You’ve heard the name. You’ve seen the shoes. But, who exactly was Jack Purcell? And, what did he have to do with sneakers?
John Edward “Jack” Purcell was born on December 24, 1903 and became a world champion badminton player from Guelph, Ontario. Purcell took up the sport in 1924 after excelling in both tennis and golf. He became the Canadian National Badminton Champion in 1929 and 1930 and was eventually declared the world champion in 1933. He remained unbeaten until his retirement in 1945. Despite never appearing in the Olympics, Purcell was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1973. He’s also a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Following his badminton career, Purcell joined the Toronto Stock Exchange as a stockbroker. He passed away at the age of 87 on June 10, 1991.
While still dominating the badminton court, Purcell designed a canvas and rubber sneaker for the B.F. Goodrich Company of Canada in 1935 specifically for the sport. The shoe was designed to provideadditional protection and support while on badminton courts. In the 1970s, Converse acquired the trademark rights to the Jack Purcell sneakers, which remain a popular and favorite sneaker. While it bears a striking resemblance to the Converse All-Star, the Jack Purcell shoe has a unique blue sole and an unmistakable “Smile” on the front. Today, this iconic shoe has been upgraded with a heavier cap toe and a reinvented logo on the rear.
Since this is a legend amongst shoes, it deserves respect by being taken out on the streets. And, if you’re looking for some suggestions, we’ll be more than happy to oblige. Here our are six favorite Jack Purcell shoes.
Jack Purcell Low Profile Slip
These cotton shoe are the perfect footwear during the warmer months of the year. Available in Indigo or Barberry at Converse for $75.
Jack Purcell Leather
If you’re a fan of leather, than these shoes are a must-buy. You can snag a pair right here.
Converse First String 1970s Jack Purcell “Boro”
For something different, you might enjoy this collaboration with Dr. Romanelli for sneakers that used an age-old Japanese technique of recycling cloth to create a new material. You can pick them up at SOTO.
Jack Purcell Duck Boot
We absolutely dig how that piece of leather on the ankle was placed against canvas. Furthermore, we also like the fall colorways of Navy, Brown or Grape Leaf. You can grab any of these Duck Boots at Converse for $85.
Jack Purcell ‘Midnight Lake’
Converse offers the Jack Purcell in a wide range of colors, but we’re hooked on the Midnight Lake colorway. It’s vibrant, yet easy on the eyes. If you’re not feeling the Blue, then check out what other colors are offered at the company’s online store.
Jack Purcell X Hudson Bay
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