The Converse Chuck Taylor is as timeless as a sneaker gets. Not much has changed in the overall design since it first debuted back in the early 20th century. Its reputation, on the other hand, has only grown, embraced by everyone from punk rockers to fashion heads. It’s also proven to be an excellent canvas for collaborations: designers from Kim Jones to Virgil Abloh to Hiroshi Fujiwara have given their spin on the iconic shoe. And the latest collaborator? None other than the master of goth-glam fashion that is Rick Owens. And true to form, he’s transformed the classic sneaker into one that is sure to turn some heads.
Specifically, Owens tweaked the Chuck 70 Low and High under his less pricey, more streetwear-oriented Drkshdw sub-label. But that doesn’t stop him from offering up a properly freaky Rick Owens treatment: monochromatic shades of white and black, supercharged with a dash of gothic weirdness.
This is not your grandpa’s Chuck Taylor. The tongue has been extended to an exaggerated portion, pushing well past where the original design stops short. The sole is jumbled and remixed to include unusual sections, grooves, and lines. Perhaps the most unexpected tweak is that the sneaker opts for an impossible-to-miss square toe instead of the traditional rounded style.
I’d be remiss not to mention the very divisive nature of the square toe. (The bootcut jeans of sneakers, if you will.) This very magazine proclaimed that the square-toe shoe “must die” back in 2017. And then Vogue asked, “Are Square-Toe Shoes the Nickelback of Men’s Fashion?” But the outlier style never entirely packed up its bags and disappeared. Raf Simons put out square-toed canvas sneakers during his time at Calvin Klein, and Martine Rose produced a square-toe loafer that was a hit among adventurous dressing men. Obviously, trying something different is nothing new for Owens. “When I think of Converse, I think of the black and white Chuck Taylors and the punk rock generation. Wearing Chuck Taylors, you align yourself with a generation that was experimental,” Owens said in the official press release. And a square-toed Chuck Taylor is experimental indeed.
The square-toe shoe has long been considered the bane of men’s style, a weird-looking and off-kilter style that tends to look flat and wide if not in the hands of the right designer. But as always, Rick is the exception, never the rule. And in his vision, the square-toed Chuck Taylor looks like an even more eccentric and punk version of its former self. The sneakers are set to drop on July 27 via Converse and Rick Owens. Pick up a pair if you dare.