The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star has a long and storied history. So much so, that we dedicated considerable time and resources to telling it in detail for issue 36 of Sneaker Freaker. The lineage of the shoe is extensive, and for much of its history the silhouette remained relatively unchanged. That is, until last year when Converse debuted the Chuck II – a reimagining of the classic that reengineered the sneaker with modern technology. Now, fans of the Star Chevron are being treated to yet another technical revolution thanks to the introduction of the weatherised Chuck Taylor All Star II Shield Canvas. Given our affinity for all things Chuck, we got our hands on a pair to bring you this side by side breakdown of all the new updates to the beloved sneaker.
Hands On: A Side By Side Comparison Of The Chuck Ii Shield Canvas And The Chuck Ii
Date: August 23 2016
By: Sean Irving
DURABLE WATER REPELLENT
Converse’s goal with the Chuck II Shield Canvas was to create an All Star that could be worn anytime, regardless of the elements. As we all know, rain and canvas shoes don’t tend to mix very well – and there’s nothing quiet as disheartening as squelching around with soggy feet. It may come as a surprise then, that one of the biggest updates to the shoe is one that’s the hardest to spot. While the canvas upper of the Shield Canvas looks identical as its brethren, it’s been treated with durable water repellent (DWR). This means that while the two may look similar aesthetically, the Shield Canvas is built specifically to fare well in the wet. The DWR treatment means that when water comes in contact with the upper it merely beads up and runs off the sneaker instead of soaking into the material – leaving your feet bone dry.
Perhaps the most striking visual difference between the Chuck II and the Shield Canvas is the removal of the eyelets that traditionally appear on the medial side of the sneaker. Originally introduced as a means of ventilation, their absence creates a solid upper that ensure that no stray water can seep into the shoe’s footbed. If you’re partial to stomping in puddles, then this is definitely the sneaker you need in your life.
If rain is coming down particularly heavy, there’s the potential for it to run down the tongue of your shoe and into your socks. Converse have solved this design problem with the addition of a gusseted tongue on the Chuck II Shield Canvas. The traditional All Star tongue is reinforced with extra material that creates a channel that funnels water away from the tongue and onto the DWR treated upper. It’s a small tweak that’s not immediately noticeable, but one that you’ll definitely be grateful for if you’re unexpectedly caught in a deluge.
The Shield Canvas retains the updated micro-suede lining that we’ve come to love in the Chuck II, but turns up the brightness dramatically with a bold neon colour scheme. While it’s not visible when on-foot, the popping palette is echoed on the top eyelet and aglet of each pair – a subtle hint as to what’s waiting to be uncovered.
The instantly identifiable heel patch that’s found on the medial side of each pair of Chuck Taylors has gone through a slew of variations over the course of the shoe’s history – and the Shield Canvas is no exception. Here we see a monochromatic embroidered treatment that matches the upper of the pair, as opposed to the white and navy iteration found on the Chuck II. This carries over to the license plate, which is also presented in a tonal make-up.
The Shield Canvas swaps the Chuck II’s flat laces for a DWR treated barrel version that’s threaded with a small hit of 3M. The rounded shape of the laces encourages water to wick away from the tongue, and toward the upper, while the reflective touch ensures optimum visibility.
In a touch that’s simultaneously stylish and practical, the Shield Canvas rendition has been blessed with a 3M stitched webbing that runs vertically across the heel of the sneakers. Designed to shine bright in low light environments, it’s an aesthetic flourish that serves a very useful purpose.
The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II Shield Canvas is available right now from the Converse Australia – in store and online.