Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the One-star slide in his 1997 article The Coolhunt and he interviewed Dee Dee Gordon about working with Baysie Wightman and how the two women were able to get the now iconic grunge inspired shower sandal into the marketplace. As a fan of the One-star slide I had tried to bring back this shoe around 2008. My idea for bringing back, what was at the time the only sandal Converse had in their archives, wasn’t based on any type of intentional “cool-hunting” but rather a combination of being a shoe I liked, that was comfortable, and being something that wasn’t already flooding the market. In 2006/07 I remember Steven Alan had been carrying Worishofer sandals (grandma shoes) and I was starting to see the slide silhouette around Portland and NYC. Dr. Scholl’s classic slides were also slowly starting to pop up, and Birkenstocks, of course, are now everywhere. It seemed like there were obvious clues that a Converse slide would do well. Using the exact same insight I had used before and had been successful with, a combination of seeing what was not yet available mixed with a bit of intuition, I had re-created several One-star slide concepts.
My intention was to bring back the slide with a slight update, much like what Converse has done with the Chuck Taylor II, it just needed to be cleaned up. When I first presented the idea to my design director he suggested I look at the Visvim Christo, his other suggestion was a button closure . So I came up with 5 or so versions for the updated One-star, inspired by the Christo. And I do really love the Christo, they are in my opinion some of the best man-sandals, but I wanted to stay more true to the iconic Converse slide.
Adding a trim, changing out the material and extending the suede over the heel in the back was all I ended up doing, didn't feel like much else needed to be done - it's a fun shoe to work with. Unfortunately, my concept never even got sampled. So when I found these illustrations on my hard drive it made me wonder what it was I could have done differently....?
Using the Christo for inspiration and having a button on it maybe took the idea too far from the original goal, but I still think the options above could have been pretty good for Converse. It's unfortunate that this didn't make it beyond my desktop, it would have been interesting to see what could have happened to this bring-back as the slide silhouette has grown in popularity in the last 5 years and has become an essential staple for every other sneaker brand.
Below - A quick google search of some of the slides available today.