Last week the internet was all aflutter regarding news that Converse would be updating its Chuck Taylor line for the first time in nearly 100 years. The reason given for the launch of this new All Star II model? To make Chucks more comfortable. Yes, after 98 years, the official shoe of people who don’t want you to know how much time and effort they put into their wardrobe is finally making comfort a factor.
I kid, of course. I, like many people, have been a fan of All Stars for a long time–even if they are the footwear equivalent of perfectly mussed hair. For me, though, this welcomed change comes a bit too late, as I’ve already found a new favorite flavor in the iconic canvas high-top.
Allow me to introduce you to Shoe Fury. The folks behind t-shirt-a-day site Tee Fury have been diversifying their product offerings for a while now, from shirts and poster prints to, more recently, a very well received line of leggings and skirts.
The Shoe Fury project first appeared in 2014, and has been slowly adding new design options ever since. As of this posting, there are currently 26 Shoe Fury products in styles from the obligatory high- and low-tops to ultra casual slip-ons, each boasting the sort of fandom-friendly graphics you’d expect from an outfit like Tee Fury–Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and Doctor Who, with multiple nods to things like comic books, gaming, and animation.
Priced between $69.99 and $79.99, these shoes are comparable to their Converse counterparts, but with one very notable exception. Shoe Fury’s not-so-secret weapon come compliments of Zipz Shoes, designers of what they brand as “interchangeable footwear.” These shoes feature a prominent zipper that joins the upper to the sole, meaning that the shoes can literally be zipped apart.
Tee Fury purchases Plain Jane product from Zipz, and then prints the preferred design directly onto the uppers. This assures that the graphic is properly placed regardless of size–and Shoe Fury offers a staggering array of sizes, from men’s 4 (women’s 6) all the way up to men’s 13.
The zipper itself provides integrated ventilation, as opposed to the Chuck Taylors’ traditional side “port holes,” and also allows the more fashion-conscious among us to literally swap out shoe designs, trading uppers while still holding onto only a single pair of soles. This means that buyers can save a chunk of change–Shoe Fury uppers are universally priced at $54.99–while uniquely and efficiently expanding our footwear collections.
Going into this product review I had a few concerns. The first (and chief among them) was sizing. I will buy a gas grill online. I will purchase a lawnmower sight unseen. Hell, I’ll buy most items of apparel via ye olde internets until the proverbial cows come home, but I’m slow to invest in shoes until I’m certain they will fit. The sizing disparities in contemporary footwear design are, in a word, ridiculous. I tend to wear anything from a 7 to an 8.5, depending on style and manufacturer.
I expressed this misgiving directly to Josh Bruni, Tee Fury’s president, and his team responded by sending me a couple of different size options. The funny thing is, they didn’t have to. Turns out I wear the exact same size in Shoe Fury product as I do in the gratuitously aforementioned Chuck Taylors–size 7.
In addition to being true-to-size, I also found Shoe Fury shoes to be perfectly comfortable. A nice medium-high arch support and a solid but springy sole have conspired to make these my new go-to kicks for everyday wear.
(Check out the images below for some comparison shots against other shoe sizes and brands, and definitely give the Zipz size chart a look. Because each shoe represents a custom, limited edition product, all sales are final!)
With that fear assuaged, I began to experiment with what I thought might be my next sticking point–I made a pun!–the zipper. Unzipping and reattaching shoe uppers remains, no matter how many times I do it, a strange experience, but I can confirm that the Zipz’s namesake has yet to stick on snag. A raised insole is included in each shoe that, while supplementing the overall comfort, nicely helps keep the zipper on track and prevent any snagging on your socks. I’d also like to point out that, while the sensation of having that dash of extra bulk on the outside of each shoe, meaning the zipper-pull itself, is a tad distracting at first, I acclimated rather quickly.
My final fear concerned the Shoe Fury designs themselves; would they truly be as vibrant as they’re presented on the site? The answer? Mostly.
While the online mockups are, perhaps, a bit more saturated overall, I was very happy with the print quality of my Shoe Fury samples. I was able to lay eyes (and hands… and… feet) on three distinct designs–“Bounty Hunter,” which eschews true black for a limited palette of blue, red, green, and yellow that makes for more eye-catching visuals; “Super Starry Night,” which comes through as a bit more subdued in real life, allowing the texture of the canvas to provide a little added depth; and my personal favorite, the “Kicks of Courage.” These offered the biggest difference between the online preview and the real-life product, but the more varied color gradients provided an almost weathered look that, at least to my eye, fit the design perfectly.
And there you have it, folks. The Shoe Fury line from the crew at Tee Fury scores high marks across the board. Boasting a solid blend of fashion and comfort, they’ve easily replaced my former favorite street shoes. The ever-expanding selection of stellar new designs virtually assures that I’ll be adding more Shoe Fury products to my collection–I’m looking at you, “Ecto Coolest” and “Eeveelution Problem“–and I can even take advantage of the less nerdy (but still gorgeous) uppers available directly from Zipz as well.
I own entirely too many t-shirts, and I’ll wager you do as well. Still, that geeky fashion mainstay certainly isn’t going anywhere–especially now, in the very heart of the summer convention season. But if you’re looking for a subtler, more distinctive, and easily more fun way to rep your fandom, then I definitely suggest giving Shoe Fury a try.
Review materials provided by: Tee Fury/Shoe Fury
Special thanks to John Stefani of Zipz Shoes and Tee Fury’s Josh Bruni for going out of their way to answer my numerous, ridiculous questions and provide me support for this post.