Re-inventing an icon is no simple feat. So when Converse announced that it would be releasing the Chuck Taylor All Star II, initial reactions were skeptical to say the least. The Chuck Taylor is universally regarded as a cultural icon, and messing with perfection is downright blasphemy. To put it plainly, consumers around the world told Converse’s Vice President Richard Copcutt, “Don’t fuck up the Chuck.”
Despite the pressures of tackling such an arduous task, Converse trudged forward with the Chuck Taylor II. From the surface, the sneakers appear the same. However, when taking a closer look, it is what’s found on the inside that deviates the II from its predecessor.
Nike acquired Converse in 2003, and the implementation of a Lunarlon insole makes all the difference in the Chuck II. The biggest gripe with the OGs is its thin sole, as well as its shaky sizing. But with Lunarlon technology, wearers will find pristine comfort in the cushy sole. As the kicks are worn, the insole will begin to form to the wearer’s foot.
“[With the Chuck II], you’re feeling it fit the right way and you’re feeling the tongue gusset, you’re feeling the foam, you’re feeling the Lunarlon. it’s going to feel a little closer to your anatomy and that’s the point,” says Creative Director Bryan Cioffi. Additional features like a gusseted tongue and a breathable micro-perforated suede round out the intricacies of the Chuck II’s interior.
Although the exterior appears the same, the upper’s technical aspects are much improved, beginning with a more premium canvas. OG Chucks are beloved for the way its canvas wears over time, and the II’s will follow suit. It might take a little longer, but Converse assures they will age just as gracefully.
The sneaker’s inception set the stage for Converse’s largest launch in the company’s 107-year history. More than 130 members of media from across the globe, myself included, were invited to the footwear conglomerate’s brand new headquarters in Boston for the unveiling. We were swiftly escorted in charter buses to Cruiseport, a World War I era warehouse in Boston.
Upon entering, the anticipation was overbearing. Attendees were guided through three rooms, each one fitted with its own pulsing Volt green tunnel. The first phase included speeches from Converse’s President and CEO, Jim Calhoun, who spoke on the immense significance of launching such an innovative project. Richard Copcutt followed Calhoun, and highlighted the Chuck Taylor’s storied association with the creative community. Make no mistake, Chucks are the creative community’s sneaker.
The Chuck II was then unveiled as part of phase II of the launch. Bryan Cioffi recounted the countless hours that were put into every single aspect of the shoe. Attendees were finally able to hold the kicks in hand. I must say, despite all of the new features, the sneakers are incredibly light. Finally, phase 3 brought on the wear test.
Initial thoughts are as follows: immediately you will feel the thick cushioning taking form around your foot. As a devout runner-enthusiast, I was completely satisfied with the overall support from the Chuck II. The snug fit is exactly what I look for when purchasing sneakers, as well as a weightless feel. Additionally, the fully embroidered All Star patch is an aesthetic plus.
Devout Chuck Taylor enthusiasts will fully embrace the Chuck Taylor All Star II. I persistently pried for information on forthcoming Chuck II collaborations, but to no avail. The focus remains on this initial launch, which comes in colorways of black, blue, red, and white.
The evolution of the iconic Chuck Taylor sneaker took nearly a century to come to fruition, but it is a welcome successor. Regarding the Chuck III, Copcutt says, “The speed of change within the industry that we work in and the demands from the consumer are immense, but I don’t think we’ll wait 100 years for the next one.”
The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II launches today via Converse retailers and online from its online shop.