I got me some new shoes. Now some might say that I have enough shoes, but these I needed.
Brand new Blackspot sneakers.
As you can see, they're like the old Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, but I really appreciate the differences. When I started wearing Chucks (some time in the early 80's) they were a symbol of counterculture cool - punks and skaters wore them. The Ramones, and later Kurt Cobain and Green Day wore them. (That Nirvana show at The Commodore with Mudhoney was one of the best shows ever.) Then, in the mid-90's, Nike bought Converse. They shipped manufacturing overseas (can you say sweatshop?) and replaced the two-ply canvas with some kind of one-ply "textile." So now Chucks make money for Nike? Not from me.
Enter Adbusters magazine. Always looking for new ways to spread their subvertising in new ways, they decided to become shoe manufacturers and compete with Nike for cool. They win. All the information about the shoes and the factories make for fascinating reading, but suffice it to say that they are 100% organic hemp with biodegradable natural rubber soles and made in a safe, environmentally friendly union factory. Take that Nike! And they're designed by John Fluevog so they look and feel extra sweet.
As you might expect from a bunch of writers, philosophers, and graphic designers with no shoe experience (beyond wearing them), there have been a couple glitches with distribution of online orders (thanks again Sharon, for fixing everything superfast!), but there are more and more retailers everywhere. Motherland on Main Street, for example, and there's a place just a couple blocks away from me now too. Also, be warned that these are European made so the conversion to North American sizing may be a bit wobbly. I wear a Size 13, for example, which is usually a 47 in European sizes. My size 13 Blackspot, however, is a 46. If you're ordering online, I'd think about ordering a half-size bigger than you usually wear or try them out in a store if you can. Maybe if Dave and Donna read this they'll tell me how they fit since I'm sure they both have smaller feet than I do...