Now my love affair with boots has been documented on this site already (click here), and while I do have a distinct appreciation for them, when it comes to winter and the practicality of wearing flats becomes null and void I turn specifically to…sneakers. I LOVE sneakers…trainers…runners…whatever you care to call them…they and I have had a long term relationship that almost culminated in my wearing them to prom. (Disclaimer: almost, a dear friend of mine at the time probably would have murdered me if I would have shown up in them) Alas, I never got to wear the sequinned Converse to prom with my cranberry cocktail dress…but I now do take the opportunity to wear them whenever I possibly can.
Normally the occasion to wear sneakers is fairly universal, but I always seem to revert back to my collection when the weather turns colder and the streets a tad messy. As opposed to wrecking my flats, I turn to my leather hi-tops that could go through the wars (and sometimes the wash) and still turn out looking essentially the same. I would like to point out that when worn with jeans, a rather thick pair of wool socks can also be worn within the hi-tops to allow for extra warmth. (Or you can go with a flannel or lined pair if you’re in the market for some funky Chucks)
Now sneakers in general is a fairly broad category, and while my love is far-reaching the specific focus of my affections will forever be the Converse All-Stars…otherwise known as the Chuck Taylors. I’m preferential to the high-tops in odd colours and patterns, but that doesn’t mean that my plain black leather low-tops don’t have a special place in my heart. The first true time a pair of Chucks stole my heart was in the Spring of 2005, when I first walked into a place that should otherwise be known as heaven for Converse fiends: Baggins Shoes in Victoria BC. Walls lined with those black and brown cardboard boxes…all shapes, sizes, and styles of Converse, Vans, and the occasional Puma…as a girl who loved sneakers, this was my dream store. My first (and most prized) purchase was a pair of magenta and teal velour Chucks with teal satin lining and magenta stitched laces. Now for those of you who seem to be under the impression that these are tacky, I promise you they are not…they are in fact boldly fabulous.
After nearly 6 years, Baggins still remains the only place I will buy my Converse from. They literally stock nearly any style of Converse you can dream up from nearly every single one of their lines. Now you might be wondering how on earth I manage to still increase my constant desire for Chucks when my source is in Victoria? Well my friends…welcome to the magic of the interwebs. With a very basic and incredibly easy to use and navigate website, Baggins makes its home at www.bagginsshoes.com. Here you can browse what I’ve been led to believe is the vast majority of their inventory in a simple online setting. Choose your style (Converse, Vans, hi-tops, low-tops, etc.) and start scrolling. The pictures are all clear, and very true to colour. Inventory levels are up-to-date…so all you need to know is your size. Speaking of sizing, a word of caution (that is re-iterated frequently on the site) all of the sizing for the Chucks is in Men’s sizing. That means ladies…take your numerical North American sizing and subtract two (ie. I wear an 8-8.5 and I take a Men’s 6).
Prices are really no different from what you would be paying in-store for any of these, just add a nominal charge for shipping and handling. I ordered my last pair (the rather boring black monochrome leather ones that I’ve managed to squeeze through our work dress-code) on a Sunday and they arrived on my doorstep on Thursday morning with the mail delivery. Canadian shipping was $10 (which is an absolute steal considering it cost me $25 to courier a letter to BC the other day) bringing the total cost of my shoes to about $95 + PST.
The customer service is also incredibly excellent. A few years ago I was attempting to track down a limited edition pair of hi-tops from the Spring collection (that were apparently sold-out everywhere) and somehow the magical shoe fairies at Baggins managed to go digging through their collection to find the pair I was looking for. They’ve also been incredibly helpful in giving descriptions of the shoes over the phone, and always offering their honest opinions when comparing the styles (when solicited of course). I really have never been more impressed with the combination of an in-store experience, online retail setting, and customer service anywhere else. They’re also everywhere…Facebook…Twitter…YouTube…which means that they’re readily accessible and willing to engage.
Now I’ve littered a few of my current kooky favourites that are available online right now…and will leave you with one from the upcoming DC Comics collection (available February 15th…for those of you who are interested). But in all sincere honesty, make sure to check out Baggins Shoes either the next time you’re in Victoria…or the next time you need to kicks fix online.