I’ve been wearing Chucks since college and see no reason to stop now. I recently got a new pair and noticed two changes to the sneaker’s classic design. I suspect both changes were introduced a while ago and therefore may be old news to some of you, but I hadn’t bought a new pair of Chucks in about eight months, so these changes were new to me.
First, the tag on the back has been altered. Here’s a comparison — old tag on the left, new one on the right (click to enlarge; and yes, the photos in today’s entry show how everything in my house ends up with a light coating of cat hair):
Can’t say I’m in love with this change. Why bother to add “Converse”? Like, duh, of course it’s Converse — everyone knows “Allâ˜…Star” means “Converse Allâ˜…Star”! Now the tag’s proportions feel all wrong. Boooooo!
The second change is on the tongue, which now has one of those little “keeper” loops that you’re supposed to thread the laces through (click to enlarge):
I remember when I was a kid, I had a pair of cleats with this same type of keeper loop on the tongue. At the time, I thought it was super-cool — threading the laces through the loop felt very official and professional, like I was really gearing up right proper. I even made a point of looking at other kids’ cleats and felt all superior to them if they didn’t have the keeper loop. Amateurs.
I know lots of sneakers include the loop. But for a pair of Chucks, the loop feels unnecessary, and maybe even pretentious. What exactly is its function — to keep the tongue anchored in place so it won’t slide off to the side? Can’t say I’ve ever had that problem. To keep the laces in in place? Never had a problem with that either. Meanwhile, the loop disrupts the orderly visual flow of laces’ zigzag pattern (click to enlarge):
Fortunately, it’s easy to ignore the keeper and just lace up the sneakers the normal way, without bothering with the loop. That’s what I’ve been doing.
Phil has something like 30 pairs of Chucks, so I asked him about the back tag redesign (to my surprise, he hadn’t noticed, although he agrees that it’s a downgrade) and the loop (he usually doesn’t bother with it). Then he asked me a key question: “Do you lace your shoes with the bottom loop over or under the eyelets?”
My response: “They come out of the box over, and I’m fine with that. So they stay over until I break a lace, and then I do the replacement laces under, which I do not for aesthetics but because I find it easier to lace them that way. What about you?”
Phil: “Oh man, I always relace every pair. I usually buy (or dye) a pair of laces when I buy the shoes. Sometimes I’ll keep the white lace, but a lot of times I’ll go with a new color. I must have 30 new pair of white laces, all of which came from shoes whose laces I replaced with other colors. Anyway, the bottom lace ALWAYS goes over the eyelets (which, as you point out, is usually that way from the factory). But no matter what, I will relace them (even if it’s the same lace), ensuring the two sides are of identical length. I’ll even start all over if the laces are even a centimeter off at the end. Yeah, I have some OCD issues.”
And as long as we’re talking laces, here’s another thing: Chuck Taylor laces tend to develop black spots at the points where they pass through the eyelets. This isn’t too much of a problem if they stay perfectly in place, but if the laces shift a bit, or if you tighten them, your clean white laces are suddenly riddled with black marks. Grrrrr.
Someone out there is probably saying, “They’re not ‘eyelets’; they’re grommets.” Yes, I know. And the plastic tips at the ends are aglets.
Okay, that’s all the Chucks- and shoelace-related minutiae I can handle for one day. But I’m sure many of you have thoughts on all of this (Jen Hayden, I know you feel strongly about the over/under thing on the bottom loop!). The floor, dear readers, is yours.
Patch/stickers reminder: I’m once again well-stocked on Uni Watch 15th-anniversary patches, which you can order here. And I still have a small supply of 15th-anniversary stickers, although those are going fast. Ordering instrux for those can be found here.
Baseball News: Here’s something I missed from last week: Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud and bench coach Bob Geren are switching uni numbers, among other number changes. ”¦ Truly hideous camouflage jerseys for Central Michigan. ”¦ Tim Smith of the Perth Heat totally Gets Itâ„¢ when it comes to hosiery (from Richard Jurnack). ”¦ Remember the A’s great Oakland Oaks throwbacks from a few season’s ago? They were selling the stirrups from that uniform for just $10 a pair at their recent FanFest event (from Richard Paloma). ”¦ If the Senators hadn’t moved to Texas in 1972, they were apparently going to wear this uni design. There’s another example here. “What’s interesting is that there is no blue outline, the Wilson varsity typeface is used, and there’s a vertically arched NOB,” says Matt Malinoski. … Someone in the band Mastodon wore a Dodgers uni to the Grammys last nigt (from Wayne Koehler).
NFL News: Falcons fans reportedly want new jerseys, and who can blame them. ”¦ Former Bills LB Darryl Talley was at a Buffalo auto show on Saturday and was presented with a matte black Bills helmet by an autograph seeker (from Peter Andrzejewski). ”¦ I have no idea what’s going on with this white Steelers helmet, but it kinda makes me feel better about the NFL’s one-helmet rule (from Tris Wykes). … A “minor league” team called the Pacifica Islanders is going with black unis at home, grey on the road.
Hockey News: Pucks being sold at the Hockey City Classic over the weekend referred to the University of Michigan as “Michigan University” (from Jeffrey Sak). ”¦ Funny story about how NHL TV analysts wear their neckties (from Mark Coale). ”¦ Pink unis and pink ice for the Manchester Monarches (from Bobby Kaufman).
Basketball News: Here’s an interactive page that lets you create your own NBA Mt. Rushmore (thanks, Mike). … Interesting court design for Cal State Bakersfield: blue court, yellow apron, no paint in the key (from Jonathan Karberg). ”¦ Here’s a bizarre one: The men’s and women’s teams for St. Joseph’s College, a D3 school on Long Island, showed up for a doubleheader against Sage College on Saturday, but the men’s team somehow forgot their uniforms. So after the women’s team played, the men wore the women’s unis. ”¦ Here’s a closer look at Pitt’s BFBS uni from their color-vs.-color game against Syracuse on Saturday (photo from @mayorbd). ”¦ Lots of women’s teams wearing pink yesterday, including Vanderbilt, Arizona State, and Hofstra. ”¦ New uniforms apparently in the works tonight for Duke. ”¦ UMass and LaSalle went color-vs.color yesterday (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Here’s one of those soda case displays for Kentucky basketball. “I especially like the attention to detail to the black seams on the ball,” says Chris Edwards.
Soccer News: Looks like that New England Revolution leaked design that was circulating might be legit. ”¦ Meanwhile, here’s another MLS leak, this time for the Columbus Crew. ”¦ And yet another, for the Chicago Fire. ”¦ New red-striped secondary jersey for DC United (thanks, Phil).
Grab Bag: Big gripe from Delta Airlines’ non-employee contractors: The airline doesn’t give them weather-appropriate uniforms. ”¦ New uniform coveralls in the works for the U.S. Navy. ”¦ The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is considering a line of licensed products emblazoned with NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway logos. ”¦ Traffic cops in Pakistan are getting new grey uniforms because the old white ones were associated with corruption. ”¦ Shame on the school district in Sayreville, New Jersey, which is considering selling ads on the town’s school buses — a completely unacceptable proposal (from Don Silsby). ”¦ Interesting cross-sport promotion for PGA golfer Spencer Levin, who’s sponsored by Major League Baseball (Douglas Ford again). ”¦ Graham Clayton says the last Aussie rules footballer to wear glasses was this chap — Tony Southcombe, who played for Carlton in 1977. The glasses are interesting, but what I really like is that chest logo!