Converse is determined to regain its prime position in the basketball market.
In an event in Brooklyn on Wednesday afternoon, the brand unveiled the All Star Pro BB, a performance basketball shoe that is intended to highlight the company’s return to the sport it helped pioneer more than a century ago.
In 1917, Converse introduced the Non-Skid, the first athletic sneaker specifically engineered for basketball, a new sport that was starting to gain traction in the United States. In 1922, a basketball player who joined Converse as a salesman would host the first basketball clinic in North Carolina. His name was Chuck Taylor.
The Converse All Star sneaker — a later iteration of the Non-Skid — soon became synonymous with the sport. Taylor’s name was added to the model in 1934.
Since that time, the Chuck Taylor, as it is now known, has become a signature of the street and skate communities. It remains the brand’s biggest selling footwear model.
Converse, which is owned by Nike, used the Chuck Taylor’s signature features — minimal construction and performance details such as toe bumpers, ankle patches and peg top uppers — to inform the All Star Pro BB.
The shoe was developed by Converse’s design team along with Nike’s Eric Avar, vice president of global design and innovation/creative director, and is intended to allow the foot to move in many directions while still being supported. The upper is constructed using a single layer of canvas using a Nike Quadfit mesh that conforms to the foot. An All Star patch is featured on the medial side as a nod to the Chuck Taylor and a Star Chevron is on the lateral side, a reference to The Weapon, another popular basketball shoe created by the brand. The sole features a Nike React lightweight core which allows for quick movements.
The All Star Pro BB will be available starting next month and will retail for $140. It will be available in black or white with orange details.
“It’s an exciting moment to spark a rebirth in basketball,” said Brandis Russell, vice president of global footwear for Converse. “But it’s just the start of a journey for us.” She said through research with customers, the brand discovered that Converse “can be more than Chuck Taylors.” And the creation of the All Star Pro BB is the first step in that journey.
She said the shoe will be worn by Converse ambassador Kelly Oubre Jr., of the Phoenix Suns, at the start of the next NBA season as well as other athletes within its portfolio.
Later this year, Converse will expand its basketball offerings with the re-release of the Converse VLTG, a collegiate sneaker from the Nineties that will be re-engineered exclusively for women. In addition, the Pro Leather classic model will also be featured.