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The "obsession" behind Chuck Taylor's makeover

The Chuck Taylor is getting its first makeover in nearly a century.

The new Chucks may look similar, but Converse has made a series of design changes they say will reinvigorate culture's most iconic shoe. They are the shoes of our past, and Converse hopes also our futures, reports CBS News correspondent Don Dahler.

Chuck Taylor All Star II

"I grew up wearing Chucks back in the U.K., and for me it's always been a sneaker I've associated myself with," Vice President and General Manager of Converse All Star Richard Copcutt said.

He said the company wanted to pay respect to their past, but also move forward.

"You'll see a couple of subtle differences that invite the consumer to look more closely," Copcutt said.

Converse is making their first big overhaul since the shoe's debut in 1917. Copcutt and his team implemented nearly 40 design changes including increasing cushion, padding the tongue and upgrading the shoe's canvas. They even tweaked the laces, holding a four-hour meeting about the effect of the aglet, the plastic tube at the end of the lace.

"This whole sneaker has been about an obsession to a level not seen before at Converse," he said.

Chuck Taylor AP/The Republic

Chuck Taylors were the original basketball sneaker branded for a 1930s player-turned-salesman named -- yes, Chuck Taylor.

Boston Celtics Don Nelson, (19), blocks scoring try by Los Angeles Lakers Wilt Chamberlain in the first period of their game on Dec. 1, 1971 in Boston. AP

Some of the sport's biggest stars wore the shoes. In 1962, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game wearing his pair of Chucks.

By the 1970s, the canvas rubber soled shoes made their way from the courts to the screen to the punk rock music scene. They represented the 1990s counter-culture movement before becoming a mainstream closet staple.

"We feel the consumer wears that sneaker rather than the sneaker wearing them so it allows the consumer to express themselves. I think that's the heart of its popularity," Copcutt said.

Bobbito Garcia wrote the book, "Where'd You Get Those?" about New York's sneaker culture. He said Chuck Taylors are "one of the most iconic, if not the iconic shoe."

"In New York, for the communities that I was a part of ... we really used what we wore on our feet as extensions of our individuality, as expressions of our creativity," Garcia said.

As fashion also embraced Adidas, Reebok and Nike, sneakers became a $50 billion industry.

That competition hurt Converse. In 2001 the company filed for bankruptcy. Nike bought the brand two years later, and today it's still looking to stay relevant.

"I don't really know why they would adapt the shoe now ... it's like if it's not broke why fix it?" Garcia said.

"We're still offering the original. Consumers have asked for more and new, so they'll have a choice between the original and the Chuck II," Copcutt said.

Converse shoes have actually undergone changes before, adding the star and also releasing new colors. This new version will sell for about $70, $20 more than the previous version.

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