Monday, February 03, 2014

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star shoes Review Part 1

Nothing reminds me more of my ever evolving and regressing beliefs than my sense of fashion. Particular items can be "out" with extreme prejudice for months and suddenly be "in" like sliced bread at a moments notice. The reason is occasionally related to function, other times it feels like I've outgrown it, maybe it is health related, and once in an August moon, I just get the idea that it doesn't work for me.

This scenario has played out on numerous occasions over the past few years alone. Over this time frame, I've distanced myself from short-sleeved dress shirts, dark jeans, backpacks, messenger bags, blue jeans and blue tops, running shoes, and Chuck Taylors. Some are still in the "dumped" pile while others have made a hard and much loved return. The last item is my most recent turn around.

Chuck Taylor Shoes: The falling out
This is what they look like if you need a refresher: Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Shoes.

Converse All Stars in Red

Despite being a very popular shoe throughout most of my life, I didn't jump on the wagon until late in college. It happened accidentally on a shopping outing that involved Old Navy -- did I mention my first pair was not "real" Converse? That was the year I started exploring the world beyond t-shirts and khakis, my staple wardrobe for the decade or two prior. I found an olive pair of Chuck-like shoes at Old Navy for $25. It turned out to be one of my best purchases ever because I wore them into the ground over the next five years. Around the four year mark, I had to stop wearing them because my feet were killing me after short walks.

My first, "real" pair of Converse Chuck Taylors was after college when I could finally afford things with a job. What I wanted was a low-rise red pair, but the store only had the black pair in stock in my size. This one didn't get much of a life because they were ill-fitting from the start. Wearing them usually resulted in aching feet and toes -- aha -- and the lack of foot support in the soles started to get to me. Twas a shame, though, because they looked great. Think I put in a year of intermittent use before throwing them in a corner.

So, the Chuckies were "dumped" because of health reasons, initially. They remained dumped because I thought they looked a bit too casual and that I had gotten too old for them.

The return: bacteria, odorous, smellerific
Give or take a few years and I ran into an issue involving a shortage of shoes that weren't run down and didn't stink. That's what happens when you get too comfortable, give up a bit on life, and wear the same two pairs of shoes for three years in a row.

The plan was to get a new pair of Timberland winter boots, but a large financial "setback" put that out of reach. Instead, I decided to wear my old canvas boots that I wore the two winters past. Who would have guessed that a three year old pair of boots could smell so bad even when they were on? With the snow during the winter being a consistent few inches deep in places, running shoes weren't going to cut it, so I had to wear the boots.

To get around the problem, I decided to wear boots outside and swap them indoors with a new pair of hiking shoes I bought. Of course, that didn't work out because the shoes were so new that they still smelled like plastic off-gassing. My guess was that a few days worn outdoors in warm weather would fix them right up, but neither sun nor warmth was set to return for months -- damn it, winter. Time for the back-ups.

The second of the two pairs of shoes were so run down that I didn't feel like bringing it places, and all of my other back-ups were white running shoes, which were still on my "out" list. That left me with my black Converse shoes. It took but a few steps in them after years in storage to remind me why I didn't wear them anymore: painful feet and crushed toes. These, I found out a while ago, were the symptoms of shoes that were too small.

With the money "setback" still in my mind, I set out to buy the cheapest pair of shoes I could find. The solution turned out to be another set of Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Shoes. New hiking shoes had already been bought and needed only to be aired out, I still didn't really care for running shoes, dress shoes weren't really my thing either, so getting something cheap and slightly different felt like the right thing to do. One trip to the mall and $50 later, the deed was done.

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