Converse Steps-Up Quality, Keeps the Sole  

By Alex Johnson
amjohnson@lc.edu
 

I’ve been wearing Converse for ages. I wear them everywhere; to work, to the store, to trim the grass, to my wedding, everywhere. Converse is like a comfort blanket to me. I like the way they look, feel and I like that they only look and feel better the more you wear them out. That’s why I tend to wear Converse shoes to (and often past) the point of destruction. I also like that they never change, that they’re always just a slab of rubber with a canvas top; a fresh new pair feeling exactly like the old (minus the holes).

 That’s why I was so surprised to find, with my yearly All-Star low top order (this time in Electric Purple), that Converse has changed things up. It’s subtle, but it’s definitely there.  

My Converse shoes in varying states of decay, left to right is oldest to newest. The red pair were an anywhere and an everywhere shoe for just over a year.

First thing, the sizes are a little different. The pair I ordered were 12M/14F, the pair I had to exchange them for are 10M/12F. For reference, the pair I was replacing were 11.5M/13.5F but half sizes were not available in Electric Purple at the time I was ordering. Converse sizes have always been all over the place in my experience, so this isn’t that shocking.

 What is shocking is the new inner sole; it’s much softer and has a more pronounced arch. Don’t get me wrong, this does not feel at all like a traditional sneaker. The sole is still thin and flexible and the arch is very, very small. It feels like a Converse shoe, just a little softer. A little more comfortable. It’s like Converse figured out how to do an HD remake of a shoe.

 The lining of the shoes is also much softer and is no longer the same canvas as the outside.  The exact material is not listed (the label simply says “textile”), but it feels like a more traditional sneaker liner. Not only is it more comfortable, I expect it will breathe easier. It also feels like there might but just the slightest amount of padding between the outside canvas and the liner, but this could also just be the new, softer material.

 The best part about all these changes, I didn’t realize they had been made until I put the shoes on. These are the standard All-Star line of low tops, the same as the pair they are replacing. Side by side they look the same, other than the year of daily wear and tear, of course. But putting them on, well, it’s like putting on a new pair of shoes.

 

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