Ray Polanco Jr

Dominican influencer pays homage to his cultural roots with new Converse sneaker

The new Puro Platano 2 Chuck Taylors are inspired by his Dominican upbringing

In 2018, Converse teamed up with sneaker aficionado and influencer Ray Polanco Jr. to debut a sneaker inspired by his Dominican Republic roots. And now, the company behind everyone’s favorite Chuck Taylor has tapped the social media expert for a second edition featuring a white high-top adorned with a collage of hand-drawn cultural images. His new creation, dubbed the Puro Platano 2, features images of his experiences growing up as a Dominican in the Bronx, New York as well as Converse’s backing for personalization.

Converse Puro Platano sneakers©raypolancojr
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Ray was inspired by his Dominican roots for the Puro Platano 2 sneaker

Proud of his latest sneaker release which is available on Converse.com on September 19 and in-stores at Converse SoHo NYC and Boston on September 20, the content creator took to social media to express his thoughts behind his latest design. “A cultural coloring book for your feet inspired by my experience growing up dominican in NYC,” he wrote. “I want the world to get to know us beyond flag colors, so I designed a visual story of pride.”

Ray who has a sneaker segment Fresh Stock on the Twitch sneaker show continued, “I left the hand-drawn images blank so YOU can collab with me. The reality is us LatinX come in all colors, so I want u to make these ur own.” As a nod to the Dominican flag, the sneakers have a white midsole with red foxing tape and a blue stripe in the middle.

Converse Puro Platano sneakers©raypolancojr
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His design features hand drawings of his experiences growing up as a Domincan in NYC

In a statement, Ray shared, “A lot of the shoe is inspired by family: my dad playing dominoes at the bodega with his friends, my mom wearing rolos in her hair after the beauty salon, and things like that.”

Ray also gave a shout out to his sister “who would cop Chucks in every color on Fordham Road in the Bronx back in the day. Beyond my story, I feel like anyone who grew up in NYC will connect with at least one thing on the shoe and hopefully other people in different cities can relate, too.”

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