Almost 100 years old, the Chuck Taylor All Star is in many ways the Coca-Cola of sneakers. Converse wanted to innovate and deliver fresh purchasing options for their customers.
An ex-Coca-Cola executive, Geoff Cottrill knew there was an inherent risk in ‘improving’ an iconic product. No one wanted a consumer riot to deal with like New Coke did in the 1980s.
A reimagining of the classic Chuck design with a focus on improved comfort and increased build quality. You can read the Fast Company article about the Chuck II by John Brownlee here.
The shoe was released to positive reviews, with the upgrades to comfort and durability being a focus of the praise:
Many of the changes incorporated into the Chuck II can be seen in the later developed ‘Converse Modern’.
Any changes needed to feel organic and necessary. The danger of alienating Converse’s core consumer with thoughtless corporate tinkering was real. Converse’s core consumers are creatives, artists, rockers and skateboarders, rebels and iconoclasts. That’s where collaboration with The Sense Network came in; synonymous with Converse’s core consumers, they live at the edges of culture.
The Sense Network (including one particularly passionate chef), the Converse Brand team and Product Design team worked collaboratively and iteratively to develop the new shoe. The brief was to change everything without changing anything.
Working through iterative loops the Chuck ll product was developed. Messaging was refined. Each loop delivered feedback that was reviewed and informed the next round.
It was one of the most fun projects of my career. Not because of the project itself. It was because of the world-class team I worked with who made it happen.
Chief Marketing Officer, Converse