The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star is the classic American basketball shoe, beloved around the world for its simple, iconic styling.
Now someone’s tricked out a pair of “Chucks” with a Bluetooth-controlled wah-wah guitar pedal!
That’s right: Musicians wearing these experimental test shoes can rage on stage and use foot action to operate their go-to effects pedal – without actually having to stomp over to the pedal to physically activate it!
Guitarist J Mascis (of the band Dinosaur Jr.) puts the Converse All Wah through its paces – both literally and figuratively.
Putting the Pedal to Rock and Metal
Called the Converse All Wah, the technology was developed by London-based CuteCircuit. The pedal makes adjustments to guitar tone. (Lift your foot up to increase the bass, and down to boost the treble.)
There are several ways the All Wah can be used, including through Bluetooth chain to a traditional wah-wah pedal. You can also use the guitar gizmo through your iPhone or laptop.
Or you can hook the All Wah up to a standard amp connection through the nifty guitar jack in the sole of the shoe (as seen in the video)!
And, because it’s a drag to have equipment die on stage, the All Wah automatically recharges itself wirelessly.
This could be an extremely useful tool for stage guitarists who want to move independently while performing, and need to produce wicked awesome effects right where they stand.
Updating an American Classic
The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star basketball shoe is a triumph of low-tech engineering: just a brown rubber sole with a cotton canvas upper, and fronted by a white rubber toecap.
And yet, it’s the shoe that generations of American kids wore before sports shoes became revolutionized during the 1980s and 1990s. And now they’re seen as paragons of style, favored by famous rockers and power-lifters alike.
Actually, this isn’t the first move to modernize Chuck Taylors. Last year, Converse broadened the All Star line to include the Chuck Taylor All Star II, although the company’s flagship shoe is still in strong demand.
Next year will mark the centennial anniversary of Chucks, which first went into production waaaay back in 1917!
There are specialty lines of Chucks now available, including many shoes created in tribute to musicians and artists that were famous for wearing Chucks.
An Andy Warhol line of Chucks, for example, contains some of his most famous images – such as the Campbell’s Soup can or his silkscreens of Marilyn Monroe. There are even some Warhol Chucks adorned with glow-in-the-dark elements!
Wearable Tech Now Calls the Tune
So far, the Converse All Wah has not been slated for introduction to the consumer musician market, but that’s subject to change if guitarists make their voices heard.
Regardless, it’s a way-cool example of how embedded technology can be used to fuse the twin powers of fashion and functionality – and just another example of how wearable tech is taking over the fashion world, one coolly switched-on garment at a time.