As of Tuesday morning, videos of two reporters witnessing their arrival had been viewed nearly 8 million times on Twitter – compared to more than four times as much attention as the campaign’s largest scheduled video event, a conversation between Joe Biden and Barack Obama Twitter and YouTube combined .
Harris’ sister Maya tweeted Monday that Chuck Taylors is indeed her sister’s go-to place. A few hours later, Harris’ official campaign account tweeted the video, titled “Laced and Ready to Win”
At this point in a presidential campaign, each step is calculated, often to convey a sense of youth, energy, and fitness to convince voters of a candidate’s ability to deal with or help with the rigors of running the country. Biden often runs up the stairs to his plane or to the microphone on the stage to demonstrate his strength, and recently wondered aloud what it meant that President Trump had trouble going down a ramp at one of his events this summer. Trump criticized Biden for not leaving his Delaware basement, and supporters speculated about his intellectual sharpness.
But when Harris ‘sister – a former Hillary Clinton adviser and co-chair of Harris’ former presidential campaign – tweeted, Chuck Taylors are a staple in the California senator’s wardrobe. She wore them regularly to the campaign in 2019 and showed a collection that she said is several pairs deep.
Harris has white chucks, cream chucks, black chucks and even hints at a pair of sequins she hasn’t broken out on the trail yet.
During an interview with The Post on a bus rumbling through Iowa, Harris once stated that she recommends washing shoes to keep them fresh – but she was determined to remove the laces first to avoid incongruous discoloration Avoid tip holes with metal frames.
At one of her campaign events last year, a young aspiring artist kicked off Harris’ campaign event by performing an original song about her own Chuck Taylors and the importance of relying on personal style.
A former campaign embed and Harris presidential campaign worker spread the story of a campaign freeze on a New Hampshire farm when Harris discovered she had forgotten to bring her Chucks, but the ground was too muddy to move comfortably on heels. A staff member pulled off her own conversations and gave them to Harris who wore them during the event and later signed them as a thank you.
Chuck Taylors are hardly anything new in fashion. They were published in 1917 and named All-Stars in 1919. In 1921, the company hired basketball player and promoter Chuck Taylor, who challenged the Converse shoe company to create a more flexible and supportive shoe for the field. His name was added to the shoes in 1934. They were the main shoe of professional basketball players in the 1960s, although they were no longer used in the 1970s due to the improvement in shoe technology.
Since then, Chuck Taylors has been more of a retro-style street shoe than a sporting commodity, and they continue to be popular as a cultural signal. Athletes, actors, and musicians wear them regularly and also hold onto hipster circles, particularly in Harris’ native California.
Harris has tended to break away from traditional restrictions on female candidates to dress like their male counterparts in her short time on the national stage. She was at the center of a short-lived controversy when reporters tweeted pictures and videos of the then-presidential candidate trying on a rainbow sequin jacket at a black-owned South Carolina company. Conservative outlets jumped on the reporters to point out the jacket and then on Harris to cut their suggestions. Six months later, Harris wore a similar rainbow jacket to the San Francisco Pride Parade, and the internet’s supportive pockets exploded with joy.
The response to Harris’ Chucks was more organic and less forced than the campaign’s attempts to make Biden’s branded flyer logos less performative than revealing. They were trending on Twitter before the campaign adopted them as their own.
“Kamala, a purely American woman, dressed like a real boss. I love to be down to earth and take it for real people, ”@YvetteinSC tweeted.
“Chuck Taylor. Skinny jeans. Suit jacket. First black woman and first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party. Born in Oakland, California (for her obstetrician). Her first name is pronounced COMMA-lah. Make it clear American, badass … “retired basketball player Rex Chapman tweeted.
Less supportive circles grabbed the outfit with tweets suggesting Harris is a “cop in converses” and similar messages. However, the majority of the most engaged in tweeting on the topic were positive. Some people have posted pictures of their own Converses couples. Others tweeted that they were online and buying some of their own Chuck Taylors.
Converse declined to offer details.
“While we cannot share specific sales data, we are pleased that the vice presidential candidate selected the Chuck Taylor All Star as a reflection of her personal identity,” the company said in a statement.
Many people toss Harris’ shoes as a sign that she is a candidate for a developing constituency. At a time when many in the Democratic Party are calling for a different breed of leader, a sentiment that contributed to Biden’s promise to name a woman as a runner-up, Harris’ shoes found resonance with those who saw something more familiar in low chucks the usual polished wing tips.
“Mike Pence doesn’t even know what Chuck Taylors are,” tweeted Daniel Uhlfelder, a Florida attorney who had traveled the state in a Grim Reaper costume exposing Floridians of the dangers of the coronavirus warning something viral.