In case you thought the 2010’s ugly sneaker pattern had died, suppose once more. It’s really alive and nicely; evolving into new, much more questionable varieties and reaching ever extra ridiculous heights, as Converse’s newest sneaker demonstrates.
Meet the Converse Sponge Crater: an unexpectedly avant-garde, high-tech foam sneaker from a model that’s most well-known for producing traditional, low-tech canvas basketball sneakers, specifically the enduring Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star.
The mule-cut sneaker, which was launched final week, is shaped with a sculpted foam physique with a knitted sock-like higher. it has no conventional outsole: the froth midsole is shaped into pods on the only of the shoe for traction.
Particularly, the froth is Nike Crater Foam (Nike owns Converse), a cloth that’s beforehand been used for sneakers just like the Nike House Hippie. It comprises Nike Grid, a recycled scrap product made up of rubber, fibre, leather-based and textiles, which supplies it a gnarly look and texture.
It’s sort of just like the Yeezy Foam RNRR in look – and that’s not by mistake. It appears the present ‘large factor’ in sneaker design is foam or rubber clog designs, with manufacturers as numerous as Adidas, Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton and New Stability all getting in on the motion. Converse is simply the newest pattern follower – and that’s the difficulty.
The Converse Sponge Crater launched by means of a restricted version with A-COLD-WALL*. It is a tactic Nike has used many occasions to launch new sneakers – for example, they launched the Air VaporMax with a Comme des Garçons collaboration. Picture: SUBTYPE
Whatever the method you are feeling about these types of clog-like sneakers, the difficulty is that this doesn’t appear like a Converse. It seems like a Nike, makes use of Nike expertise, and doubtless needs to be branded as a Nike.
We’re not so certain about the entire cage design. Making the construction, midsole and outsole out of the identical materials would possibly look distinctive however what are the implications for sturdiness? How lengthy will this foam and knit sneaker final? In fact, it is a downside with all clog-like sneakers, however the Converse Sponge Crater appears notably risky.
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Converse is sort of a sufferer of its personal success. Whereas the model has beforehand experimented with extra trendy designs (e.g. within the 80s, the Converse Weapon was the must-wear sneaker within the NBA, with Larry Chook and Magic Johnson each rocking them), the enduring success of Chucks signifies that’s actually all of the model’s identified for – and its success has stymied their technical progress, each internally and within the eyes of shoppers.
It’s a conundrum: futuristic clog sneakers just like the Sponge Crater don’t actually make sense for a model like Converse; they’re not identifiable as Converses… But when Converse doesn’t experiment, they’ll simply keep of their pigeonhole and make nothing however Chucks. It’s a catch-22.
Tyler, the Creator sporting his Converse Gianno sneakers. Picture: GOLF LE FLEUR
We would not be followers of the Sponge Craters however we’re not enemies of progress. Converse has additionally produced extra modern-looking sneakers in collaboration with rapper and tastemater Tyler, the Creator – just like the Gianno and the recently-released GLF 2.0.
The inclusion of Nike tech of their sneakers can also be not in itself a foul thought. Ever tried on a pair of Chucks with a Nike Lunarlon insole? It’s like strolling on air.
However you’d need to pay us to be caught out in public with these Sponge Craters.