Rick Owens' distorted Converse shoes prove punk is never out of style


Just last week, Converse announced a lineup of upcoming collaborators, featuring Off-White, Telfar, and Chinatown Market — but Rick Owens was not on the list. Nevertheless, the brand is confident it’ll supply a sneaker for everyone, whether that be the classic Chuck 70 or its high-fashion update. Owens debuted his original take on the sneaker during his Fall 2021 show in Venice, reworking the Chuck 70 through his DRKSHDW line.

While the collaboration is a surprise, it’s not the first time Owens has designed a high top. He’s long shown appreciation for Converse’s classic sneaker style, having previously designed his own interpretation of the Chuck Taylor All Star for SS14. Known as the DRKSHDW Ramones sneaker, the past design looks a lot plainer than Owens’ new work with Converse.

Punk isn’t a phase, mom, it’s a lifestyle — Despite telling WWD that he was “never a sneaker person,” Owens admitted punk rock and The Ramones in Chuck Taylors turned him on to the category, as evident by his past design named after the band. "When I think of Converse, I think of the black and white Chuck Taylors and the punk rock generation. These have always been iconic pillars of my aesthetic," the designer said in Nike’s press release. "Wearing Chuck Taylors, you align yourself with a generation that was experimental. There is a confident dynamic to the subculture."

Converse x Rick Owens

That said, Owens’ take on the Chuck 70 is the first time the silhouette has been given a square-toe construction. To elongate the distorted shape, the designer added an extended tongue to the sneaker, literally inching us closer to the punk knee-high Converse of the early 2010s. With more Chuck 70 iterations expected from Owens, we might just see their resurgence.

"I've been referencing [Converse] for years, so when they suggested a collaboration, it seemed like a good, natural thing to do," the designer told WWD. Now, the sneakers officially align Owens’ name with the iconic sneaker brand, with Converse and DRKSHDW branding on the tongue tag. The all-black style will remain part of the DRKSHDW line, with a lily-white version dropping soon. More designs are also expected to surface in 2021.

Converse x Rick Owens

Subscribe to the sneaker — The collaborative sneaker, which is officially called the Rick Owens DRKSHDW x Converse TURBODRK Chuck 70, is unisex, and will be priced around $170 once it drops. Since the style is bound to sell out quickly, dedicated shoppers can stay updated via the Converse x DRKSHDW website, or text DRKSHDW to 75140 for a chance to be one of the first to access the collection. We hope it isn’t too long before we see more of Owen’s distorted designs come out of the shadows.