They’ve been around for a century and at one time dominated the basketball shoe market. During the 1980s, the Chuck Taylor All Stars by Converse were a staple in many a teenager’s closet. They were also a central part in popular culture during that same decade, with their appearance in timeless film classics such as Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, The Outsiders and Stand by Me.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and we can see that some Chuck Taylor All Stars have undergone a sustainable makeover.
Nike, which has owned the Converse brand since 2003, recently announced that a new line of these shoes, the Chuck Taylor All Star Crater, will launch next week. According to Nike, the All Star Crater now contains 40 percent recycled content by total weight. The soles will include 12 percent “Nike Grind” materials, a blend of recycled surplus manufacturing materials and footwear. Depending on the color, the shoe uppers will have up to 100 percent of a canvas made from recycled polyester or post-industrial textile waste scraps.
The All Star Crater follows on the heels – literally – of other Nike footwear that uses recycled or upcycled materials, including last year’s Converse Renew collection and Nike’s Space Hippie product line.
The Space Hippie collection is one of Nike’s more compelling products, as they are manufactured out of a blend of recycled polyester and recycled rubber, as well as standard foam. Containing up to 85 to 90 percent factory and post-consumer waste, this “exploratory footwear collection,” boasts the company’s lowest-carbon footprint within its footwear line as of this summer, Nike said.
Nike insists the innovation behind these shoes is not just in the materials, but in how the company approached their design. The company says more than 100 people worked together taking on the challenges designing the All Star Crater through the use of in-situ design principles — and results included new types of foam, canvas, lacing system and, in the end, a new shoe made out of less materials.
At a time when the consumption of single-use plastics is surging due to fears over the spread of the novel coronavirus, products like the All Star Crater can offer inspiration to companies in other sectors on how to approach waste. The world may have finite resources, but right now waste in all forms is limitless. Creativity and innovation can help us dig, and design, out of this mess.
Editor's note: Speaking of circularity and recycling, be sure to save the date: Monday, July 22, at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET. We’re hosting Loop and and UPS to understand their take on the state of the circular economy during the era of COVID-19. Register here for the next Learn From Home webinar from TriplePundit and 3BL Media.
Image credit: Nike Media Relations
Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He's based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.