Converse Wade 2.0
Had an appointment with Converse this morning over at the Players clubâ€”no, not the Ice Cube strip clubâ€”a literary-type establishment off Gramercy Park that looks like the setting of an Agatha Christie novel, or maybe a Pink Panther flick. Met with Cons rep Molly Carter, had some breakfast, checked out the new basketball line (including the "099," a velcro-strapped shoe that both Kirk Hinrich and Udonis Haslem have been wearing, named in honor of Converse's 99th year of operation). We talked a little about the ongoing rehab of Dwyane Wade and next year's 100th birthday of the brand, which should bring plenty of new product. And new old product.
There were also roughly 8,000 new colorways of the venerable Chuck Taylors and Jack Purcells, as well as lumberjack plaid versions of the Weapon and (I think) the Pro Leather. Oh yeah, and some ILL lasered Pro Leathers. I'll share more when I can.
But what I want to talk about now is the new Dwyane Wade, the 2.0, which dropped over All-Star weekend. If you want to know how big Wade is for Converse, just check out the Jordanesque box. The third Wade signature shoe and the best yetâ€”the shoe that Reebok SHOULD have made for Allen Iverson by nowâ€”the 2.0 is a sleek, fast high-cut shoe that shares elements of many influences, from Prada America Cups to Nike Hyperflights (or some sort of other Nike guard shoes). This is probably due at least in part to the efforts of Trent Casper, the former product line manager for Nike basketball who's now heading up Converse's basketball efforts.
The inspiration behind the 2.0 was a roseâ€”more specifically, the balance between beauty and danger. The flower and the thorns. You can see the stem and thorns motif on the outsole, and the upper combines sharp and rounded elements (something I think could have been accented even more strongly). At heart, it's a lightweight pure performance basketball shoe, built for a high-flyer. There are plenty of little touches as well, as befitting a signature shoeâ€”lasered signature on the inside of the tongue, plenty of "3"s and WADE spread-armed silhouette logo placement, as well as the Converse star logo. But nothing superfluous, no lace covers or straps or excess material just for show. They retail for $100. But enough talk, see for yourself.
(The lowsâ€”in black/red (Heat), white/navy/yellow (Marquette) and brown/orange (hotter than you think) are coming June 1st. More on those later.)
P.S. I forgot to mention the Wade apparel line, the first for a Converse basketball athlete. The tees, hats and hoodies (which I've been rocking, thanks Molly) as well as shorts and bags and jackets all show an extreme attention to detail, right down to the hang tags. And they shouldâ€”the hoodie retails for $85, while the t-shirts range from $25 to $30. The quality IS top-notch, though. You might want to take a look.