The Converse Revolution

Recently, for the first time since the shoe first hit the market about a century ago, Converse launched a new edition of its iconic Chuck Taylor. Since customers were looking for a flat sole that was comfortable enough to sport all day, the Converse team upgraded the insole of its classic sneaker with Nike technology to make it more wearable. You couldn’t really see too much of a difference from the outside, however.

The design team is getting funky with it. With the newest Chuck II, its pattern incorporates reflective strips built into various patterns involving camouflage and stars. Converse Product Director Ryan Case has said the new look came about because the company once again listened to customers. He said, people were looking for something “edgier to lace onto their feet.”

Case said that “The marketplace is growing so fast and has such an innovative angle that we wanted to make sure this, the graphics, stand out from the marketplace.”

He said that a person wearing these shoes, their reflective strips glowing, might be going to band rehearsal, biking home from an evening out with friends, standing on the cold concrete of their art studios, or dancing in the club.

Converse is targeting a customer who is cool, young, urban and has a creative streak. And that fits Converse’s image: The company has a recording studio (called Rubber Tracks) at their Boston headquarters—which opened in May 2015—and the brand is known for collaborating with and supporting emerging artists.

When asked about future versions of the Chucks that so-called sneakerheads can hope to see hitting the streets soon, Case said, “Without giving too much away, it goes back to the fact that we’re going to continue to evolve and innovate.” “We’re going to continue to push the envelope of unconventional thinking when it comes to traditional sneakers.”

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