It may come as a surprise to some to see Converse Chuck Taylor All Star featured in a review on a Powerlifting website, but when it comes to absolute bang for your buck and versatility, there are very few shoes on the market that can rival the Converse All Star. Especially for someone starting out who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money buying multiple pairs of Powerlifting Shoes.
Converse was founded around 1908 in Massachusetts, USA, and unbeknownst to many, has been a subsidiary of Nike since 2003. The brand is famous for their shoes but also design and distribute other apparel such as t-shirts.
The Chuck Taylor All Star are arguably their most famous product. With a design that first appeared in the 1920s, to this day, has remained pretty much the same. Originally designed and marketed as a Basketball shoe, over the years they have gained more popularity in the casual shoe market as well as sports such as Skateboarding and Powerlifting.
So why has the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star gained so much popularity in the world of Powerlifting? Well, the flat rubber sole is a big selling point. In all three of our main lifts (Squat, Deadlift, and Bench Press) we want to reduce the energy loss through the ground. A shoe with a good hard sole will help immeasurably with this.
The high top version can also help with a bit of ankle support which, for those who prefer the Sumo Deadlift, in particular, can give that little bit of reassurance and confidence that we won’t lose our balance due to our ankles moving slightly out of position.
This article shall look at the high top variant specifically. You can also check out the low top variant, you’d be surprised at just how different they both are!
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star | General Review
The shoe is typically manufactured with a canvas upper, with the toe encased by a white rubber cap.
The Converse All Star comes in a wide variety of color choices, so you’d be hard pressed to find a design you didn’t like!
The sole is hard and flat and also made from rubber. The two main designs are a low top and high top with the high top bringing the canvas portion past the ankle and covering the lower part of the shin.
I love the look of Converse shoes in general. Even before I got into Powerlifting, I would regularly wear Converse out and about. For me, their design is a timeless classic, so it’s an easy 10/10 for looks.
Rating – 10/10
The fit of the High Topped Converse All Star is pretty average overall. They’re nothing special but certainly not bad either.
The light canvas upper is going to fit pretty much any foot shape. It is very flexible and conforms to the foot effectively when the shoe is tightened.
I have been through many pairs of Converse All Star over the years and one thing that has always been true is that they rub against the side of my big toe. Similarly, my heel rubs against the back of the shoe and is usually the reason I have to throw a pair out as eventually the material rubs away completely and I’m left with the plastic heel cup to contend with (not good).
These, of course, could be issues with my foot shape rather than the shoe.
Rating – 6/10
The canvas material is quite light so the Converse All Star feel pretty airy and overall comfortable to wear. Which is more than can be said for a lot of Powerlifting Shoes!
The flat, hard sole takes some getting used to though, especially if you have medium to high arches. You won’t find any arch support in these shoes.
Like with the fit, the pros and cons are pretty balanced when it comes to comfort, but overall no major complaints.
Rating – 6/10
Straps & Lacing
The lacing system of the Converse All Star has always been very good in general. They have a very well built and robust eyelet system with metal inserts and the laces themselves are built to last.
When tightened the laces tend to hold their tightness well and I have rarely experienced them coming undone.
Obviously, not being a dedicated Powerlifting Shoe, the Converse All Star do not have a strap. It would be interesting to see how this would affect their performance.
Rating – 7/10
I was very surprised to see that the high tops and the low tops had strikingly different scores in the Powerlifting Perfection Grip Test, with the high tops doing significantly better.
In fact, the high tops outperformed the majority of shoes tested, making them an excellent choice if traction is your thing.
Rating – 8/10
If you haven’t read my article “Do Powerlifting Shoes Help” then I recommend you have a look at that before continuing if you are unfamiliar with how a Powerlifting Shoe benefits each of the three main lifts, as for the remainder of this article I will assume you understand these basic concepts, so will only touch on them rather than go into any detail.
Converse All Star for Squats
One of my absolute favorite benefits of the Chuck Taylor All Star is just how versatile they are! One of my biggest complaints about Powerlifting Shoes, in general, is that they are mainly only suitable for one or two lifts, and with Weightlifting Shoes in particular, walking around in them between or after sets is pretty cumbersome and probably not advised.
With my Chuck Taylors, I love that I can just throw them on (Chuck them on?) and I don’t have to worry about changing out of them between lifts or anything like that, I can even wear them out and about when I’m not training if I want. So for versatility and overall convenience, you will struggle to find a better alternative.
Looking at the Squat specifically though, the All Star aren’t the most beneficial when it comes to the high bar Squat. If you are like me and your ankle mobility isn’t great then the flat sole isn’t the most helpful option here. That said it’s still a lot better than anything else other than a dedicated Powerlifting Shoe, as the hard sole will provide a good platform to push from.
For low bar Squatters, the All Star are a good option if on a budget, although depending on how wide your stance is and how much ankle flexion you typically go through, the high tops can be a little restrictive when it comes to ankle mobility.
Overall a reasonably solid choice, but they just can’t compete with a good Weightlifting Shoe for me.
Converse All Star for Deadlifts
In the Deadlift is where I feel the Chucks really shine. Obviously, a dedicated Deadlift Shoe or Slipper will offer more but for anyone just starting out, Chucks are a solid option.
That flat, hard rubber sole really lends itself to this lift, it’s definitely a bit on the thicker side though compared to a dedicated Deadlift Shoe (such as the Sabo Deadlift Shoe), so there is that tiny bit of extra range of motion, other than that though I don’t really have much to complain about.
The high tops do allow for that added stability when Deadlifting, however, if you have particularly long legs compared to your arms and torso, you may find that the ankle support is actually quite restrictive, similar to the Squat.
Converse All Star for the Bench Press
For the Bench Press, the pros and cons of Chucks are pretty similar to the Squat. For those that like to take advantage of a raised heel, you’ll be left wanting. Again though, we have a stiff base for leg drive and the grip is plenty good enough for most.
So if you’re not bothered about a raised heel, Chucks are a great option, particularly on a budget!
Overall, it’s a pretty mixed bag for performance when it comes to the Converse All Star and will largely depend on your individual leverages and preferred stances.
Rating – 5/10
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Price
Lastly, their overall affordability cannot be ignored. The price for a good pair of Powerlifting Shoes can be pretty hard to justify sometimes, especially for those of us who aren’t at a competitive level or just Powerlift as a hobby, especially when those shoes only really get worn for a few sets on one movement.
I don’t know about you, but I typically only squat once per week, between 3-5 working sets. That’s a pretty short amount of time for an investment like Weightlifting Shoes. Conversely (sorry), the Chuck Taylors can be worn pretty much anywhere at any time and they won’t look or feel out of place.
Converse All Star tend to vary pretty wildly in price but you can check out the latest prices here.
Rating – 9/10
Final Thoughts on the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star
As I mentioned, I do regularly use Converse All Star when training. They are one of my staple choices for the Deadlift and if I’m in a pinch I have no qualms wearing them for the Squat or Bench Press either.
Where I find them particularly useful is when I’m traveling and don’t want to carry all my gear around with me, I just stick my Chucks on or have them tucked away in my bag for later.