Converse All-Star Cutbacks Leave Reader Shoeless And Sad

Gather ’round, Consumerists, for a tale of footwear-related woe that not even Zappos can fix. No. NOT EVEN ZAPPOS.

Jim has large feet. He wears 18 shoes, and a size 17.5 in Converse’s Chuck Taylor All-Stars, his footwear of choice. Yet he recently received some dismaying news from Converse. Here is his story.

I’ve been wearing Chuck Taylor All-Star high-tops for many years. For my two cents, it’s impossible to go wrong with classic canvas in basic black. I not only love the style, but the reasonable price, durability and comfort have kept me a customer for years. Year ’round, and into the ground…That’s how I roll.

Unfortunately, they do wear out eventually. But that means I get to buy a new pair, and there’s nothing wrong with that. At least, not until recently.

See, beyond the usual reasons people wear “Chucks,” I enjoy additional benefits. First, I’m a drummer, and the flexible, low-profile soles help me stay connected to my bass drum pedal in ways other shoes are too clunky to allow. But another, more important reason is: They’ve always come in my size. And finding shoes in my size has never been a small feat for me, being as I don’t HAVE “small feat” either. I wear a Men’s U.S. size 18. And, given the “wear the size that’s one-half size smaller than yours” formula that’s been in place for as long as I can remember, that’s always meant that I could put on the 17.5’s right in the store, and I knew they’d fit like a glove the first time, every time.

But I recently went to to order my next pair, and when I tried the “shop by size” option…The black hi-top Chucks I’ve always worn weren’t there. No problem, I thought. I’m sure they’re just out of stock at the moment. I can probably get a few more weeks out of the ones I have. But in the intervening months, repeated visits to Zappos have revealed nothing. Occasionally I’ve seen them in other colors, and sometimes I’ve seen the low-tops…but not the black hi-tops I’ve always worn.

So, I figured I’d try your site. I navigated to the “Buy” section, and started picking out options. But when it came to sizing, I noticed that the U.S. size options now top out at 16.5…A full size too small.

Suffice it to say, if you’ve discontinued the largest size, I’m going to be pretty heartbroken. I mean, yeah…I’ll find other shoes, I guess. It’s not like I’ll go barefoot, certainly. But It’ll be a pretty major “end of era” for me. Plus, I’ll have to re-learn a lot of my bass drum technique. And I’m getting to be the proverbial “old dog” that new tricks are becoming increasingly tough to teach to.

Please, please let me know you’re still making my size…? And if not, I guess I’d like to know that, too. The sooner I get the bad news, the sooner I can start working my way through the traditional stages of grief, and the sooner I’ll arrive at “acceptance.” I’d hate to find another shoe, but to paraphrase another old saw: “If the shoe DOESN’T fit, I CAN’T wear it.”

Thanks for your time. I look forward to hearing from you, and hopefully, remaining a customer.

Someone at Converse wrote back the very next day, with some bad news, but also a helpful suggestion.

Subject: RE: Product question

Thank you for being such a loyal Converse customer! We appreciate that! However unfortunately we do not carry the size 18 or 17.5 Converse any longer. We do have a customized shoe section on the website but you are only allowed to customize up to a size 17. We realize how much of an inconvenience this is to you and we sincerely apologize for that. We can offer a suggestion, we have a retail locator on our website. If you go there and click to see all Converse Outlet stores, you will be able to see all the phone numbers to these stores. You can try to contact any of the Converse Outlet stores and if they still carry these shoes in your size you can place an order for them over the phone. They will mail the shoes out to you. We hope this helps. Again we apologize for all the inconvenience this may have caused you. Thank you and have a great day!

Thank You,
Customer Service

At least the answer wasn’t “sorry, pal, no more shoes for you.” Still, as I write this blog post wearing size 5 pink low-top Chucks, my heart aches for him.

What would you do if you were Jim? Would you just seek out another brand of shoes and try to move on somehow? Would you call every outlet store in the country and build a massive sneaker stockpile? Would you hope that eBay will provide in the future? Jim welcomes any other suggestions.

(Photo: Kyle T. Ramirez)

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