Jonathan Anderson’s latest collaboration with Converse began with an established desire — merge a Chuck Taylor with a runner — and quickly evolved as a study in blending a Converse icon with a new, very different Converse silhouette. The result, the Converse x JW Anderson Run Star Hike, drew immediate attention when it debuted during the designer’s Spring/Summer 2019 Collection show last September in London.
In principle, the silhouette is a declaration on contemporary mash-up culture, while in practice, it's a deft articulation of gamesome exploration of proportion and stance.
“Contrasting proportions have always been part of my design aesthetic. When I approached this latest Converse, I was looking to re-create the same aesthetic by pairing the sole of a Run Star with the classic Chuck Taylor to emphasize the proportions,” says Anderson.
This approach presented a challenge in engineering: how to retain integrity of individual parts and still present a strong catalyst for visceral reaction.
Thus, building the Converse x JW Anderson Run Star Hike required some ingenuity in design. Anderson didn't touch the upper; it rounds the foot with the same graceful, narrow sweep as it did in the '70s. He accentuated this simple shaping by using the tooling of the Converse Run Star, a heritage-style, injection-molded running shoe. It's the antithesis of the Chuck in terms of chunk and presents an intriguing stack height. Scale was also added through the addition of a sawtooth tread, effectively forming a three-part shoe (upper, midsole, outsole) wherein each portion can be read easily from distance.
Subtle details, including hand drawn typographical marks, relay the shared history of Converse and JW Anderson. On the white version, the date “1917” appears beside the patch on a Chuck 70 canvas upper, noting the debut of the All-Star. In contrast, an upcoming glitter version of the shoe reads "2017," marking the initial release of the Converse x JW Anderson Chuck 70 Glitter. Each are moments that extended and pushed the boundaries of the Converse brand at-large.
"Jonathan has been a terrific partner for Converse in extending in the Chuck 70 and forging a connection between youth culture and studied runway fashion," says Matt Sleep, Converse Design Director, Special Projects & Collaboration.
The white colorway of the Converse x JW Anderson Run Star Hike releases February 2019.