It took Converse almost a century to revisit its most-recognizable sneaker. Turns out, the reintroduction of that very-familiar style was just the tip of the iceberg; it's since ushered in a new wave of sneakers that go way beyond our dependable Chucks. Last month, Converse gave us a virtually unrecognizable take on the All Star. Now, as part of its Modern collection, the brand is launching a brand-new style that's quite a departure from the rugged canvas lace-ups we know and love. Behold, the Auckland Modern, a reboot of Converse's Auckland Racer. The new-and-improved version adapts the '70s- and '80s-inspired athletic silhouette for our perpetually in sneakers lifestyles. The shoe debuts tomorrow in five colorways, retailing for $110 a pair. Without spotting the logo, a first look at the Auckland Modern might make you think of Nike before Converse, with its mesh-like texture and minimal branding. Well, Nike, Inc. owns Converse, so that isn't exactly a shocker — and Converse has benefited from its parent company's technological innovations in the past. Bryan Cioffi, VP and creative director of footwear at Converse, calls it "a mutually beneficial relationship." While they target consumers independently(and have separate cult followings for certain styles), the brands can share certain resources.
The whole process of getting a new sneaker out in the world, from initial sketches to landing on store shelves, takes about 18 months, Cioffi estimates. Whereas past Auckland Racer relaunches have been more focused on fashion than fitness, you can actually be active this particular update — it's equipped with Nike's Hyperfuse construction and a Phylon outsole to optimize the shoe for durability and cushion, respectively. Still, given Converse's history, this athletic turn won't come as that much of a surprise. "Converse has an authentic and formidable sport heritage in running," Cioffi told Refinery29. Many of the brand's most-iconic products are rooted in sports culture, Cioff adds. The Auckland Modern ties back to Converse's running DNA. The name refers to the New Zealand city's apparently rich jogging history and the silhouette draws from the lightweight comfort runners want, adapted for wear off the trails. It took a while for Converse to even mess with its classic formulas. So, why make all these changes now? According to Cioffi, consumers asked for it: "[Customers] have told us that they want more newness, more comfort, and more innovation, all the while staying true to the spirit of the brand," he said. So, what do you think of Converse's new look? Let us know in the comments.