Reimagining an icon, a silhouette that has largely defined a brand, is a daunting task. However, this hasn’t deterred Converse, which continues to offer consumers new looks infused with DNA from the timeless Chuck Taylor All Star.
“We look at Chuck Taylor as our greatest brand ambassador. It continues to be critical to the success of our business today, as well as an amazing source of creativity and inspiration for where we want to take our business in the future,” Converse VP of global footwear product Brandis Russell told FN. “We’ve built a strategy that acknowledges the heritage, but also allows us to help more consumers see themselves in our products.”
This strategy, according to Russell, began to take shape roughly five years ago. It was centered around creating a Chuck Taylor ecosystem, which leverages the shoe’s heritage while creating modernity, all while keeping serving and connecting with consumers in mind.
In the time since, Converse has delivered several new looks with Chuck Taylor DNA, several of which becoming adopted by Gen Z. With these shoes, while acknowledging Converse doesn’t look at success in one dimension, Russell highlighted a few that have moved the needle.
“We look at the Run Star Hike as the thing that opened the door for us to push further. In terms of the invitation to being more progressive, that definitely was a gateway,” Russell said. “If you were to look at sheer scale, shoes like the [All Star] Lift and the [All Star] Move crossed a lot of different intersections of consumers. They have been widely adopted at a global level.”
Converse will soon add a new silhouette to this ecosystem: the Chuck Taylor All Star Construct.
“Our consumers have a love for the Chuck, it holds a special place in their lives, in their minds, it’s been a part of their childhood. They love its timelessness, its versatility, this classic nature that it possesses. But the reality is their taste has evolved, their style has evolved, their needs have evolved,” explained Jocelyn Briggs, director of product merchandise/footwear for men’s inline at Converse.
She continued, “This shoe is an evolution of the Chuck Taylor through the lens of our ’80s court heritage. This is for our Gen Z cohort who likes the Chuck Taylor but it’s looking for something more. The Chuck is pretty ubiquitous, it’s in a lot of places. This is a novel item that doesn’t sacrifice functionality.”
Briggs said Converse looked at several silhouettes in its Boston archive to inform the design of the Construct, such as the Pro Star and the Star Tech from the 1980s, and the toothiness of the outsole was inspired by the brand’s heritage cupsole models.
Some of the heritage elements that Chuck Taylor All Star fans are sure to notice immediately include the All Star patch, the pinstripes, the toe cap and the rubber foxing tape at the forefoot.
New features include decorative stitching on the reinforced canvas uppers, which Briggs said creates pattern breaks that allow for more color and material blocking. Also, it features a rubber cage that wraps around the toe to both the medial and lateral sides of the shoe for added durability, thicker EVA midsoles underfoot that are wrapped in a rubber foxing tape and reimagined outsoles with a herringbone tread for bolstered grip and protection.
“This shoe continues to expand our strategy, that formula of bringing new silhouettes to our consumer with recognizable aspects to it,” Russell said. “What it pushes further is the versatility that we want to drive, it allows for us to push more on utility. Durability and having more of a long-term wear in terms of comfort for our consumer are the thing I would say are special about it.”
The Chuck Taylor All Star Construct arrives Feb. 9 at 9 a.m. ET via Converse.com and will retail for $85. The three introductory colorways include “Vintage White/Black/Egret,” “Roasted/Black/Egret” and “Black/Vintage White/Egret.”
Although the Construct is the latest expression of Chuck Taylor DNA infused into a Converse shoe, Russell said there’s more to come.
“We’ve been known for shoes that give our consumers a bit more height from the midsole, but we believe there’s more that we can do beyond just a lift or an elevated expression,” Russell said. “You’ll see us look at proportions beyond an elevated height in our product. We also get inspiration from our partners and collaborators who help us think about the top line of our shoes differently, or even the toe down of our product differently. There’s a lot more space within the Chuck ecosystem for us to dream, for us to express not only the thing that consumers know us for but new insights that we haven’t fully utilized as points of inspiration.”