 90’s aesthetic we all know and love. Alternatively, I know this would be absolutely adorable combined with an oversized button-up shirt as a swimsuit cover up for a pool party. Speaking of… I have a pool party next weekend. Good thing we have a post written all about what to wear to a 90s pool party.
Get the Outfit: 5 Stunning 90s Skirt Outfits that Defines the Era
Chuck Taylor All Star Lift Platform Canvas
To finish off this list of 90’s-inspired Converse recs, I wanted to provide the girlies with a comfortable classic that showcases the most iconic Cher Horowitz vibes. We’ve already discussed the All Star style throughout this article and have noted the comfort and support their platform models provide, so I won’t bore you with those details any more.
What’s special about these shoes is their customizable nature; a feature that is provided for some of Converse’ most tried and true footwear options. With this pair, you can stick to the Burberry-esque neutral plaid on the canvas body, or you can add pops of color and texture with your choice of patterns, materials, and hues.
I think this shoe is something every single one of us should have in our closet; especially if we get to create our own colorways and showcase our creativity (at an affordable price!).