Converse’s New Combat-Style Kicks Cost $150, But They’re Still Cheaper Than Enlisting

Ah, Chuck Taylors: You know Converse’s venerable go-to footwear. Once a basketball-court staple, they’ve long since become the province of … Continued

Converse’s New Combat-Style Kicks Cost $150, But They’re Still Cheaper Than Enlisting

Ah, Chuck Taylors: You know Converse’s venerable go-to footwear. Once a basketball-court staple, they’ve long since become the province of hipsters, those angsty adolescents (and men in their 30s) who curse the corporate machine as they watch beard-grooming videos and do squats in skinny jeans to stretch out the inseam.

But Converse may be eyeballing a new cohort of consumers who I’ll call “vetsters” — a growing demographic of military veterans who dig the whiskey-from-a-mason-jar-drink’n chill of those hipsters, but can’t part with their cargo pants and combat boots.

Is that you? Then you’ll love the sorta mil-spec but still trendy Chuck 70 Utility Hiker in olive drab:

Screenshot via Nike

Converse’s New Combat-Style Kicks Cost $150, But They’re Still Cheaper Than Enlisting

This new $150 pair of kicks was engineered for durability and, of course, tacticool style by the Massachusetts-based Nike subsidiary — which, as Military.com points out, made footwear for combat troops during World War II. According to the company website, the shoes come with bonded Gore-Tex seams for waterproofing; elastic material so they fit comfortably; military-inspired “textiles” for durability; a high-top fit so they’re more boot than sneaker; and reflective panels for visibility — because after forking over a bill-and-a-half, you’ll want people to look.

Related: Urban Outfitters Rolls Out Central Issue Facility Fall Catalog »

Though while these may look like combat boots, sprinting along a trail or stepping gingerly over rugged terrain wasn’t what they were made for.

The shoes are part of a new “Urban Utility Collection” that also includes a men’s Gore-Tex jacket, yours for only (cough) $400:

Screenshot via Nike

Converse’s New Combat-Style Kicks Cost $150, But They’re Still Cheaper Than Enlisting

If you prefer olive drab over woodland or desert MARPAT, maybe that kind of scratch sounds like a deal, I guess. For everyone else: Try a pawn shop or surplus store near the base.

While sure to ruffle some lifers’ feathers, the military look, is hardly a new development in the fashion industry, this year or in any other. Earlier in 2017, Urban Outfitters launched its own take on the buffalo jacket — a go-to winter coat for troops — for its Central Issue Facility Fall catalog; Marine Dress Blue-inspired jackets have also made their way onto the racks at Banana Republic. And this is hardly the first time that a Nike brand has unveiled a mil-themed set of kicks. Just search “combat boot” on the company website and you’ll see what I mean.

Screenshot via Nike

Converse’s New Combat-Style Kicks Cost $150, But They’re Still Cheaper Than Enlisting

Whatever you think about big brands leveraging military service to boost the bottom line, “almost a combat boot” isn’t the same as being a combat boot. There are some things a big brand can’t mimic — like that tangy aroma of foot cheese and medicated Gold Bond powder that wafts out of a pair of well-worn and moon-dust caked mil-issued boots.

That said, $150 is a lot cheaper than a four-year enlistment.

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James Clark

James Clarkis the Deputy Editor of Task & Purpose and a Marine veteran. He oversees daily editorial operations, edits articles, and supports reporters so they can continue to write the impactful stories that matter to our audience. In terms of writing, James provides a mix of pop culture commentary and in-depth analysis of issues facing the military and veterans community. Contact the author here.

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