Chuck 70 Vintage Canvas Low-Top Sneaker Review
For a durable, supportive version of the classic Converse All Star, look to the Chuck 70
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You’d be hard-pressed to find a shoe more universally appreciated than the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, a.k.a. Chucks. They're found on the feet of punks, skaters, streetwear nerds, '90s revivalists, powerlifters, Doctor Who cosplayers, dressed-down goths, and your uncle who skated in his younger days but now mostly wears his heritage menswear to the farmer’s market.
But one thing at least your uncle probably knows about the Classic All Stars: The flat-soled shoes are not all that comfortable or supportive for all-day wear, and the canvas and/or soles tend to fall apart way sooner than you'd hope. That's where the Chuck 70s offer a solution: Their throwback design features modern comforts like arch support and more durable materials for a slightly higher price of $80.
What Are the Chuck 70s?
The 70s are an upgraded version of the Classic Chuck Taylors, made with higher quality components and better internal comfort and support. Outwardly, the 70s look fairly similar to the Classics, with both made of canvas and rubber. It’s only when you get them next to each other that you’ll notice the small differences, like the 70s' off-white toe cap and walls to the originals pristine white, as well as the 70s' more robust stitching and taller sides. But the real difference is on the inside, where the Chuck 70s have a comfortable, supportive, and removable insole as opposed to the original's near-complete lack thereof.
The Chuck 70s are available in unisex sizing, fitting a boy's size 3 through men's 16 or a women's size 5 through 18. They come in a handful of standard colors with limited edition styles released every season. The low-top and high-top versions cost $80 and $85, respectively, compared to the Classics at $55 and $60.
What I like about Chuck 70s
They're really comfortable
The Chuck 70s seem squarely aimed at an aging population that grew up wearing All Stars, but are now, well, older and their knees pop when they get off the couch. At least, that’s me—I’m that aging population. In my 20s, I could spend 12 hours walking across a pebbled European city in my Classic Chucks and be totally fine. If I try that now, my right hip starts to ache after an hour and I’ll soon be a hobbling, swearing mess. The Chuck 70s completely overhaul the comfort of the originals, to the point where I'd say they’re one of the most comfortable pairs of sneakers I own. The magic comes from a half-inch thick OrthoLite insole that's tapered to give more support at the heel and more responsiveness at the toe. The 70s are absolutely all-day wearers, no matter where the day takes you.
They fit securely (when you get the right size)
The Chuck 70s also wrap much more securely around your foot, as the canvas is thicker and stiffer than the originals. It’s like putting on a freshly washed pair of jeans compared ones you’ve been wearing for a week straight—suddenly, everything feels more firmly held in place than before.
I’m a men’s size 13 in most sneakers—it’s where you’ll find me with Onitsuka Tigers, Nike Cortez, or Adidas NMDs. For both the Chuck Taylor 70s and the All Stars, I wear a men’s size 12. It's know that Chucks in general run large—Converse recommends to size down by a half-size, but there don’t tend to be half-sizes when your feet are as large as mine, so 12 it is. Therefore, it's not completely a surprise that my Chuck 70s fit snugger than most sneakers I wear, such as the aforementioned Tigers, Cortez, or NMDs, all of which I can slide on and off without unlacing like the uncultured monster I am. I definitely can’t do that in the Chuck 70s. The snugness is also magnified by the thickness of the insoles, as they push your foot up into the upper more closely. Still, the overall effect is one of greater security, which I appreciate.
They're always in style
It’s impossible to talk about Chuck Taylors without mentioning the iconic style they embody—the Ramones rocked All Stars for a reason. The Chuck 70s immediately scream “Chuck Taylor” from the moment you see them, which I'd argue was a wise design choice. They come in both low-top and high-top, too. You can choose among a few colors, but I suggest grabbing a pair of them in black, and you’re good to go. They’re true classics, and look fantastic with almost any casual look.
Chucks are offered in a seriously extensive size range. While the 70s don’t quite live up to the full gamut of the original All Stars, which have multiple widths as well as an astonishing variety of lengths, the 70s have unisex sizing that fit boy's size 3 through men's 16 or women's sizes 5 through 18.
What I don’t like about Chuck 70s
The "vintage" styling may not be your bag
My complaints leveled against the Chuck 70s are few and mostly matters of taste. The walls and toe of the shoes follow the design of Classic Chuck Taylor's, but the 70s' rubber has a slightly shiny cream hue compared to the original's matte bright white. The color is labeled “egret,” but most people would call it off-white—to me, it just looks off, especially if you’re rocking a pair in white canvas where the contrast is more striking and the rubber looks dingy. (Hence why I recommend opting for black, where the color contrast is clearly intentional.)
The standard color options are limited
The 70s typically come in a handful shades including black, white, and natural (an unbleached canvas), as well as a seasonal limited edition colors and patterns. Conversely, the Classic Chucks come in a full dozen colors all of the time, as well as a slew of limited editions, so you can always find a look you vibe with. Converse offers a $100 option to design your own Chuck 70 low-tops or $105 for high-tops from a color and pattern palette of about 20 options, so if you want a more custom pair, you can get it for a premium.
Finding your right fit could be an issue
As already discussed, Chucks' sizing runs a half to a full size large. Having to size down in length, combined with the stiffer uppers on the 70s, can lead to the shoes feeling restrictive if you’re not used to them. This also causes them to be tricker to slide your feet into. Additionally, the limited edition 70s don't come in the largest sizes, so anyone over a men's size 13 or women's 15 will have to go the pricier custom route to get anything other than the standard colors.
Are Chuck 70s worth it?
Yes, if you love Chucks but crave comfort
Chuck 70s are everything you love about the style and legacy of the original All Stars, but improved. They’re more comfortable, more supportive, and made of better quality materials. Although they’re limited in colors, they look great, and at $80, they’re reasonably priced for a casual kick that you'll likely wear all the time. If you want to take your favorite old pair of shoes and get something that won’t do your knees and arches in, you won't be disappointed with the Chuck 70s.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.