While some younger companies may have been on the brink of collapsing under pressure from the challenges faced in 2020, Converse drew on their 100-plus years of industry experience and stuck to what they knew best, while simultaneously advancing their latest and greatest products. Perhaps most importantly, the moves they’ve been making this year have helped lay some valuable foundations for future generations. Here’s a recap of what Converse were up to in 2020.
Following a prolonged absence, Converse resumed making performance basketball shoes in 2019 with the All Star Pro BB. Packed full of sports tech (some of it thanks to a very close relationship with Nike) and rocked by key athlete Kelly Oubre Jr., the flagship model received a timely update this year in the All Star Pro BB Evo.
Furthermore, Converse signed NBA All-Star Draymond Green to their all-star roster (pun intended) in 2020. The accompanying G4 model advanced the old-school ERX line in a modern package of Nike’s React and Zoom Air tech. You can’t help but get the feeling that 2021 for Converse basketball will only be bigger and better.
Converse certainly weren’t shy of collaborations in 2020. However, rather than shotgunning every boutique or chasing every influencer/trend for a colab, they strengthened their existing relationships. A-COLD-WALL* dropped two dystopian All Star Luggeds, keeping with Samuel Ross’ futuristic vision. While Feng Chen Wang extended her portfolio with some ‘2-in-1’ Chuck 70s that had fashionistas freaking out, plus some layered Jack Purcell high tops. Comme des Garçons Chuck 70s restocked again (and again), and Brain Dead also dropped a bunch of wonderfully weird things – including a curious cowprint platform-soled Chuck 70. Tyler, the Creator's GOLF le FLEUR* label continued the Gianno Ox, and Paria Farzaneh recreated the Pro Leather X2. AMBUSH also had some very fuzzy foot coverings. Up next is Joe Freshgoods.
Even if some of Converse’s most tried-and-true designs have been more or less unchanged for 100 years, the brand isn’t afraid to trial something new with their classics. Enter the CX collection, which is the latest generation of Converse tech. CX is based around three components: CX stretch canvas, CX foam that pairs polyurethane insoles and phylon midsoles, and a new low-profile rubber tread. This tech was showcased in 2020 on three new models called the All Star Disrupt CX, Chuck Taylor Disrupt CX, and Chuck Taylor All Star CX.
All Stars Program
Beyond product, Converse have been making concerted efforts to support a global community of young creatives. They’ve been refining the program for the past two years, forming a network of over 3000 young creatives from over 27 cities around the world. ‘We know there’s massive inequalities in access to careers within creativity,’ says Converse CMO Jesse Stollak. ‘If we create new pipelines of experience, we can open an engine for youth opportunity.’ Some positive outcomes in 2020 included workshops with industry leaders like Virgil Abloh and Samuel Ross on how to break into the industry, and general design pointers.
Converse have been at the forefront of making a concerted effort to offset the environmental impacts of shoe manufacturing. Last year, they introduced their Renew range, which features recycles materials reclaimed from potential landfill. In 2020, Converse pushed on with Renew, even linking up with Carhartt WIP to add some collaborative cool to an already delectable range of environmentally friendlier inline colourways. Additionally, being part of the Nike umbrella has allowed Converse access to recycled compounds such as Crater Foam, effectively adding the Chuck to Nike’s Space Hippie program.
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