Converse Weapon Evo

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 Converse Weapon Evo, $80,

The company that fitted hardwood legends Dr. J, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird during basketball's Golden Era has reengineered its popular '86 edition to create the new Converse Weapon Evo.

From the restoration of the hallmark Converse logo, the classic Chevron & Star, to the broken herringbone traction pattern on the outsole, the Weapon Evo is a tip of the cap to the company's iconic status on the hardwood.

The Evo brings Converse's team-first concept to center court. "The beauty of the original Weapon is that it … [became] a team shoe," says the company's design director, Michael DiTullo. "We wanted to make the same thing with the new Weapon Evo. It's all about … helping you be the best athlete you can be."

New for '09 is Converse's Balls Technology, a low-profile support system in the heel that stabilizes the foot and offers better court feel, with what DiTullo calls "a great cushion ride." He says, "As you compress on a sphere, it actually starts to push back. It gives you great initial cushioning, and the more and more you come down, it will never bottom out. It wants to push back on you and give you a little energy return."

The 'Verse took a page from its earlier book to invent the Evo, but the company is also taking pieces and parts away from the shoe—literally. Rubber was removed to reduce weight in the midfoot, and a "cored out" flex groove allows for extra mobility in the forefoot.

The first launch of the Weapon Evo evoked the spirit of one of the NBA's most storied rivalries: Bird vs. Magic, Celtics vs. Lakers, a tale of two dynasties.
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