Before Jordan: How the Converse Fastbreak Changed the Game
Before Nike dominated the courts, Converse was the go-to basketball shoe brand back in the day. While we all know that the Chuck Taylor was traditionally a sneaker reserved for shooting hoops, there was another Converse style that stole the show (or we guess, courts).
Made popular by Michael Jordan himself, pre-Nike and pre-Air Jordan, the Converse Fastbreak was introduced in 1983 as a lightweight and flexible option to other shoes out there. His Airness wore it as a college ball player for North Carolina, making it all the way to the NCAA Championships in 1984. He then wore it again when USA beat Spain in the ‘84 Olympic gold medal game.
Earlier this year, that exact game-worn signed pair of Fastbreaks fetched a whopping $190,373 USD, setting a new world record for game-worn shoes from any sport. While, surprisingly, it wasn’t a pair of Jordans, it definitely solidified the Fastbreak as a coveted shoe and a part of sneaker history.
The original run of the shoe featured a foam-backed nylon and leather upper, which helped make the shoe much lighter than others on the market at the time. Basketball shoes started off with canvas, then moved into leather and suede makeups. Nylon simply wasn’t used - even though it seems like a no-brainer now as a perfect lightweight material. Back then, nylon was reserved for running shoes, so Converse really helped stepped up the game for speedy players. With a recognisable mid-top silhouette and eye-catching Converse branding on the side panels, the shoe was a trailblazer.
Following the record breaking auction for Jordan’s pair, Converse re-issued the sneaker and put it back into production. The new and updated iteration features Nike’s Lunarlon insole for even more comfort. It re-released in a trio of OG colour ways, riding the wave of vintage-looking shoe styles that were super trendy this year.
Well, the Fastbreaks reached full circle in a Jordan Brand pack released back in June. And now, the kicks are finally receiving its much-deserved spotlight. Check out the CLOT x Converse Fastbreak Mid release here.
Words / Helena Yeung