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.
Pimping out your kicksSneaker pimps are in heaven on the store’s second floor where you can custom design your own sneaks. Choose from hundreds of graphics, which can be ink-jet printed onto the canvas and “baked.” Do you have what it takes to rock a pair of sneakers that say “Southie” on them? If that’s not enough of a commitment, echo the design on a T-shirt or bag, too. The process takes 30 minutes or so, but private hourly appointments are available for more lavish custom