Feet the world over rejoiced when Converse revealed the redesign of its famous Chuck Taylor All Star.
The new model, called the Chuck Taylor All Star II, features completely redesigned innards (using parent company Nike’s Lunarlon foam impact-absorbing technology), a padded tongue, and micro-suede lining. They’re like a stealthy luxury version of the retro original.
Beyond feel and performance, stylistic changes include better materials, colour-matching shoelaces and grommets, and replacing a glued-on vinyl patch with a stitched cloth version.
For the most part, though, the All Star II looks the same as the original. And therein lies the problem: The All Star may be iconic, but it sure is ugly.
Don’t get me wrong — the II is a vast visual improvement on the classic All Star. The subtle tweaks and use of higher quality materials certainly help, but the shape of the shoe is still a problem.
Given its icon status, I feel slightly blasphemous saying this, but I’ve never liked the shape of the Chuck Taylor.
The shoe has a near century-long history, and unfortunately it’s showing its age. From its eight rows of shoelace eyelets to the tacky patch and rubber toecap, it has a clownish quality.
I realise that the All Star has a special place in the hearts of many who’ve either grown up wearing them or belong to a subculture that’s co-opted the former basketball sneaker. They’re probably overjoyed that their favourite shoe will now be more comfortable to wear for extended periods.
In fact, the high-top II is completely sold out on Converse’s website, as of the time of this article, so I’m clearly in the minority here.
Unfortunately, I just can’t get over the shoe’s peculiar shape. It’s not for me.