After more than a century, Malden-originated Converse is only now opening its first dedicated retail location. Where else? Boston! Newbury Street, to be precise — on the funky end near Mass. Ave., which is perfect placement for the student population that haunts the area.
Walking through the door, shoppers might be a little surprised to see no footwear. Instead, the shop — formerly G-Star (high-end denim) and before that Allston Beat, which also sold Converse — presents stylish, casual separates: slinky raincoats with sneaker-style rivet detailing and sleek, asymmetric hoodies for girls; subtle check shirts and wool three-quarter coats for men; T-shirts that name-check Boston neighborhoods as well as top-of-the-line jeans for all.
Because most shoppers visit for sneakers, not clothes, the second floor houses the Converse main event: There’s Chuck Taylor All-Stars, a design that dates back to the 1930s; Jack Purcells, another classic at around 78 years old; the One Star, introduced in the mid-1970s (not the budget One Star sold only at Target); the new high-performance Evo; the Star Chevron; a Euro-centric slim collection; and the John Varvatos designs with a “rock” edge.
Among the bare-brick wall is a rogues’ gallery of hipsters wearing Converse, which features a black-and-white portrait of James Dean in his Jack Purcells, looking utterly contemporary.