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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

'S Weapon Wednesday: Black/Red Weapon 86

There have been a few different Weapon 86 colorways that I've seen this year, unfortunately most of them never got a wide release. At least any release that I was aware of. Which really helps to fire me up about these Black/Red Mid top Weapon 86 joints that are up


That's all I've got today, hopefully you'll be able to see some Weapons on the NBA courts tonight.  Keep your eyes peeled for the Weapon EVO's!  Follow along on twitter @TheConverseBlog

PS.  If you happen to have Direct TV then you've got to check out Friday Night Lights tonight on the 101.  Support great scripted TV! 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Converse One Star '74!

Chalk this up as a very pleasent surprise.  I never thought we'd see a true Converse One Star for quite a while.  Which is kind of a double edged sword, because by all accounts the One Star line at Target is
doing very well.  Either way, the Converse One Star is back with a revised and re-issued 1974 edition.  Which recently went up at as an exclusive shoe for the website.  You can pick up a pair for 70 bucks right now in the colors pictured below. 

That will do it for a wonderful Monday....okay so I am hoping it's a wonderful Monday.  Thanks for checking out the blog, don't forget to follow along on Twitter @TheConverseBlog   I'd really like to get my follow count up so hook me up with your follow Firday's this week! 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Converse brings us Elton Brand's new signature shoe, the EB2!

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (October 22, 2009) – Good things happen in threes. The 2009-2010 NBA season marks three notable returns for 10-year NBA veteran Elton Brand and Converse. Brand returns healthy for his second season with the Philadelphia 76ers, Converse’s iconic Star Chevron logo is once again featured on basketball footwear, and Converse returns with another Elton Brand signature shoe called the EB2.

The EB2 is a follow-up signature basketball shoe from last year’s first-ever Elton Brand signature shoe, the EB1. After a successful year with the EB1, Converse again partners with JCPenney to offer an affordable performance basketball shoe for adults and kids.

“I grew up watching basketball’s greatest players wearing the Converse Star Chevron logo on the Weapon and the Pro Leather. To have this logo on the EB2 is a badge of honor,” said Elton Brand. “The EB2 is a great looking, affordable shoe that offers comfort and stability with the appeal of being a signature model. It’s my goal to stay healthy this season and showcase the EB2 with successful, solid time on the court.”

The EB2 is designed for basketball players who specialize in quickness, agility and versatility. The shoe is made of durable leathers for optimal support and features perforation in the toe box and midfoot, providing improved ventilation and comfort. The EB2 also includes speed lacing for a sleek look and a spat strap that provides additional lock down for enhanced support. The midsole is made of light weight EVA, while the outsole has multidirectional circle bone traction, forefoot flex groove and a decoupling heel for optimal ground contact when landing.

 In addition to Converse’s Star Chevron logo, the EB2 features Elton Brand’s Converse logo, which was introduced at the start of last season.

The Converse EB2 is available now and retails for $65 in adult sizes and $50 in kid sizes. The EB2 is available exclusively at JCPenney locations nationwide and online at and It will roll out in three colorways this season including black/white/red, white/black/red and white/black.

About Elton Brand
One of the premier post players in the game since being selected as the first overall pick of the 1999 NBA Draft, Elton Brand returns for a second year as a Philadelphia 76er. A two-time NBA All-Star selection and the 2000 NBA Rookie of the Year, Brand averaged 13.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game during the 2008-09 NBA season. He was named the consensus college player of the year following his sophomore season at Duke University, where he led the Blue Devils to the NCAA Championship Game. The recipient of the 2006 NBA Sportsmanship Award, Brand also founded the Elton Brand Foundation in 2000 to help communities through educational and recreational opportunities.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Interview Part 2 of 2 with Michael Ditullo and Molly Carter on the Converse Weapon EVO

The Converse Blog: On the naming of the new "Balls Technology", some people might find the name a little risqué. How did the name for the technology come about and was it close to being named something else?

DiTullo: That’s a pretty good story. Personally, I love macaroni and cheese because macaroni and cheese is macaroni and cheese, right? There’s just something about when you just name something what it is that, to me, it’s just honest and I love that. So, we had been calling it Balls internally all along, all of us are like 99% sure that that was going to change. We were like ’This’ll never stick.’ But that’s what they are, they’re balls, so that’s what we had called it. We’ve probably had like 250 to 300 meetings on what we should name it. We just never came up with anything better than Balls. Yeah, there’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek fun analogies that you can make but also it kind of explains what it does really easily. Coming from a big company, I think showing that we can have a little bit of fun … not a bad thing. At the end of the day, me and my team, we get paid to draw shoes all day. We have a really fun job. Sometimes all these technical benefits that we’re all really working hard to provide just come off so serious. The game of basketball is a game and it’s a super fun game. I think Balls just kind of connects to that.

TCB: Your original Weapon Evo sketches from 2007 had sketches featuring a full-length hit of the Converse Balls Technology. Would that be something that we could expect in future releases?

DiTullo: We designed these technologies to be scaled. So, we wanted to be able to offer it in different packages or different price points. You’ll definitely be seeing a lot of variations.

TCB: The patent pending number on the outsole of the Weapon Evo refers to the design making use of the spheres and the Converse Helium logo. Could Balls Technology evolve to include helium in the same way that there's Nike Shox with air in it now?

DiTullo: Well, I wouldn’t be able to comment on anything like that but the spherical patent is a patent that Converse has held for a long time, and if it’s not the strongest patent in the marketplace, it’s one of them. I was researching through our patent documents and I was like ’Yeah, we should just do something with this thing because it’s just sitting here and it’s kind of a little gold mine of an idea here.’ I’m not one of the best designers, I don’t think. I don’t put myself in the top list. I think what I’m really good at is finding those nuggets, those things that maybe someone else got frustrated with or couldn’t figure out all the way, and dusting it off and being like ’Wait a second, there’s something here.’ I think if you look at the Weapon Evo, it’s kind of got patent 360 with the Weapon-inspired upper and then the Balls Technology in the chassis.

TCB: Is the Weapon Evo the most important release for Converse since the first Wade shoe?

DiTullo: As a designer, I’m very proud of it and I’m often my own worst critic. I’m mean, typically, I’m never happy with my work. I’m always more focused on what’s on the drawing board right now. When I look at my work, I look at what I could’ve done better, what I want to improve on.

Molly: Yes, it is an important shoe launch for us this fall for a number of different reasons. Really it’s the first team shoe that Converse is putting out with the new Star Chevron logo on it, so for us alone with that new logo, it’s a huge deal for us. So everybody internally is really excited about this shoe, from the work that Michael’s done over the past 2 years with it, to putting it out in the marketplace today. Dwyane Wade or not, this was going to be an important shoe for us, just alone from bringing back the Star Chevron mark.

DiTullo: I was super psyched to work with the mark. For me, that’s Converse basketball.

TCB: So the talks about bringing back the Star Chevron logo were around 2007 then?

DiTullo: Yeah, when we started Evo. It was killing us just to leave it off stuff. Let’s just focus on the Evo and get it out there. Patience pays off.

TCB: Is there anything in the works about maybe having an increased presence for Converse in the NBA or NCAA this season? People are watching Converse to see what’s going to happen in the near future.

Molly: We’re having conversations about adding more ambassadors for basketball and we’re really going to try and take our time and work with people who really are Converse athletes and people that are willing take risks and do something differently. As a brand we always says we want to disrupt the status quo. So we’re really just taking our time and pushing the reset on who our ambassadors are and taking a look at that. Probably spending the next few months having conversations and doing some investigative work and seeing who might be available and what makes sense for us as a brand.

        Kyle Korver and Alando Tucker are going to battle all year for the hottest colorway.

Interview part 1 of 2 with Michael Ditullo on the Weapon EVO

I've been fortunate to partner with Counter KICKS to get some more information regarding the Weapon EVO in the form of an interview with Covnerse's Michael Ditullo. Michael is the design director at Covnerse and was the designer of the Weapon EVO. Here is the first part of the interview, the second part of the interview will run here later today. 

Counter Kicks: Can you describe the genesis of the Weapon Evo, and how you took the template of the original Weapon and re-engineered it into a brand new creation?

Michael DiTullo: Definitely. You know, it’s got a really cool story. It was a really organic process. Having been in the industry for awhile, I kind of geek out on a lot of the stories behind a lot of shoes.

I had been wanting to do something with the Weapon for awhile, and we’d been talking about doing a visible technology and we’d been researching a lot of our past and researching a lot of technology. I just felt like it was a perfect opportunity. Do a visible technology and do it in a product that tied to our heritage a little bit more. It just was the right thing to do.

Literally, like, I had a thought, I went into my office, I drew the shoe, I emailed it to my boss, it quickly went right up to the president of the company, I got an email back the same day. I think it was just one of those things where everybody that saw it was like ‘Yeah, that’s it. That’s a Converse basketball shoe.‘

A key of using the Weapon was that it was a team shoe, a real serious team shoe, and you had Isiah, Bird, Magic, Bernard King. Everybody was rocking that shoe, and it was great for all of those players, all those players had extremely different styles, so [that’s] the idea of doing that same thing now: trying to flip things a little bit differently and to do a technology in a shoe that’s kind of for everyone. I think that really inspired us and pushed us.

I wanted to tie to the Weapon but I didn’t want to be super literal. What I love about the shoe is if you look at it, you’re like ’Oh, it’s a Weapon.’ So when you put it next to an original Weapon, no line really links up. No line is a direct copy. There’s some serious revising going on.

I think the other inspiration for the shoe: to do an extremely technical platform that was based on everything that we had all learned through all of our testing, and obviously the new cushioning technology, but a much more classical upper that was about crafting, about traditional shoemaking. I think the juxtaposition behind those two things really drove it.

Process-wise, we went through so many lab examples on this shoe. Easily tripled what I would typically do. You look at the original rendering and then all the original samples up to the production shoe, they’re almost just the same but yet we did triple the amount of samples because it was all about details, and we were really zooming in like ’How much foam do we want at the collar? Fifteen millimeters? Ten millimeters? Eight millimeters?’ Testing out different operations, different construction processes. That’s kind of the story behind the shoe.

Counter Kicks: Even though the Weapon Evo looks very much like the Weapon, they’re very different shoes. What are some of the aspects of the Weapon that you saw as opportunities to improve upon with the Evo ?

DiTullo: Obviously, the construction is completely different.

The original Weapon was a cup sole. It’s a pretty heavy shoe. Kobe wore original Weapon ‘86’s in a couple games, and he still plays fine. I think obviously we wanted to make a shoe that was much lighter, much more flexible.

We’re trying to take a lot of inspiration from the original line. If you look at the Weapon Evo, the way the outsole bumps up in the arch, the original kind of did that, or the little heel bumps, we just tried to take all of the original elements of the original Weapon and made them much more functional.

I think the other thing was we also very smartly tried to figure out what to keep. The original traction pattern on the original sample for the Evo just had a really traditional herringbone traction and I was looking at the original Weapon over in China and I saw it had this herringbone that’s broken and I was like ‘Let’s put that on and see if it tests different.’

We actually found that the original Weapon traction tests better because each herringbone was individual, as you came down and compressed it on the court it kind of moved with you a little bit and gave you a little extra traction and cushioning. Those little details.

The Evo is what we call ‘back part halted’ so that it gives you a really good ankle feel. Those kinds of technologies just didn’t even exist in 1986. Everything from simple back part molding, which is more normal today, to the hidden lacing that’s a lot quicker and allows you to really lock down the laces.

Counter Kicks: There’s a new cushioning technology – the Converse Balls Technology – that we’re seeing in the Weapon Evo. Can you talk about the development of this whole new system and what it means for on-court performance?

DiTullo: The Balls system is a combination of chemistry and geometry.

From a chemistry standpoint, you have a polyurethane, which gives you a lot of resilience. It’s very stable. In other words, it lasts over time. Initial out-of-the-box feel is very similar to after heavy wear but the addition of the spherical geometry really kind of changes the nature of the material.

A sphere is a very stable form. The more you compress a sphere, the more it wants to return to its original form. If you can imagine squishing down on a ball, at first there’s a lot of give because you’re not engaging a lot of material, you’re engaging the top and the bottom. As you compress it more and more, you’re engaging more and more material. So the more you push down, the more it wants to push back, and typically what you get is, you never bottom out. It always has a little extra give to it.

What this allowed us to do was to make a cushioning technology that is a lot lower profile than a lot of other cushioning technologies. A lot of other technologies give you softer ride at the expense of lifting you up off the court which causes all kind of things that are inverse to what you want. You don’t want to be away from the court, you want to feel the court. So by using this spherical geometry, along with the urethane chemistry, it allowed us to lower the whole ride down but still give you the cushioning that you want. It’s a pretty unique feel.

Counter Kicks: On one of the your Evo sketches from your website, you made note of the “flex notch” in the forefoot. In between that groove there’s a light, spongy material that you also find concentrated in the midfoot area where there’s no rubber or real reinforcement. Can you talk about that material – how that works with the division in the forefoot and the Balls Technology, and how it all works together as a cushioning system and as a flexing system?

DiTullo: Yeah, I’m glad you picked up on that.

Things like that are things that I totally nerd out on. I love doing these little things that are just really smart and clever but don’t actually cost the consumer any more money because they’re kind of intrinsically part of the exterior. We’re gonna put rubber and foam in the shoe anyway but if we could smartly do that rubber and foam, we could provide a better in-tune experience just simply by how we do the same ingredients.

I wanted to do something where we just eliminated the rubber in that zone altogether, and basically it uses the midsole like a hinge. When you put pressure on the toe of the shoe, the whole shoe actually bends in that area, where a lot of other shoes can be really stiff. What that allows you to do is to be a lot more explosive on the court, stay on your toes more. It’s just a lot more responsive to your actions.

You’ll notice in the arch, there’s no rubber there, and through all of our pressure and wear tests, we discovered that the foot doesn’t put any pressure on the ground in that zone, as well it shouldn’t, so you’re not really gaining any traction by having rubber there.

A lot of shoes are kind of sculpted in that area anyway so the rubber is lifted up off the ground. But we discovered if we just cut the rubber out of that area altogether, we could save some weight. I mean, it’s fractions and ounces but we’re trying to do everything we can to help the experience of that shoe, looking at the little things that we had in new ways and questioning the ways we do things.

Counter Kicks: Another detail is the bulleted word “Feel” in the heel of the shoe. Is there a backstory to that detail?

DiTullo: That’s just kind of an internal mantra that we’ve been saying a lot through the whole year that led up to the Evo and that it was all about the feel of the shoe. There’s nothing on that shoe that doesn’t do something. All of us were just frankly kind of sick of all the bells and whistles and little gizmos that don’t really do anything for the consumers. For us it was all about, ’if you can’t feel it, don’t put it on there.’ That little logo on the heel of the shoe is something I’d done up in the last round of samples, kind of inspired by Braille and this tongue-in-cheek, internal, ‘feel’ thing.

Counter Kicks: Did you have any apprehension about taking such an iconic design in the Weapon and retooling it for a new shoe?

DiTullo: You know, that’s a great question. I didn’t have any doubts because I just knew it was right.
I think this goes to something you learn as a designer as you get a little bit older. I’ve been doing this for like 12 years now and I think at first you want to remake everything. You’re like ’Oh man, I want ’em to be like rocket ships and blah blah blah blah.’

As you get older and you get more experience, you start to realize that there are certain hidden rules, like little hidden pieces of visual DNA. You see it all the time around you. When you see an Aston Martin, they’re not revolutionary looking, they’re very traditional sports cars but they’re just right. But if you took that same shape and jammed it onto a Cavalier chassis, it would be so wrong.

think as you get older, you start to get that sophisticated eye. You realize it’s really the little things that matter, and there’s certain things that are kind of in our collective unconsciousness as a culture that make certain things just stick. I really believe that kids want basketball shoes. When I was a kid, I wanted basketball shoes, you know? I think kids still want that but I think basketball brands kind of stopped making those shoes. Basketball brands have moved on to making these space ships.

Kids are still buying basketball shoes but they’re getting them from retro re-releases because those are the kind of basketball kicks that we all want to wear. So, I wanted to make something that was right for the court, that did everything that you would ever want it to do on the court but was right for who you are as a person – it worked on the court but it was aware of the culture at large and was relevant. It’s subtle stuff but it connects with people on a better level.

Counter Kicks: Could you give us a little bit of background about the Weapon and the impact it made when it first released?

Molly Carter: Given the fine gentlemen who wore them back in the 80s, it made a huge cultural impact if nothing else. So you always see us putting out the original Weapon because there is still such a strong market for that.

It did make a huge splash in the 80s as sneaker business was ramping up. They weren’t signature shoes but Magic and Larry did both wear those, and they became known as wearing those shoes even though lots of athletes did wear them. It was one of those cultural things that has stuck, and that’s why we often reintroduce it and where the interest for creating the Weapon Evo came from.

DiTullo: I think for us it’s just a really important shoe in our archives. This is a hundred year old brand. We have so many shoes in our archives. On my desk is a huge stack of every type of every Converse basketball catalog going back to the sixties and the Weapon always stands out in that.

You’ll see some more releases from us in the future but one thing that’s interesting is if you buy a Weapon ’86 off the shelf today and compare it from just a shoe that’s just called the Weapon from two years ago and put them next to each other, you’ll notice a lot of subtle differences. I think it just shows the attention to detail that we’re paying to our own archive here at the company.

We actually bought an original 1986 vintage Weapon off the market and brought it back to the office and compared it to what we were making. We were like ’You know what? We can do better. We can get closer to the original.’ I think the ’86 that’s on the market today is a much-loved shoe, every radius of that shoe has been really studied. For our company, it’s important to take care of our history.

Well that's it for Part 1 of the interview, check back later today for Part 2!  Thanks for checking out the Blog and remember to follow along on Twitter @TheConverseBlog

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

'S Weapon EVO

Converse's Weapon EVO is live and ready for you...what are you waiting for? Go ahead choose your Weapon and get out there and play basketball like your life depended on it.

Below is the press release from Converse and a picture of the White/Black/Red colorway of the Weapon. However, for more pictures and even videos you need to take your internet loving self over here.

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.--(Business Wire)--
Converse today announced the launch of the Weapon Evo, an all-new, court-ready,
basketball shoe evolved from the original Weapon, which was worn by superstars
during the game's "Golden Age." The Weapon Evo will be branded with the iconic
Star Chevron logo, which will now be the primary logo on all Converse basketball

"The Star Chevron logo represents a defining time in basketball history," said
Geoff Cottrill, Chief Marketing Officer. "This logo first appeared on footwear
when players changed basketball by bringing their unique style to the sport.
Converse still stands for that today and we celebrate those who create positive
change and challenge the status quo." 

The shoe's design is inspired from the original Weapon. It features an ankle
support Y-bar and the original "broken Herringbone" traction pattern that allows
increased grip. The iconic Weapon toe and heel overlays, along with bold color
blockings, give the shoe a retro look for off-court appeal. 

The Weapon Evo also debuts Converse Balls Technology, an all-new cushioning
system in the shoe's heel that provides excellent impact protection. The heel of
the shoe has several polyurethane balls that rebound and push back when
compressed during play. The cushioning system creates unique, low profile
support that reacts to the athlete's foot as it responds to the demands of the
game. The balls are enclosed in a clear TPU cage to provide stability and
attractive visible technology. The Evo also features a perforated leather upper
for enhanced breathability, fit and feel and an additional lateral support
overlay to help contain splay during hard cuts. 

The Weapon Evo brings Converse's independent attitude to players, both pro and
pick-up - with Converse Balls Technology and a refreshed design that brings
Converse heritage to today's game. Converse introduced the Weapon Evo to
musicians this summer at the first-ever Band of Ballers tournament. Jim Jones,
Asher Roth, Pac Div, Matt and Kim and others laced up the Weapon Evo and squared
off on the court in gritty 3-on-3 contents where Jim Jones walked away a
champion. Content from the event is posted online in webisodes on 

The Weapon Evo hit stores with two premium colorways that pay homage to the
original Weapon, worn by two of basketball's greatest on-court rivals. The
premium colorways retail for MSRP $90 and are available now at select Finish
Line stores, and The Weapon Evo will continue to
roll out in nine team colorways for MSRP $80 at nationwide sports specialty
retailers in September. Two additional in-line colorways roll out for MSRP $80
at nationwide sports specialty retailers in October 2009. The Weapon Evo is also
available on 

I'm going to be in Pigeon Forge, TN the rest of the way that would be a great place for Converse there may or may not be a Friday Flashback this week.  You'll just have to come back and check it out for yourself.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Converse Blog: Nike names Michael Spillane new Converse CEO!

BEAVERTON, Ore.--(Business Wire)--
NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) today announced that Jack Boys will retire as CEO of
Converse and company executive Michael Spillane has been named his successor.
Boys and Spillane will transition their roles through the end of the year. 

"With Jack`s leadership, Converse has experienced exceptional brand growth and
financial performance. His contribution to Converse`s success has helped make
the brand what it is today. Under his guidance, Converse just posted its most
profitable first quarter to date - demonstrating the power and potential of the
Converse brand," said Eunan McLaughlin, President NIKE, Inc. Affiliates. 

"We are very excited to have Michael in the CEO role. He has worked closely with
Jack for the past two years developing Converse`s growth strategy," said
McLaughlin. "Their leadership, passion and deep understanding of the Converse
consumer has uniquely positioned Converse for continued global growth." 

As CEO of Converse, Spillane will report directly to McLaughlin. Spillane brings
25 years of hands-on financial, textile and apparel experience to Converse. He
joined Converse in 2007 as President of North American Footwear. In less than a
year, he was asked to lead growth around the apparel business, as President,
North America and Global Product. Previously Spillane held CEO positions at
Polartec and Malden Mills as well as senior positions at Tommy Hilfiger and

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

'S Weapon Wednesday: Alando Tucker PE Weapon EVO

Welcome to the Converse Blog's Weapon Wednesday!  Today I'm giving some love to one of the NBA players wearing Converse this year, Alando Tucker of the Phoenix Suns.  Here he is pictured in two different colorways of the Weapon EVO, a black/purple/orange and then a white/orange/purple for media day.

I just love the way that the Suns color combo pops on sneakers, and they work perfect with the Weapon EVO. 

That's all we've got today, thanks for checking out the Converse Blog! Follow along on twitter! @TheConverseBlog

Monday, October 5, 2009

Converse Outsider Boot!!!

Sooooo....If you haven't noticed, it's getting colder. That's because the tilt of the Earth is in such a way that the Suns' rays are hitting on the southern hemisphere more than the northern hemisphere. I know this because I just got finished teaching 100ish 6th graders about the seasons in my Geography class.

It also means that with colder weather you might need some more weather appropriate footwear. Converse has decided to help us out this year with a boot. If you don't know, Converse actually started as a rubber shoe company making boots...but since people didn't really buy rubber boots in the hot spring/summer months. So they decided to make shoes using canvas, which was warm weather friendly.

The Converse Outsider boot is available in Brown and Black.  I've decided to show you the brown colorway, the black colorway is in a monochrome black.  You can purchase the Tan Outsider here at

Well that's it for today, look for some coverage on the Weapon EVO shortly.  Don't forget to follow along on twitter @TheConverseBlog.  Right now I've got 149 Followers and I'd really like to have it up to 200 ASAP!  Come peoples help a Blogger out!  Thanks for checking out the blog!!