All Star: Converse revamps its iconic Chuck Taylor sneakers for the first time in a century

After 98 years of existence, Converse's iconic Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers are finally getting a – slight but meaningful – makeover
After 98 years of existence, Converse's iconic Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers are finally getting a – slight but meaningful – makeover
(Image credit: All Star)

n its 98-year-existence, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star has become so universal, that it has been worn both to work and to weddings, and by everybody from Wilt Chamberlain to The Ramones to Andy Warhol to Patti Smith. Over one billion pairs have been sold since its 1917 debut, and every 43 seconds somebody purchases a pair of the iconic shoe. Although nearly a century has passed since the classic sneaker first came out, its basic design went unchanged since 1949 — when the black and white Chuck Taylor All-Star high top that we all know today was introduced — until yesterday.

Converse unveiled the Chuck Taylor All Star II (opens in new tab) in Boston, where the company is headquartered. Its creation began two years ago, when the design team received a simple brief: ’Take the most beloved, iconic footwear silhouette in the world — The Chuck Taylor — and give us more.’ Converse surveyed its consumers around the world to ask them what they want before they took to the design process. ’As we started to design it, we wanted to make sure that we kept the icon intact, but we really focused on the details, and let the iconography of the perfect sneaker be amplified a little bit,’ said Converse creative director Bryan Cioffi.

Although at first glance, the Chuck Taylor All Star II, which at $75 is only about $15 more than the original, looks almost exactly like its predecessor, after trying it on, the differences become more evident. Made from durable Tencel canvas, the Chuck Taylor All Star II also features a Nike (Converse’s parent company) Lunarlon sock liner, a foam padded collar, a non-slip padded tongue and a perforated, micro-suede liner. The silver eyelets have turned monochrome matte, the All Star patch fully embroidered, while the stripe on the foxing has been taken away.

It will also be available in four colourways: black, white, salsa red and sodalite blue. The result is a snugger fit and more cushioned sole than the original. ’We broke the Chuck Taylor down into four shapes: the shape of the upper, the circle patch, the shape of the foxing tape and toe cap,’ said Cioffi. ’We turned everything else down so we could give people a very pure representation of the icon.’

In short, the Converse All Star Chuck Taylor II keeps all the important features of the original, while adding features that are friendlier to your feet. Just make sure to go a size up because of the snug fit. ’It’s the sneaker and design that you’ve always loved, with much, much more — more innovation, more cushioning, more... just more of everything,’ summarises Cioffi.

The creation process of the All Star's new iteration began two years ago in Boston and has ended this month

The creation process of the All Star's new iteration began two years ago in Boston and has ended this month

(Image credit: All Star)

'As we started to design it, we wanted to make sure that we kept the icon intact, but we really focused on the details and let the iconography of the perfect sneaker be amplified,' says creative director Bryan Cioffi

'As we started to design it, we wanted to make sure that we kept the icon intact, but we really focused on the details and let the iconography of the perfect sneaker be amplified,' says creative director Bryan Cioffi

(Image credit: All Star)

Although the Chuck Taylor All Star II look almost exactly like its predecessor, multiple meaningful elements differ, especially comfort-wise

Although the Chuck Taylor All Star II look almost exactly like its predecessor, multiple meaningful elements differ, especially comfort-wise

(Image credit: All Star)

In terms of appearance, the silver eyelets were turned monochrome matte, the All Star patch became fully embroidered, and the stripe on the foxing was taken away

In terms of appearance, the silver eyelets were turned monochrome matte, the All Star patch became fully embroidered, and the stripe on the foxing was taken away

(Image credit: All Star)

For just $15 over what the first All Stars cost, you may aquire timeless sneakers that are all the more friendly to your feet

For just $15 over what the first All Stars cost, you may aquire timeless sneakers that are all the more friendly to your feet

(Image credit: All Star)