¡Mi Gente!: A Converse collection rooted in Latine soul

Converse supports Latine Heritage Month with a new sneaker and apparel collection.


With Latine Heritage Month in full swing, Converse’s “¡Mi Gente!” sneaker and apparel collection celebrates the vibrant spirits and rich traditions of Latin American culture.

The streetwear brand holds a significant presence in sports, especially basketball, notably worn by NBA legends Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Since the company’s establishment in 1908, countless athletes have signed with the brand, including Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green.

The ¡Mi Gente! capsule collection launched in September 2020 behind passionate designers eager to highlight their heritage by using Converse sneakers as their canvas, according to the company.

The initial batch of the lineup included festive versions of Converse’s classic Chuck 70 and Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers, three of which took on the representation of Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The other two championed a customizable approach designed by Latine artists Ruth Mora and Joseph Perez (aka Sentrock).

“Created for and by the community,” a Converse statement wrote, “[the collection] aims to honor the stories that represent the diversity, duality and vibrancy of [Latine] Heritage, in their home countries, the United States and beyond.”

From the 2020 selection, the Puerto Rico high top sneaker stands out as my top pick. The shoe presents a clean and chic white style that took inspiration from skirts worn by Puerto Rican Bomba dancers while also subtly incorporating colors of the Puerto Rican flag.

This year, the ¡Mi Gente! Mis Raíces collection, which translates to “My People, My Roots,” takes on another aspect of Latin American culture and draws inspiration “from cultural symbols to pay tribute to the roots that help us grow.”

The lineup in the newest release contains five designs of the Chuck Taylor All-Star high tops (four of which are customizable), a One Star Pro skate shoe and two short-sleeved T-shirts. All are meant to “pay homage to the strength, optimism and resilience deep-rooted in Latino families.”

Focusing on nature’s healing properties, the “Mi Gente” high tops in 2023 embrace prints such as the chamomile flower, butterflies and protective frogs. Each shoe comes with a unique outsole, an embroidered tongue and a lacekeeper with text “sana sana,” translating to “healthy healthy” in English.

In addition to the footwear and clothing display, Converse is also investing in Latine organizations that evoke inspiration via music, art or community involvement. 

Organizations located in Boston and Los Angeles — such as Chica Project, ZUMIX, Hyde Square Task Force and Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory — have received more than  $1.7 million from the footwear company since 2015.

As Latine Heritage Month unfolds, Converse’s ¡Mi Gente! Collection will continue to celebrate and uplift the Latin American spirit through its uniquely crafted sneakers and apparel. Beyond mere fashion, the collection turns classics into vibrant canvases, providing Latine communities a unique channel to express cultural pride.

James Bao is a sophomore writing about the ties between sports, fashion and athletes’ identities in his column, “Fashion Focus,” which runs every other Friday.

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