Have you ever done that thing where you’ve imagined the perfect item of clothing and decided that you’re going to buy it before you know whether or not it actually exists? I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember, and often it ends in disappointment. The first time it happened was one of the rare occasions when it worked out in my favour, though. Regular readers of this blog and my books will know about my legendary first ever pair of Converse All Stars – the shoes that got me into shoes – a purple pair that I’d set my heart on before I’d ever seen a pair in real life. Thankfully for my parents, who had decided to buy them for my thirteenth birthday, they did exist and I’ve never looked back.
Last week, fantasy Converse came into play again when I saw that they were bringing back the Converse One Star sneakers. You might remember these from the ’90s when they were huge, their popularity due largely to a certain Mr Cobain being a fan. I never had a pair, and when I was researching my book En Brogue: The Trainers Guide last year, I really wished that I had got some back in 1994. Because how I would LOVE a yellow pair now, and knowing me, I would have kept them for over twenty years. I had to make do with painting them though, because believe me, I did a thorough search, and they really weren’t available to buy anywhere.
So imagine my excitement when I saw that a certain well-known trainers store was going to be stocking them! IN YELLOW! I enquired on their Instagram account whether they would be available in a size 4, and they didn’t reply…sure enough when I checked on the on sale date, they started at a size 7. NOTHING MAKES ME MORE CROSS! (Except when people refer to all lace-up shoes as brogues regardless of whether they featured brogue detailing or not. Again, regular readers will be familiar with this)
I was so disappointed. But a few days later I noticed them pop up on the Instagram feed of another store – Offspring – and this time when I asked about sizing they actually emailed me directly to send me the link to the yellow size 4s. Now THAT is customer service for you! I promptly ordered a pair and they arrived this week. LITERALLY THRILLED.
Even better, it turns out that these Converse One Stars are new and improved. The suede is called ‘hairy suede’, which basically means that it’s longer and more textured and looks really cool. Plus hidden inside the shoe is a Nike Lunerlon sole – anyone who has a pair of Converse All Star Chuck IIs will know all about this. Essentially, it just means that they are far more comfortable than your average pair of Converse. As with the Chuck IIs, the sole takes up a bit of space, so it’s worth trying them on to see if you want to go up a size. I wear my regular size but they are pretty snug.
The Hairy One Stars come in black, blue, red and yellow as well as camouflage, but that doesn’t come in the smaller sizes. I’d love to hear your memories of wearing Converse One Stars in the ’90s – leave your comments below! Now we just need to work on Converse to bring back the One Star pool slides…