The star power of Converse's star logo faded considerably in the late 80s and 90s, as the likes of Nike, Adidas and Reebok took over much of the NBA market. Kids today probably associate the brand - now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nike - with Chuck Taylors, which never go out of style. But Converse continues to produce high-end basketball shoes designed for performance as well as style.
The first thing I noticed about my tester pair of DEFCONs is their weight... more specifically, the surprising lack thereof. They're very light, feeling more like running shoes than high-top basketball kicks. High-tech materials are a big reason why. Much of the DEFCON's upper is composed of a light but tough foam material. The foam is fairly rigid - which makes for a nice feeling of support around the ankles - but flexible enough to adjust to the shape of the wearer's foot.
The foam portion of the upper is also vented to allow for air flow.
The sole contains Converse's signature "Balls" technology - a series of urethane spheres in the heel - that provide energy return when jumping and landing and help to keep the foot stable when landing.
Fit and Feel
The foam upper also created a somewhat awkward feel when stopping and starting. The somewhat-rigid foam extends from the top and back of the shoes all the way forward to the lace holes; it is flexible, but not nearly as flexible as the human ankle joint. When I extended my foot or flexed at the toe, I could feel my heel pulling away from the sole. That gave the shoes a sort-of "ski boot" feel at times.
There's a good chance that both problems would be resolved with a little breaking in.
Another option combines the black upper with accent colors in the sole, the lace eyes, and on the Converse logo. The latter version is being worn this season by guard Lou Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers.