Shoe Check: Converse Jack Purcell

By: Anne Vickman

In 1935 Canadian badminton pro John “Jack” Purcell helped design the first court shoe for B. F.Goodrich (who originally produced the iconic PF Flyers), two years after he was named the world champion of the sport. Converse bought trademark rights in the ’70s, and the kicks have been the cornerstone of athletic gear and street fashion ever since. Recently the North Andover–based company, who opened a Newbury Street shop this fall, decided to give Jack Purcell’s classic design a modern-day makeover.

The original Jack Purcell

And the changes are certainly for the better. Enter the Evo: The overall profile is sleeker, and the foot bed has an ergonomic shape that forms to the foot, with a lightweight foam layer underneath (something old Chucks and Purcells definitely don’t have). Extra rubber on the sides and a shank in the middle of the shoe increase its durability and reinforce its structure, and the use of a plaid-patterned overlay of Nike Flywire (tensile fibers that provide support and movement) makes for quite the modern picture, indeed. So mod, in fact, that the shoe has been spotted on the feet of Harvard’s tennis team (with its crimson, white, and black color scheme, natch). The rest of us will be able to find the sneaks in-store next Thursday, March 3.

$110, Converse, 348 Newbury St., 617-424-5400,