Then they can walk your feet all the way to the gym.
The hottest basketball shoe of their day, Converse’s Chuck Taylor’s were adopted by punks and music fans, branding them as both a classic and a rebel’s marching boot.
They may be the defining shoe of fake punks these days, but Chuck Taylor is making a hard stab at rock legitimacy in the wearables market. Partnering with Cutecircuit smart clothing company, they’ve crammed a guitarist’s wah-wah pedal right into the literal soul of their shoe.
What we love about these shoes, other than, duh, they’re cool… is that these are everything wearables are shaping up to be, or already are. Stealthy wearables already walk amongst us, like the Levi’s trucker jacket.
With the All-wah you could walk out of a session, hit squats at the gym, then go back to finish recording without changing your shoes. To complete the outfit you just need a shirt that doubles as an electric guitar. (If you crowdsource my idea, I get 15% after launch.)
The Chuck Taylor All-wah offers both wired and wireless wah-wah action, wireless charging and pure analog audio, whatever that is. Let’s check ’em out.
Wired or Wireless
Low Energy Bluetooth means just what you think it means. These kicks employ a type of Bluetooth that uses less energy than your dad’s Bluetooth devices. That means the battery last longer.
This doesn’t mean you have to go wireless. For the traditionalist, if there were anything traditional about a shoe that doubles as a guitar pedal, you can jack in just like a regular pedal. The difference is, there is no pedal, so guitarists can walk about the stage, wah-ing as they go without dragging a pedal around.
For the truly modern guitarist, they will employ the Bluetooth feature. Then they are completely free to go wherever, stopping to wah or wah-ing on the run. In this way, the advent of wireless wah added to Chucks restores some of their spit as an athletic shoe.
It could be argued that Chuck Taylor has turned their reputation upside down, helping rockstars stay active.
The All-wah comes with a little square box, designed to house much of the technology for the device. When the shoe is wired in, this box is what one wires into. The shoe simply gathers haptic data, but the box is where the magic happens.
In the event the musician wants to run about untethered, the box is where the shoe connects. It’s the Bluetooth receiver.
But wait, that’s not all. The box also houses the recharging station for the shoe. Only one of the pair works as the way shoe, so you only need charge the one. You simply put the shoe on top of the box, then it does the rest.
Pure Analog Audio
Although it’s probably for naught, as most audio is now captured digitally, mixed digitally, then played back digitally. The All-wah retains the analog sound of the guitar as it was in the beginning.
This is tough idea to accept, as the Bluetooth capture, transmission and receipt of the pedal action is nothing but digital. I really don’t understand how they can make this claim as they’ve replaced the original potentiometer (called a pot; in this case the little dial inside a real wah-wah pedal) with a digital pot, which they explain in their demo video [below].
Let’s not split too many music geek hairs, but it seems that once the signal is received, then it would be all digital from that point forward. Still, the team at Cutecircuit is citing pure analog as one of their pillars.
Ultimately, if it makes cool music, who cares?
For me, the coolest thing about these is how much they look like regular Chucks. They may be branded All-wahs, but appearance-wise they are all Chuck Taylor. Sadly, none of the Ramone’s would be caught dead in such mass-accepted shoe as the Chuck Taylor, let alone one that was such a convention, being a wearable.
You, however, love kitsch. You love collecting shoes. When they finally are available for purchase, you’re buying a pair.