Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 as a week-long observance of the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Ronald Reagan expanded the week to a 30-day period in 1988, and today we celebrate the greats like Cesar Chavez, Sonia Sotomayor, and Jennifer Lopez every year from September 15 to October 15.
In similar fashion, the Converse Puro Platano will be available online through October 15, 2018.
Polanco Jr. drew inspiration for the custom Chucks by representing the Dominican Republic “in a way that hasn’t been seen in the sneaker industry,” he writes. “No, seriously, Google ‘Dominican sneakers’ and the results are quite redundant. With that said, I was excited to cook something up (literally) for the culture.”
Going deeper than the colors of the Dominican flag, Polanco Jr. sought to communicate the essential culture and people of the Dominican Republic. As a member of sneaker-industry royalty (having worked with Nike, Vans, and Adidas in the past, to name a few), Polanco Jr. began with a design that wasn’t “too intimidating to wear” and “had something special beyond what Converse already offers.”
The result is a shoe we’d be damn proud to stunt.
The green upper represents the platano, or plantain, in its purest form. “Growing up, there was always a bowl of platanos sitting as the centerpiece to our dinner table,” Polanco Jr. says. The Converse patch and eyelets are done in gold, representing the cooked platano “in the form of popular Dominican dishes — tostones (fried version) and mangu (similar to mashed potatoes, but with platanos),” he writes.
The sole bears the Dominican flag colors of red, blue, and white, while the liner is a rich brown camouflage pattern to embody the range of skin tones found within Hispanic culture. “Even though colorism is a very real problem, Hispanic Heritage Month serves as a time to think about how beautiful we all are when we come together as one,” Polanco Jr. says.
Wearers can customize the white heel strip with a personal message of power. Polanco Jr. suggests “de lo mio,” similar to the English phrases “my bro” but more directly translates to “one of my own,” or “que lo qu,” which means “what’s up” or “what’s good.” And unlike your Fourth of July-ready, American flag-printed shoes, the Puro Platanos ($75) remain stylish year-round.
For a little more information on Dominican culture, learn all about the country’s best drink: mamajuana.