One of the less awesome things about getting older is that being on your feet for hours at a time at a concert, walking miles around the city, or any other similar activity ends up taking a progressively bigger toll on your feet. As such, I haven't bothered buying a pair of Converse's perennially stylish Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers in a long time. Sure, I could wear them for lower-impact occasions, but I'll end up falling in love with them all over again, wearing them constantly, and doing a number on my feet.
Converse apparently has old people like me in mind, because the company just released the Chuck Taylor All Star II, one of the more radical revisions the iconic shoe has had so far. Sure, Converse has released a ridiculous number of variants on the original shoe, but they've mostly been cosmetic variations. The II, however, appears to be a ground-up rebuild — like the Galaxy S6 of sneakers. The company is touting better foot cushioning and arch support, a more "breathable" micro suede liner, and a bunch of other features, like an embroidered All Star logo, that make the shoes even more expensive than the standard model ($70 for low-top, $75 for hi-top).
A way to wear one of my favorite sneakers of all time without destroying my arches
While all this innovation sounds foot-friendly to me, there's no doubt that these shoes lose a bit of style compared to their classic older brother — the match of the eyelets and laces to the overall shoe color feels like a bit much, and I miss the racing stripe along the rubber bottom trim — but nonetheless, I'm encouraged despite the fact that I'm super picky about sneakers. (My esteemed colleague, Jake Kastrenakes, is less bullish. He called the new shoe "the worst sequel since Back to the Future II." I countered by saying that throwing some white laces in the black shoe gets you 90 percent of the way to the classic look. He backed down.)
Converse will almost certainly release numerous variations on this initial limited run (only four colors are available: black, blue, red, and white), and it probably won't be long before they release a pair of these new shoes that match the original in style. If I can get my hands on those without making my feet scream at me after a busy day, I'll be a happy camper. The first run of these new shoes goes on sale next Tuesday, July 28th.
Verge Video at CES: This Bluetooth insole tracks steps and heats feet