John Edward “Jack” Purcell (December 24, 1903 – June 10, 1991) was a Canadian world champion badminton player. Purcell was the Canadian National Badminton Champion in 1929 and 1930 and declared as world champion in 1933. He retired in 1945, and pursued a career as a stockbroker. Purcell designed an athletic shoe in 1935 for the B.F. Goodrich Company of Canada. The shoe was designed to provide more protection and support on the badminton courts. In the 70’s Converse bought the trademark rights of the Jack Purcell sneakers. The Jack Purcell shoe has an unique blue sole and an unmistakable “Smile” on the front. Today, this iconic shoe has been upgraded with a heavier cap toe and a reinvented logo on the rear.
The Vintage Showroom in London found a really nice and rare vintage JP pair from the ’40’s. These are a particularly nice US Navy example. The model is virtually the same as the classic Jack Purcell badminton shoe, but with a black rubber sole and trim. Great catch! The JP shoe is also my personal favourite sneaker.