How the Converse One Star came to be a style staple is a story unique to the world of sneakers. From its initial release as a shoe designed for basketball to its rise as one of the prime sneakers of choice for skaters, to its eventual position today as one of the strongest alternative sneaker styles on the table. With fresh One Stars on the horizon, we asked two upcoming skaters, Savannah Keenan and Jamie Platt, why the silhouette came to be so respected in the scene, what it means to them, and the influence skating has on their style.

The Converse One Star was originally released in 1974 as a basketball sneaker, but it wasn’t until the early '90s that the One Star resurgence began and it gained its cult status. According to Gary Warnett, copywriter and the unofficial font of all streetwear knowledge, Japanese vintage collectors of the late '80s and early '90s were responsible. Against the backdrop of "attention-grabbing" footwear tech, these collectors and other proto-"cool hunters" searched across thrift stores and boutiques on the look out for 'vintage' styles, including the ultimate rarity: the One Star (originally called the All Star when it debuted in the '70s).

The result was a new set of Converse One Stars, relaunched in 1993 and renamed after the single bold star on its flank. The sneaker was immediately picked-up by skate magazines such as the bible that is Thrasher mag, with its easy design and relative obscurity making it the perfect subculture shoe. This fell at the same time grunge was its height, with Kurt Cobain a noted fan of the silhouette. Appearing on the feet of skate and grunge icons alike helped the One Star become a key alternative style reference of the '90s.

"I actually think that’s a big inspiration for kids to buy them now," explains Jamie Platt. "I mean you see people like Mariano and Gino Ianucci skating them in [1996's seminal skate video] Mouse. If that's not enough to make you want them then I don't know what is." Platt is one of five UK members of the Converse skate team, having joined four years ago when his local skate shop, Consortium, messaged him saying the Converse UK team manager was sending him some kicks.

As for Keenan, one of the rising heads in the UK skate scene, the One Star's credentials come from its design and the people who choose to wear them. "I see Sage [Elsesser] and Sean Pablo wearing them who are two of my favourite skaters," she explains. As well as being, in her opinion, obviously built to withstand skating, "they are a lot comfier than other sneakers."

After a period of relative quiet, the Converse One Star is back once again. Supreme's 2014 film Cherry, starring Converse team riders Elsesser and Pablo, had a similar effect to Mouse back in the day, establishing the One Star's skater narrative in stone. And with last year's original One Star re-emerging in four OG colorways, the sneaker planted itself firmly within the streetwear camp, too. Sage Elsesser's own leather Converse Cons One Star CC Pro from January this year (arguably one of this year's strongest silhouettes to sneak under our radars) has been immediately adopted by both skaters and streetwear heads.

Describing how the skate scene has influenced her style, Keenan admits it's pretty fluid. "I wouldn't say I have a set in stone style; it definitely varies on the occasion and my mood. Anything from typical skater, to vintage, street wear or something quite formal," she explains. "When I'm going to a rave then I'll just wear some trainers with some '90s designer pieces, but one thing that stays prevalent through all that is the trousers. I'm always wearing wide-legged trousers, even when skating." Meanwhile, Platt describes himself as "looking like a less epic version of Neo from The Matrix".

But as The Matrix-look could (arguably) be coming back, we snapped Keenan and Platt in the latest Converse One Star sneaker. Peep the pics, above.

Be ready for our exclusive interviews and look inside some of the world's most respected streetwear stores as part of our Icon x Icon series with Converse One Star. Pick up a pair of One Stars now at Converse.com.

  • PhotographyLindsay Armstrong
  • StylingAtip W / Highsnobiety
  • TalentJamie Platt
  • TalentSavannah Keenan
  • Special thanksGoodhood Store
  • Brands featuredWacko Maria @GoodhoodStore, Hope @Goodhoodstore, Dickies, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Polar, Zara, Cafe Brand, Converse
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