Samuel Ross interview and release information

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Converse gave us a glimpse into the future of sneakers and they are chunky, laceless and lightweight.

Ever since the shoe was first teased by collaborator A-COLD-WALL* on Instagram in June last year, the Aeon Active CX has piqued our interest due to its unorthodox design. It only takes a quick glance to see that this is a shoe that breaks convention in favor of a space-age aesthetic. A layered material upper is a nod to Converse’s performance shoe archives, but that’s where the nostalgia ends.

This shoe may not fit neatly into the American brand’s line of iconic sneakers, but Converse was all about breaking new ground. A-COLD-WALL* Founder and Creative Director Samuel Ross tells us that “change comes from disruption”, something Converse knows all too well. When the Chuck Taylor became the very first celebrity-endorsed athletic shoe in 1922, it didn’t fit the mold and the Aeon Active CX doesn’t try to fit in either.

The shoe is the latest in a series of collaborations between the two that began with the rugged Chuck Taylor All-Star Lugged in 2020. Two years after that release, the British label is collaborating again on an all-new silhouette that embodies their vision. luxury sportswear more strongly than ever. Created with Converse’s CX comfort technology, a toolkit of innovative materials first introduced in 2020, this shoe not only looks futuristic, but has the technology to back it up.

The Aeon Active’s bulky sole features CX foam underfoot and Crater foam in its midsole to provide maximum cushioning. These combine to create what the brand claims to be its most responsive and lightweight foam to date. The EVA foam midsole expands under the wearer’s feet so that each step generates concentrated energy in the center of the shoe.

Aeon Active CX

Converse has been a staple in footwear for over 100 years, and in partnership with Samuel Ross, it’s clear the company is aiming to create a new generation of sneaker designs.

We spoke with the A-COLD-WALL* founder via email to discuss his latest shoe design with Converse, which saw its second colorway release via the Highsnobiety store. Throughout our conversation, we talked about the future of sneakers, its relationship with Converse, and its innovative approach to collaboration.

You’ve worked with Converse before, how has that relationship developed since your first outing in 2020?

Our common products have become much more radical. A focus on technology, form and design leadership remains central to our momentum. We balance the boundaries of cutting-edge design while deepening our focus on function.

Converse has a long history in sneaker design, but this shoe feels like a departure from its past. Was there a lot of conversation about its future design language during its development?

The legacy product is going nowhere, although the change comes from the disruption and prioritization of creativity. It’s not one route or another, heritage and innovation work in tandem – in fact, they stress each track’s strongest ligaments.

When you released the Chuck Taylor All-Star Lugged with Converse, you told us it “supports this idea of ​​less consumption.” Does the same idea apply to this sneaker? How?

It’s a principle rooted in good design and good technology and I believe it’s segmented into two silos. One is durability, portability and cost – how often can the product be used in a 24 hour cycle? How does the product fit into modern life? And how do we reach those who understand the history of design and know that we are designing for the future? Emotional and artistic understanding coupled with technical academic understanding – the future is a pairing of the two disciplines.

The second is innovation, thought leadership, and expression: what does the product do to steer clear of trends? What technology justifies its creation? And how does the product integrate art with design? Within our studios we focus on the most fashion conscious early adopters, thought leaders and viewers, they tend to be those who appreciate good industrial design. A good design equals a longer service life, which supports the principle of less consumption.

After talking about how the shoe brings a new era to Converse, how does the shoe fit into the world you created with A-COLD-WALL* and its future?

It immediately fits the aesthetic, but the main thing is the intriguing part: the rules of engagement and the whole work. Great products should be widely used and that’s part of our aesthetic, Converse as a technology partner allows that aesthetic to meet technology and democratic luxury on a consistent basis when considering the footwear category.

I feel like your collaborations never take the easy or obvious route and that’s what makes them so exciting. How do you approach working with an employee?

I think about the moment in time we have now to define the future. I think about that a lot. It means respecting the grand design of the past and understanding the level of development and radical opinion required to make an impact. It goes far beyond an atmosphere and it is not taken lightly. It’s a constant tension between service-based design and thought leadership, the kind of leadership that impacts centuries of design.

As A-COLD-WALL* has grown, there has been an increasing focus on footwear, both internally and through collaborations. Is your process different when creating shoes versus clothing? Does it come more naturally to you?

Our view of clothing design is system design, it’s industrial design. Since the onset of COVID, this idea of ​​the 24-hour wardrobe has grown, meaning appropriate uniforms, layering systems and materials for an assured, stable and resilient individual. Some of these materials are related to recreation, light sporting activities and training, while others are related to travel and weather response through clothing – protection, durability and strength. Our clothes are for people who enjoy leisure and momentum, both of which are linked to exploration. We are people who like to solve problems, do difficult things, or envision moving forward.

Tablets, we use these four words in our studio: luxury sportswear and industrial design. These are the two foundations of our clothes and shoes that define the silhouette and the types of clothes.

That’s a really big question, but what do you think are the three big developments we’ll see in the future of sneaker design?

Sustainable materials, living materials and orthopedic technology.

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