Converse launched its stylish, comfort-focused CX shoe range early in March 2020, an arguably impossible time to garner the attention necessary for a new product to take off. COVID-19 had just started to take over the U.S., and people were being introduced to a new work-from-home reality.
Despite this, Converse said people not only discovered the styles, but its consumers demanded more.
“Timing was certainly not on our side. However, we’ve been extremely pleased by the success of CX since first launching in March 2020. The CX product series has grown more than 15 times since its original release to meet growing demand, and we’re continuing to expand this product offering, particularly into Western Europe and Asia,” Converse global VP of footwear Brandis Russell told FN. “Since releasing the Chuck-driven CX series last year, the bright spot has really been with the male consumer, who we see is supplementing his Chucks or 70s with CX for a different aesthetic.”
Now that some semblance of normalcy is returning, Russell is confident the comfort story told though CX will remain relevant.
“We’re bullish on comfort. Consumers are going to continue to dress for comfort and align themselves to brands that reflect their values,” Russell said. “We’ve always approached benefit-led innovation through the lens of personal expression. That’s a distinction for Converse — we aim to put beautiful products out into the world that provide a functional and emotional benefit.”
With the introduction of CX last year, Converse revealed its “toolkit” for the range, consisting of a materials and technologies aimed to deliver comfort without sacrificing style. The main innovation in the toolkit is CX Foam, a compound made to absorb impact and “maximize long-lasting wear.” Aside from the cushioning, other tech in the toolkit includes stretch canvas made to adapt to the foot, new rubber outsole designs created with traction and durability in mind, and more.
Those tools were used once again to produce new CX shoes for 2021, a range that includes the Run Star Motion, the Weapon CX, the Chuck Taylor All Star CX and the all-new Aeon Active CX.
The Aeon Active CX is a newly-created silhouette the brand said “breaks convention and explores a new design language that propels both Converse and its consumers forward in time and style.” It is built with stretch bootie construction, an exaggerated heel kick and CX Foam drop-ins encapsulated by EVA foam midsoles.
The Run Star Motion, according to Converse, is an evolution of its acclaimed Run Star Hike silhouette. Although the upper is true to the original, the brand added CX Foam drop-ins encapsulated by EVA foam midsoles, a new outsole design and a wavy platform with sculptural lugs for traction and a bold aesthetic.
The Weapon CX is a modern interpretation of its classic basketball shoe from 1986, reinvented to offer wearers a look with both lightweight comfort and classic on-court style. Converse will deliver the look with its original Y-bar for foot stability, a newly engineered outsole and a combination of CX Foam midsoles and sockliner.
Lastly, Converse will deliver the Chuck Taylor All Star CX, which is executed with stretch canvas uppers and transparent foxing added to reveal the midsole.
The Run Star Motion CX will be the first shoe to launch, arriving June 16 via Converse.com and at select retailers. Converse will deliver the Chuck Taylor All Star CX and Weapon CX in the fall.
Aside from the in-line models, Converse also confirmed it has collaborated with A-Cold-Wall* founder Samuel Ross, who applied “his exploration-led design approach” to the Aeon Active CX. The brand said the collab will release late in 2021.
Looking ahead, Russell said consumers can expect a lot more newness from CX.
“Our intention is for CX to continue to unlock next-level comfort and next-level style. It will be one of the key drivers of our ongoing product transformation and as we continue to scale comfort across our line, we’ll start to intersect CX with our product innovations concepts and some Nike technologies — notably sustainability and inclusivity — to drive new offerings for consumers,” Russell said. “These four models will drive the remainder of 2021, but we’re super excited to share where we’re going in 2022. The Aeon Active CX serves as a strong signal of that direction.”