Jack Purcell | 80 Years Later a Legend Evolves.


It began with a smile.

More even than the man himself, the Jack Purcell line is best represented by a smile. Not everyone can recall that Jack Purcell was a Canadian badminton player, but we can guarantee that most people can recognize that subtle black “smile” that’s stamped on the front of his signature sneakers. And now nearly eight decades after Jack first took to the court in those white plimsolls, Converse is taking the brand to new heights thanks to that smile.

Converse has transformed that upturned line into a logo, stamping it proudly on a tee alongside their straightforward, unflappable message, “Smile.” That t-shirt is just the start of the brand’s newly formed apparel collection, which includes a polo (again with an all-over print smile motif that is almost reminiscent of waves), a lightweight blazer, and a unique barn jacket/blazer mash-up. Of course, the sneakers are still the most extensive part of the collection, adding a premium edge to the iconic silhouette, most notably on an indigo colored pair that features the wavy smile pattern.


This more thorough offering, much like the shoes themselves, is understated yet eccentric. The basic designs are simple, but it’s the details – the two tone colorways, the patch pockets, the comfortable fabrics, that set these pieces apart. Overall the new collection has been infused with the same quirky sensibility that made Purcell’s legendary to begin with. This is the type of evolution that makes sense. Keep the originals, add in classics with a twist and don’t stray too far from what made you great. We venture a guess that Jack would certainly approve. We do. -JG





Detail shoe photos via Gentry.

Comments on “Jack Purcell | 80 Years Later a Legend Evolves.

    Peter on April 14, 2014 5:13 PM:

    Nonsense. Nike has just cheapened the brand. Exhibit 1 is the stamped on “smile.” They couldn’t even find the extra 3 cents to do it the original layered way.

    clothingmadeinusablog on April 14, 2014 10:21 PM:

    Agreed. I am not happy to see an old brand come back unless it is at least as good as the original. They are capitalizing on a hard-earned brand name and this is what they give us.It has the Pucrell name on a two dollar shoe. -Jack Ackerman

    Robert on April 15, 2014 12:46 AM:

    Agree with two earlier comments. Just sad.

    Marc on April 15, 2014 8:36 AM:

    ACL is a top notch site, and (some) paid editorial is to be expected, as long as the product is still great, and appropriate disclosure is made. Jack Purcell sneakers are a classic, and deserve to be vaunted as so. But the clothing line? I mean look at it…and let’s be honest, it looks like something from Walmart. Sorry to whinge. Just think ACL is above this sort of thing.

    Ray Hull on April 15, 2014 3:23 PM:

    My last pair–bought in the late 60s as I recall, were kept around well into the early 80s as Gerry Slope Coat down-parka beaters in the clothes drier; they were that substantial and withstood the heat of the drier. And come to think of it, a fine pair of All-American iconic clothes they were.

    These latest “Purcells” are shadows of their former self in scale and comfort and aren’t worth the effort.

    Gary on April 16, 2014 7:29 AM:

    Unfortunately I have to agree with the nay-sayers in the comments. A Jack Purcell sneaker isn’t half the shoe it was even a few years ago. Gone is everything that made it distinctive and high-quality–the metal shoelace caps, the embroidered tongue, the finish on the tongue, the indented smile, and more. I won’t buy another pair until the sneaker returns to its former glory. And yes, those clothes are just ridiculous.

    IN JEST on April 16, 2014 2:20 PM:

    Looks like the changes bombed with the senior citizens, maybe they need to go back to the drawing board in order to get the 1960’s customer back.

    Gary on April 16, 2014 4:38 PM:

    LOL! As the kids say. Who you calling a senior citizen, there, IN JEST?

    tomiskinky on April 17, 2014 9:27 AM:

    Agree, my last pair are battered – but can’t stand this cheap mockery of a once great shoe. NOS will be the only option from now on.

    Scott Fisher on April 17, 2014 10:48 AM:

    It doesn’t work very well to have an iconic American brand like Converse produced by the lowest bidder somewhere in Asia. How about the novel idea of producing the shoe in the United States to the high level of quality of the original? I agree with Gary in that I won’t buy another pair either for me or my family until the sneaker quality is improved dramatically. He’s also right that the clothes look ridonkulous! The term pennywise and pound foolish really applies to that knucklehead management team.

    IN JEST on April 17, 2014 4:52 PM:

    Gary, I am just having fun. I actually love hearing stories from people who have been following these brands for a while. It is one of the cool things about the comment section of this blog that I like the most. All the best!!!

    A on April 20, 2014 12:03 PM:

    So very, very sad. A legend evolves into garbage.

Comments are closed.