I collected my friends’ old Converse to see if I could bring them back to life


New (old) shoes, who dis? 

Converse are true classics. They’ve been around forever and they suit basically everyone’s style. I remember proudly bringing my first pair of black hi-top All Stars home from a back to school shopping trip with Mum only to have my dad remark that he, too, used to wear “gym boots” (as they were once nicknamed) to school. 

Not only is the style timeless and versatile, but they’re durable sneakers that have a lot of life in them. So, naturally, everyone has at least one pair of well-loved Chucks in their cupboard. 

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To test that theory, the Fashion Journal team were asked to dig through their closets and produce their beaten up Chucks to see if they could be revived at Converse’s new repair and customisation space, Renew Labs Fitzroy

As part of Converse’s ongoing mission to be more sustainable, Renew Labs Fitzroy is encouraging customers to repair rather than replace by offering a range of cleaning, mending and upcycling services that will have your old shoes looking as good as new. 

From heels and laces that had been serving as their dogs’ chew-toys to pairs that had been worn to death on photoshoot sets, the FJ team’s sorry bunch of shoes had definitely seen better days.

Some repairs were easier than others, with a few pairs looking squeaky clean after a good scrub and a fresh pair of laces, while others needed a drastic makeover. 

Renew Labs Fitzroy has two tiers of cleaning services on offer. There’s a quick clean that takes about ten minutes and costs a mere $10 and a deep clean which will set you back $25 and gives you time to wander up Smith Street while you’re waiting. 

Renew Labs Fitzroy also replace laces and eyelets and mend cracked soles, ‘talking shoes’ (when the sole is separating from the rest of the shoe) and heel tabs. You can also get your shoes customised with patches, embroidery, and a dye-job using planet-friendly plant-based dyes. 

Depending on what you’re after, the customisation process takes between five and 15 minutes, making it a pretty quick in-and-out experience.

Renew Labs Fitzroy also disposes of old shoes that are beyond repair, ensuring they are recycled into products such as gym flooring through TreadLightly’s national recycling initiative, rather than spending the next 1000 or so years sitting in landfill. Thankfully, none of our shoes were that far gone. 

Once the Renew Labs Fitzroy team were done reviving our shoe collection, we got the whole Fashion Journal team down to check out the results and let me tell you, everyone was impressed.

Our Accounts Manager Ella Taverner’s yellow hi-tops looked much happier after being fitted with new black eyelets and matching laces and a few smiley face patches. 

Our Editorial Assistant, Izzy Wight, also got some cute patches, adding a splash of colour to her white All Stars with some slices of watermelon and a couple of strawberries. 

FJ’s Digital Editor, Cait Emma Burke, was treated to a custom dye-job for her formerly-white Cons, which are now a sleek, subtle indigo hue. 

As well as walking out with a brand new-looking pair of shoes each, Izzy’s partner nabbed himself some actual brand new shoes after spotting a neat pair from Converse’s sustainable Renew line, which can also be found onsite. 

One of the most recent additions to the Renew line, the Chuck 70 Knit style he picked up are made from recycled materials in an innovative, reimagining of one of Converse’s classic styles. Basically, they’re both new and old. 

So, next time you’re eyeing off a new pair of sneakers knowing full well that you’ve got a bunch of perfectly fine (if not a little worn out) shoes in your closet already, consider giving them a second life instead of buying brand new. 

Not only is it a better choice for the planet and your wallet, but you’ll end up with a pair of one-of-a-kind shoes that will feel much more special than something you simply grabbed off a shelf. 

Find out more about Converse Renew Labs Fitzroy here.

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