Pinnacle Chunk: Globe and Chet Thomas Revive an All-Timer
The return of the CT-IV marks the height of the chunky retro wave. From the moment Demna Gvasalia and Balenciaga introduced the game-changing Triple S, we’ve been living in the maximalist era of chunk. Ever since those kicks graced the runway during the brand’s Paris Fashion Week show in 2017, everyone from Nike to adidas to Under Armour to Topshop have offered up their take on the oversized dad-favoured styles of old. And there’s been little reason to do otherwise, as the various iterations continue to fly off shelves thanks to sneakerheads and fashionistas looking to decades past for a little inspiration.
The current obsession with chunk has also seen inexpensive mainstays like the Swoosh’s Monarch elevated to something more coveted. While decidedly old school runners have returned to hog the spotlight with their bulky frames, thick tooling, and tech-showcasing construction. A$AP Rocky and Under Armour even took ‘inspiration’ from the Osiris D3, going so far as to link up with Dave Mayhew, who was controversially credited with the sneaker’s design.
Now, one of the most iconic skateboarding silhouettes to ever push a board has flown under the radar to make a welcome and unexpected comeback. The comeback of Globe’s unparalleled CT-IV couldn’t have come at a better time, and the early 2000s skaters among us couldn’t be happier.
Origins of Chunk
The history of the CT-IV has been well documented. As seen in our ‘Origins of Chunk’ feature last year (not to mention our 700-plus-page UNEMPLOYABLE book), the 2000 debut of the CT-IV marked Australian outfit Globe’s ascent to the top of the skateboarding footwear mountain.
Established by Hardcore Distribution’s Peter, Matt and Stephen Hill in 1994, Globe quickly took the skate world by storm thanks to the Hill brothers’ tech-centric approach to footwear design. By the late 90s, the brothers had already shaken things up by moving away from the vulcanised silhouettes of old to focus on comfort, support and durability over all else. Thanks to the brothers’ existing global connections and distribution channels throughout the United States, the brand had no problem getting their kicks onto the feet of skaters.
By 1997, Globe were ready to take their tech-heavy approach to the next level by introducing visible air cushioning to their foam-packed midsoles. The move was a clear gamble by the fledgling company, since visible tech had generally been a no-go for skate kicks. Thankfully, however, co-signs from bonafide icons like Rodney Mullen and Chet Thomas gave Globe the clout they needed to pull it off, and the brand’s proprietary Nitrocel was pushed to the masses.
Tech Takes Off
Fast forward to 2000, and Globe’s tech-centric styles fully took off thanks in large part to two particular styles: Mullen’s signature RMs3 and Thomas’s CT-IV. While the RMs3 took Globe’s signature approach to new levels, with additions like a welded rubber toe cap and moulded ollie panel, the CT-IV upped the ante in every way.
Like Mullen’s kicks, the CT-IV featured a chunky foam-laden sole complete with Globe’s beloved Nitrocel. However, what really set Thomas’s signature kicks apart was its upper. An evolution of the CT-III, the CT-IV was in a whole new stratosphere when it came to comfort and durability. Unlike your prototypical skate shoe (or even the RMs3, for that matter) the CT-IV employed a step-in mesh and neoprene bootie to make Chet’s fourth Globe sig as comfy as a pair of house slippers. That plush bootie was then encased in wavy overlaying panels of protective leather and suede to go with durable TPR ollie inserts. Globe even had the foresight to hook the kicks up with hidden bottom eyelets as a little laces-saving gesture. All of this amounted to the bulkiest, most comfortable, and most durable skate shoe to ever hit the market. According to Thomas himself, that was exactly the point:
‘I owned a retail store at the time, and often heard parents complaining about how fast their kid’s shoes wore out, and how much they cost. It was also a pet peeve of mine, even though I got my shoes for free. So, one of my goals with the CT-IV was that it would get better and better the more you skated, and would last way longer than other shoes. I was able to skate the same pair of CT-IVs for a few months, while shoes I skated previously would last a few weeks at the most. The durability goal was definitely achieved.’
A Timely Resurrection
As the maximalist shoe trend continues to dominate shelf space and the blogosphere alike, the timing for a CT-IV comeback is perfect. Up-and-coming label Double Rainbouu even put their own Down Under spin on the 19-year-old design with a colourful makeover that hit the runway — and, eventually, store shelves — late last year, thus setting the stage for the fashion world’s adoption of the trend-setting design. Thankfully, Globe already have fans covered with a variety of in-house make-ups that put a fresh new spin on the beloved pro model.
Even Ariana Grande approves.