JW Anderson Made the Chuck Taylor an Absolute Unit

The Converse Chuck 70 is about as close as there is to a perfect sneaker. The shoe is a sturdier, more comfortable version of the original basketball sneaker, the Chuck Taylor All-Star. Over the years, the shoe’s blank canvas has become a favorite of collaborators like Virgil Abloh, Comme des Garçons, and Loewe and JW Anderson designer Jonathan Anderson. They churned out versions of the shoe that came with small hearts near the heel, in interesting colors and materials, or blanketed in glitter. Despite all those changes, most collaborators left the classic tried-and-true shape well enough alone. Anderson is not one of those people.

After several seasons of faithfully retooling the Chuck 70 with felt, glitter, or criss-crossing logos, Anderson decided to rip the thing apart. He scalped the slim rubber sole off the bottom and in its place implanted a chunky curved one borrowed from the Converse Run Star. According to Converse, the shoe is a tribute to remix or mash-up culture: smashing together two disparate parts to make something new but still familiar.

The result is a shoe with the recognizable clean white upper of the Chuck 70 atop a puffy sole with a thorny retro tread in blue and tan. In menswear parlance, we might say the shoe’s been Absolute Unit-ized. And in terms of fashion, it’s arriving at exactly the right time.

People enjoy classics. They repeat-buy them. But they don’t tweet things like ME or THE ONLY 2K19 ENERGY or a line of fire emojis over pictures of classics. They do that for fashion. Anderson makes Converse into fashion items, but the Run Star Hike is the first of his shoes for the brand to actively participate in footwear’s most dominant aesthetic: The biggest trend in sneakers is still massive bulked-up shoes and the designer’s found a way to turn a classic shoe into a perfectly 2019 one.

Specifically, Converse describes the sole of the shoe with the word “chunk,” as in “It's the antithesis of the Chuck in terms of chunk.” And the amount of chunk here really is off the charts. But the Converse Run Star Hike’s added benefit is that, unlike most chunky fashion shoes, they only retail for $140. (They’re reselling for around $200 now.)

You might hop over puddles or tiptoe around the tiniest bits of debris in $900 designer shoes, but you don’t need to be precious about the Run Star Hike. I can’t look at these shoes—sturdy on the bottom with the sort of tread more suitable for dirt bike tires than sneakers—without imagining all the things I’d like to crush in them. I can hear the crispy disintegration of fallen leaves, the quick snap of an abandoned twig, the raucous bang-bang-bang of bubble wrap. They are designer fashion sneakers with all the chunk and air of indestructibility of a monster truck. They are classic sneakers warranting 280 fire emojis.


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