28 August 2014

Ones That Got Away

I have an unfortunate tendency to stumble across items of clothing or footwear that I like that are no longer available in my size. Part of this is the result of not having mainstream tastes, and part is just bad timing.
These Converse sneakers are the latest example. They're part of the long-running Jack Purcell line, which reaches back to the 1930s and is one of the plainest, simplest, most classic and tasteful canvas sneakers you can buy (see also: the Vans Authentic). The "Jack" is not as well-known as its big brother the Chuck Taylor All-Star, but people who know shoes know that All-Stars are notoriously uncomfortable, and their thick rubber soles make them heavy on the feet. So for many people "Chucks" are a phase to be grown out of, and often the next step is a pair of Jack Purcells.

The standard Jack Purcell is made of canvas, but these are different: this model is part of what I suppose someone in Converse's marketing department would call an "elevated" line, rendering their classic styles in nicer materials and special colorways. This shoe is leather, and everything is monochromatic, including the "smile" on the rubber toe cap that is usually navy blue and the brand tag on the heel. These nicer models get a cork footbed, which is great for comfort. Also, Jack Purcells don't usually have gum soles, and I think they look great on this shoe.

The color is called "egret" but I call it off-white or cream; it's also available in "french roast" and navy, both with the off-white trim, but this is by far the best-looking. The standard Jack Purcell is offered in leather in white or black, but it lacks the pizazz of this version. Also, I just think off-white sneakers look better than bright white ones.

For weeks these have been taunting me from Converse's website, available only in men's size 7. Generally I'm glad I don't have small feet, but small sizes tend to sell in smaller numbers and it can be easier to find unusual shoe styles in such sizes. The 11.5 was available for a while, but I know how these fit and they would be too big for me. Recently scattered sizes have begun to reappear in the various colors; I don't think Converse is going to produce another full run of this shoe (which would be ideal), but just as of this morning the size 12 is again available, so I'm not giving up hope yet on finding a pair in my size.

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