After nearly a century, the iconic Chuck Taylor All Star silhouette is about to be updated: Converse is ready to release the Chuck Taylor All Star II.
The new Chuck 2 is strikingly similar to its predecessor, but features advances in construction and technology, including Nike’s Lunarlon cushioning.
The changes were based on research conducted by the brand. “As we assessed our customer base, we were hearing a lot more about their active lifestyles and the things they’re doing in their day-to-day,” said Damion Silver, Converse’s footwear design director for the men’s All Star. “We wanted to make sure we were engineering technology and comfort into this new style.”
Aside from Lunarlon, the shoe’s updates include a padded, elasticized, non-slip tongue; a perforated micro-suede lining; and a premium canvas upper.
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The most recognizable attributes of the shoe also received updates, including the All Star patch, which is now fully embroidered.
“[The Chuck II] continues to reflect the spirit of the Chuck Taylor and what it’s meant all these years. It still has all of the most recognizable exterior attributes of the Chuck — that’s important to the consumer. We’re just addressing the new needs of the consumer while staying true to this iconic sneaker,” said David Allen, GM and VP of Converse North America.
The shoe’s other premium details include on-trend high foxing, monochrome matte eyelets and tonal pinstripes.
Silver identified the brand’s core Chuck Taylor consumer as an “urban dweller,” a creative person who starts the day early and ends them late at night — always on the go, always engaged to the fullest. Allen said Converse sent employees on the road with a few of its core customers, including artists and musicians, to see what they believed needed to be updated on the classic sneaker.
Many Chuck Taylor fans may well decide not to purchase the Chuck II when it hits stores.
“Our customers say, ‘You can do things to the Chuck Taylor, but I don’t necessarily want to see it,’” Silver said. “People are still buying Chuck Taylors. We’re just building on the icon.”
Allen said the brand’s retail strategy for the original will be unchanged.
“The original is the king and will continue to drive a lot of business for us in North America and globally. We don’t believe [the Chuck II] is going to cut into the original’s business in a significant way,” he said. “We’re not cutting back on the original whatsoever. The original retails for $50 for the low and $55 for the hi, and they will stay at those prices.”
The Chuck Taylor All Star will continue to be sold by its existing retailers, while the Chuck Taylor All Star II will be available at select retailers, including Journeys, Foot Locker and Nordstrom.
“We wanted to be restrictive with the Chuck II. The original is not going anywhere so out of respect for the original we wanted to create space,” said Rodney Rambo, global VP of Converse All Star marketing, at the unveiling event held in Boston on Thursday. “We took a lot of time thinking about who our key partners are and placed the product there, making sure there’s enough room for the core Chuck to continue to succeed and exceed expectations as well as deliver this new offering to consumers.”
The new shoe hits retail shelves on July 28 and will be available in four colors: black, white, red and blue. The high-top will have a $75 retail price and the low-top oxford will cost $70.
Rambo said two more colorways will be released in October as part of the brand’s holiday ’15 collection.
Click through the slideshow below to explore all the new Chuck II styles.