Last year Nike debuted its React cushioning foam in the React Hyperdunk 2017, a basketball sneaker that lived mostly under the radar before its incorporation into Virgil Abloh's Off-White "The Ten" collaboration. The new material later hit a running silhouette in 2018 with the Epic React Flyknit and more recently in what many consider to be the sneaker of the year, the React Element 87. The brand's new technology has been a rival to Adidas' Boost and has been hailed as one of the more impressive new advancements as of late, but the folks over at the Swoosh were not the first to use the name React.
To compete with Reebok's Pump, Nike's Air, and the technology of the other leading basketball companies of the 90s, Converse used a liquid-filled tech called React Juice in attempt to go head-to-head with other on-court performance models. Found in the heel and ankle of sneakers in small containers called ''bladders,'' React Juice was a way for Converse to pivot from their heritage models and get ahead of the competition with innovative tech. It was famously featured in former NBA standout Larry Johnson's Aero Jam Hi.
However, React Juice tech was short lived for a variety of reasons. Highsnobiety's recent retrospective of the technology explains how the brand's failure to innovate and the poor quality of the sneaker's construction led to the shoe leaking on the court and almost injuring Chris Webber of the Washington Bullets during practice.
Find out more about the history behind Converse's React Juice at Highsnobiety.