Converse was the first great sneaker brand in the basketball universe. The precursor to Air Jordan himself, Dr. J, once flew around arenas in giant Converse kicks. But the heart and soul (and sole) of Converse begins even before those early Dr. J’s, with the low-tech, high-quality canvas Chuck Taylor All-Stars. These days Converse is an afterthought on the basketball court, not even trying to compete on performance. But for fashion, the brand still delivers a wallop of sense and sensibility.
Nothing speaks to Converse’s hip and simple best like its beloved Jack Purcell line–and the new “Jack Purcell Split Tongue” featuring a two-toned tongue is probably the perfect gift for any fashion-conscious person. You absolutely can’t go wrong here. Purcell, a stylish man who went from badminton to stock brokering, designed the shoe himself for many years. Converse bought the name in the 1970s. Note of interest: Purcell, a world champion badminton player from Canada during the Jazz Age, had at least the athlete bona fides; Chuck Taylor was a Converse salesman–hence the Chuck Taylor brand.