During the late 1970s and early ’80s, millions of people worldwide discovered running as recreation, rather than evolutionary necessity. For historical purposes, the period can be defined as a “boom.” In terms of sneakers, it’s responsible for some of sport’s most enduring designs, including the Converse Auckland.
What’s with the name? The Auckland pays homage to a nice bit of running trivia: New Zealand is the birthplace of fitness running. Responding to a need to keep hefty businessmen fit, a local coach refined a “road work” system — mid-distance, mid-paced running — which ballooned from a small community activity to a worldwide phenomenon, with the help of none other than Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. Bowerman visited New Zealand, soaked in the scene and upon his return to the US published the landmark book, “Jogging.” The rest, as they say, is history.
Converse’s Auckland silhouette debuted for the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, blending daring color with technology dialed to the needs of joggers everywhere. The shoe has become an enduring symbol of an era and its latest iteration, the Auckland Modern, retains a retro sensibility through Nike Hyperfuse construction and a lightweight Phylon outsole.
The Converse Auckland Modern launched in an exclusive HTM makeup on July 14. HTM represents the collaboration between fragment design founder Hiroshi Fujiwara, Nike Vice President of Creative Concepts Tinker Hatfield and NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker. An acronym for the first initials of its three contributors, HTM explores new concepts in Nike design, often highlighting the latest technologies and hinting at future applications. Debuting in 2002, the collaboration has yielded 32 releases, from aesthetic updates of existing classics to the introduction of performance technologies, such as Nike Flyknit.
The limited-edition Converse Auckland Modern sneaker collection is available July 21 at Converse retail stores, Converse.com and select global retailers, in Black/Soar, Black/White, Black/Lucid Green, Black/Action Red and Black/Dark Grey colorways.