Nike’s Flyknit uppers debuted with the Flyknit Racer in 2012. Five years down the road, not only has the knit-tech appeared on many Nike styles, it’s now also graced the Converse kick that the young can’t seem to get enough of: the Chuck Taylor All Star
By Shu Xie
It’s really a matter of time. Besides, a good thing should be shared, right? That, I believe, was what Nike was doing when it availed the Flyknit upper to its sibling brand Converse. First released in April this year in the high-cut version of the Chuck Taylor All Star (in six colours, no less!), the newest iteration is a veritably sleek pair of kicks than can go further than after-school use.
Seriously, when I finally saw these shoes, I was not thinking of pinafores, or white socks, but a pair of Calvin Klein pants that are sharply shaped by Raf Simons. I’d wear these Flyknit-topped Chucks in place of those Western-style boots proposed by the house that Mr Simons now heads. In all honesty, Converse sneakers are not exactly my go-to footwear, as they look too much like plimsolls, those cotton canvas lace-ups that remind me of the always-soiled pair a secondary school classmate of mine used to wear. I do, however, like this handsome Converse in the knit that has brought Nike legions of followers and imitators.
If you look back at the past five years of the Flyknit’s high-profile existence, the Swoosh masters of new materials have been so successful with applying the Flyknit, that, unless you follow the fabric’s journey as closely as those who trail Kendal Jenner’s every move, you may not be aware that many of Nike’s classic silhouettes, from Air Force 1 to Kobe 9, come in versions with this knit upper. To me, not every one of those shoes work. Some of Nike’s popular styles, such as the Airmax 90, become bereft of the sneaker’s original bulk when fashioned with the Flyknit. Some sneakers should not lose weight.
In the case of the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star—conceived in 1917, the shoe pairs beautifully with the Flyknit since they have always been rather aerodynamic in shape. And the Chuck—not a hunk, even when it is originally a baseball shoe—has frequently appeared in fabrics other than cotton canvas. And most, like the Flyknit, take nothing away from the slender silhouette, which attracts those who prefer their sneakers to be canoes rather than catamarans.
To make sure that no one doubts the origin of Flyknit, Nike has, in major kiasu fashion, dubbed this as the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star X Nike Flyknit Low Top. Not sure if the co-branding is necessary since we already know Converse is a division of Nike. Apart from the Flyknit, something else that can be traced to Nike technology is also used: the unmistakable Lunarlon cushioning—here, it is comes in the form of removable in-soles. Both come together to yield a very light Chuck Taylor All Star.
Adding to these two to make the Chuck look less its original form is the Flyknit toe cap which takes the place of the Chuck’s usual rubber version. It’s fused with TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane that interestingly renders the toe cap a darker shade) for a tougher front so that your toes can live to tell that you’ve kicked someone in the butt.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Flyknit Low Cut, SGD159.90, is available at Converse standalone stores. Photo: Converse