Is there any sports footwear moniker more deserving of the signifier “heritage brand” than the century old Converse? The silhouettes of the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star and One Star are practically synonymous with youth culture – an association not limited to a single decade, but whose popularity spans numerous generations, each who’ve found comfort in lacing up the casual cotton canvas kicks regardless of the changing times.
But time has a propensity to leave heritage brands to fade into obscurity if left too long unchanged, such is the fickle nature of fashion. Especially so in the realm of footwear where the prevalence of certain silhouettes have dominated the market and arguably stifled innovation.
“We’ve always been a progressive brand, but as we enter a new decade we see an incredible opportunity to push the boundaries of our own design and product ethos,” says Phil Russo, Global VP, Design & Innovation at Converse.
That push for Converse manifests in the announcement of three core materials and technologies collectively falling under the CX moniker (before this rebirth, ‘CX’ was a badge introduced in 1915 by Marquis Converse to denote the “triple tread” design of his early sneakers). The trio communicate the intent to redefine the brand’s design ethos and also evolve the process in which their shoes are made.
Firstly, the CX Stretch Canvas is a stretchable and breathable synthetic offering a foot conforming property that the original cotton canvas could never offer. CX Foam combines a single-density PU insole with lightweight phylon midsole to provide a cushier comfort far exceeding the feel of ole Chuck Taylor kicks. And perhaps most important is the integration of the CX Outsole Design, a foam enhanced rubber outsole design engineered for optimal flexibility and improved durability.
In time, we plan to integrate its elements into every footwear product we make.
– Brandis Russell, VP, Global Footwear at Converse
Converse’s volley of new products under the CX moniker just launched on March 19th with three silhouettes:
- All Star Disrupt CX: A future-forward twist on the classic Chuck Taylor All Star silhouette through its key signifier – an exaggerated statement heel counter – intended to be expressive, bold and a signal of both comfort and newness
- Chuck Taylor Disrupt CX: A sleek, low-cut slip featuring CX stretch canvas and foam, with radical design language like an exaggerated heel counter
- Chuck Taylor All Star CX: A familiar classic, hosting upgrades like new stretch canvas, CX foam, and transparent foxing to showcase its transformative midsole, energizing both in look and step
Accompanying the trio is the announcement of a limited edition TheSoloist. All Star Disrupt CX, a graphic-minimalist interpretation imagined by Japanese designer Takahiro, founder of eponymous label TAKAHIROMIYASHITATheSoloist.
While the final trio of CX series sneakers reveal a loose adherence to the classic silhouette of the brand’s most enduring styles, Converse was kind enough to share some of their design team’s more exploratory efforts created during the CX initiative’s blue skies phase, represented by the following prototypes, revealing just how far the brand was willing to diverge from its heritage past:
The All Star Disrupt CX will retail for $120, the Chuck Taylor Disrupt CX for $90, and the Chuck Taylor All Star CX for $75. All three CX models are available at Converse.com and at select retailers.