Ah, Chuck Taylors: You know Converse’s venerable go-to footwear. Once a basketball-court staple, they’ve long since become the province of hipsters, those angsty adolescents (and men in their 30s) who curse the corporate machine as they watch beard-grooming videos and do squats in skinny jeans to stretch out the inseam.
But Converse may be eyeballing a new cohort of consumers who I’ll call “vetsters” — a growing demographic of military veterans who dig the whiskey-from-a-mason-jar-drink’n chill of those hipsters, but can’t part with their cargo pants and combat boots.
This new $150 pair of kicks was engineered for durability and, of course, tacticool style by the Massachusetts-based Nike subsidiary — which, as Military.com points out, made footwear for combat troops during World War II. According to the company website, the shoes come with bonded Gore-Tex seams for waterproofing; elastic material so they fit comfortably; military-inspired “textiles” for durability; a high-top fit so they’re more boot than sneaker; and reflective panels for visibility — because after forking over a bill-and-a-half, you’ll want people to look.
Whatever you think about big brands leveraging military service to boost the bottom line, “almost a combat boot” isn’t the same as being a combat boot. There are some things a big brand can’t mimic — like that tangy aroma of foot cheese and medicated Gold Bond powder that wafts out of a pair of well-worn and moon-dust caked mil-issued boots.
That said, $150 is a lot cheaper than a four-year enlistment.
It's a familiar tale of service to American society far beyond the U.S. armed forces. A soldier encounters a traffic accident while traveling home and immediately rushes to aid a driver trapped in his vehicle and, after freeing him, saves his life with nothing more than a hoodie, a pen, and the training he received from his unit's medics. It's the stuff that Army recruiting commercials are made of.
Except there's one problem: It's most likely bullshit.
Why, oh why didn't you just kill Billy Russo when you had the chance, Frank?
That's the question I asked myself throughout the entirety of The Punisher's second season, which Task & Purpose had a chance to review ahead of the show's Jan. 18 release. Most of those 13 blood-soaked episodes would have been unnecessary if Jon Bernthal's titular character had just killed, instead of maimed, his one-time friend and brother in arms at the end of season one.
Fortunately for us, and less than fortunate for Frank and the villains he sets his sights on, he didn't, and that means we get another season of rip-roaring revenge. (Warning, there are mild spoilers ahead.)