Don#039;t chuck out your old Taylors

by Beacon Staff • April 1, 2009

There's no question that Emerson students know how to express themselves, and the latest trend for the masses is customized kicks. Whether designed online on converse.com or by use to the point where the shoes are only barely functional, students are finding ways to make their shoes their own.

Derek Anderson, a freshman print journalism major, received his customized Converse as a birthday gift. Anderson picked out his Chuck Taylors online, primarily black with a blue rubber stripe around the front, a green tongue, and an abstract green, yellow and blue pattern on the inside.

"I like putting my own style into my shoes. Customizing a pair of Converse has even more possibilities," he said.

Anderson is a longtime devotee of the brand, owning another pair of rather disheveled black low tops. When asked why he keeps the pair of dirty shoes, he explains that it's just another form of expression through Converse sneakers.

"The more worn they are, the more they're a part of you," he said. "It's not as much what they look like, it's what you do with them on."

Freshman Wynn Harrison, a broadcast journalism major, has a less successful Converse customizing story. She went on to the Converse Web site where there are many opportunities to create a pair of shoes.Thinking she selected completely original options that fit her personality, Harrison was dismayed when she saw her supposedly unique sneakers in the window of a shoe store for $30, as opposed to the $65 she spent customizing them.

"I ended up paying more to customize a pair of the plain black shoes that they sell in stores." Harrison said.

Still, Harrison takes the mistake in stride.

"Converse brand is meant to say something about the wearer," she said. "Artists get paint on their shoes, athletes have grass stains on them. You see where each person has been, and customizing them just takes that up another level."

Corey Jernberg, a visual and media arts major boasts four pairs of the sneakers to his current collection, but is more interested in the philosophy behind the shoes.

"Converses can be either really classic and rock n' roll or flashy and hip hop but the image just evokes a love of music," he said. "Music is my number one thing, and it seems like Converse was adopted by the music culture and now they go hand in hand."

Jernberg customizes his shoes himself, and is less concerned with the fact that they're an emerging trend and more that his shoes reflect him personally.

"I do simple things like keeping the Converse tag on them or putting in different types of laces," he said. "A lot of people say they're getting too popular and that makes them lose their individuality, but the personalization keeps every single pair unique."

bKickin' it in a collection of custom shoes/b

If you've seen a kid around campus with consistently unusual and fresh shoes, there's a good chance it was marketing communication major Derrick Cheung.

"I have 22 pairs of shoes," he said. However, he looks at more than just flashy colors when he selects a pair for his collection.

"I look at the brand. I'm not a brand whore, but I'm definitely loyal to Nike SB, which is Nike's skateboarding shoe," he said. Cheung also said he likes having shoes that he won't see around on a lot of other feet. "I like Quick Strikes, which are shoes that aren't released for very long, like a limited edition," he said.

He also explained he likes shoes on "higher tiers," meaning the particular shoe is not available in all stores.

"There was this one shoe called a Nike SB Lobster that was only available in Boston for a limited time. The store got about 200 pairs, and people camped out for two days at $200 a pair," he said.

But Cheung said he is about more than the logistics of his footwear.

"The shoe's gotta be hot," he said. "If it's got bright colors but they don't look good together, then that's not good. It needs to be a cool shoe or else I wouldn't get it."

Though very protective of his new kicks, he says he eventually gets into a groove of wearing a certain color or pair.

"The shoes are the first thing I pick out in an outfit," he said. "Everything else comes after."