Worried Shoes: Unreleased Daniel Johnston Converse All-Stars

[UPDATE: read Part 2 – featuring images of low-top model]
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Daniel Johnston converse shoe all star logo

So, I finally created a Flickr account for Monster Fresh.  I have a backlog of concert photography and extra shots that never even make it on to the site.  Since I’m new to the Flickr game, I decided to knock around the site to see exactly what it had to offer and what else I could find in the photo sets of other users.  I typed “Daniel Johnston” into a search and was surprised to find a photo pop up that was titled, “Extremely Rare Daniel Johnston Converse“.  I knew about the, somewhat tentative, plans for the collaboration, but I never knew if I would actually see the final product come to fruition.

Last April, I sat down for a conversation with Daniel Johnston while he was in Seattle.  If  you read the transcript for the interview that we posted, you may remember Daniel mentioning that Converse had been in talks with him about the shoes.  First, he was mentioning that he was asked to do some drawings for the Iron Man movie poster, but that he doubted that they would actally end up using them.  After that, he referred to his involvement with Converse by saying, “And then, on top of that, they designed a shoe-“, “...they want me to design a shoe with my drawings in it“, and “What will they think of next?”  Over the last year, I had wondered if the shoes would ever surface and, apparently, they hadn’t until the following images were posted on to a man named Danny Crombie‘s Flickr account.  Unfortunately, at this point, these are the only pair that we know of in existence.

Daniel Johnston converse shoe inner foot

Daniel Johnston converse shoe outter side

Daniel Johnston converse shoe zoon Joe the boxer

You’ll notice that the shoes are indeed printed with Daniel‘s artwork and feature the most classic and recognizable characters from his drawings and music.  Everything from Jeremiah the innocent [frog], Joe the boxer, the Yip/Jump baby, and the “Fly Eye” from the Continued Story album, are all represented on these kicks.

Daniel Johnston converse shoe side heel

Daniel‘s signature is located on the back towards the heel.

Daniel Johnston converse shoe zoom eye

Daniel Johnston converse shoe tongue

Both Johnston‘s signature and Jeremiah the Innocent are sewn into a tag on the tongue.

Daniel Johnston converse shoe inside

The inside of the lining of the canvas Chuck Taylors feature’s the lyrics from the song “Worried Shoes“.

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Underneath his Flickr images, Crombie explains, “These images appear to be the only in existence on the internet, there are no articles apart from a brief mention on Daniel’s Wikipedia page.

I found these in a shop in Perth, Australia and they look like the coolest pair of shoes ever made, they don’t fit me though!

I left a comment for him letting him know that Daniel had mentioned them to me in the interview and that I had been curious about if I was ever going to actually see them.  He responded by saying, “They’re beautiful eh? I found them through total mistake, I don’t know if they even make these as they’re a sample. I was a bit bummed out because they weren’t in my size!

I told him that I was going to email Dick Johnston, Daniel‘s brother/manager, and offered to get back to him if and when I found out what the deal was with his shoes.  I sent the email to Dick stating, “I was wondering what the situation was with them and if, for some reason, Converse never released them.

The next day I received the following response:

Yes, they paid Daniel for the deal, but then the project was dropped when executives canned it – they just weren’t familiar with Daniel according to our contact at Converse. There may have been a few made if someone bought a pair, as we saw artwork, etc., but it was never given distribution.

We actually have other offers from other shoe makers that if I just follow up on them, we’ll probably get a deal. There will be a bio-pic movie of Daniel in a few years, and if nothing else, at that point we’ll probably see something.

Later!

Clearly, someone from Converse took an interest in Daniel and thought that it would be a great idea to produce the shoe.  We agree that it was, however, let’s not forget that Nike purchased Converse back in 2003 and, by definition, a corporation is all about making money.  They clearly didn’t see the appeal or value in producing them but, much like when there was a bidding war over Johnston‘s music during his days in the mental ward, I believe that Dick is probably right about his feelings that more offers will be pouring in once Daniel proves that he may be marketable on a larger scale.

I sent the information that I learned to Dan Crombie and he graciously allowed us to post his images of the finished shoes here on the site.  We thank him for that and have provided the links to his Flickr account and website at the bottom of the post.  Please do not contact him about any interest in purchasing these prototypes.  HE DOES NOT WANT TO SELL THEM!

I wanted to clarify what Dick had stated in his email.  I was surprised that Converse had never even shown him or Daniel the finished product before.  Here’s what he told me:

We were given lots of “blank” shoe samples, and digital photos of the pieces – including the inside and outside fabric.

He also provided us with the exclusive digital pieces mentioned (below).

converse.d.j.tongue.label

The Tongue

converse.d.j.lyrics

The “Worried Shoes” Lyrics in Daniel’s handwriting

converse.d.j.lining.print2

Lining Print

converse.d.j.lining.print

An alternate lining print

converse.d.j.footbed.label

Footbed Label

converse.d.j.footbed

Footbed featuring “Joe the Boxer” and “Vile Corrupt”

converse.d.j.upperprint

Upper print

We strongly encourage you to visit the following links:
HiHowAreyou.com (official Daniel Johnston website)
YipEyeTunes.com (Daniel’s official digital download site)
RejectedUnknown.com (official Daniel Johnston website)
D.G.Crombie’s Flickr account
Danny Crombie’s website (check out his Kurt Cobain signature Converse too!  Too bad the royalties are being smoked up in Courtey Love’s crack stem)

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/soulbutterfly/ Gina Kohman

    I can’t believe the Converse would not produce these…

    SO MANY new to Dan young people who buy them, just because the design, etc os cool….

  • Jon Leisher

    i would buy these. they are amazing! i really want them to produce these.

  • Tom Harte

    I’d buy 20 pairs, in the hope of being able to wear exclusively them until I die.

  • http://monsterfresh.com Dead C

    I actually saw a low-top version in a slightly different color on ebay about a week ago. There must be a few pairs floating around the globe, but you’re really gonna have to track them down like Carmen San Deigo if you want to get your hands on them.

  • http://peterpanalbum.webcindario.com/ peter

    amazing!!!! design
    it´s a pane that a few pairs are floating around the globe.
    I hope get just one

  • Clint

    I’m not usually into shoes, but these are really cool! We love you always, Daniel!! Peace

  • adriana bacon

    these shoes are so cool! wish I had a pair.

  • Pat

    I just found and bought 2 pairs of these in Italy for $30.00 US/ea
    They are around…not really “rare” just distributed sparatically I take it as they weren’t mass produced by slave children.

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  • The Seventh Sign

    Converse needs to do these shoes. Daniel is a genius and needs to be recognized as such. How about a whole line of trouble musicians shoes? There is another musician named Wesley Willis, who was very mentally ill, but also a genius. He played a casio keyboard better than any other 350 pound mentally ill man I have ever seen. He also did amazing drawings. And I know that Kurt Cobain drew a little bit. Im sure you could find alot of these sorts of ideas. I know that I would buy the whole line of shoes if offered.

  • http://monsterfresh.com Dead C

    The Seventh Sign

    Yeah, we know all about Wesley (read my bio on the “CREW” PAGE). We actually have an old post/review about a Wesley Willis documentary that was released a little while back [link here].

    You may also be interested in the musical group, The Kids of Widney High

    As for Kurt Cobain converse… they, somewhat, already exist. It’s actually the last link in the post. If you scroll back up, you should see it.

    Thanks for reading and commenting

  • Carina

    omg. these are so dANgg. awesome !!!! Lol X ]

  • Jonas

    I’ve seen so many buttugly over the top converse shoes, and they decided to drop this one?? It even looks retro, and tasty, and hecka tight, and i wanna put it in my mouth!

  • Don Goede

    I would love to publish these photos in the next edition of Hi, How Are You? The Life, Art & Music of Daniel Johnston. Would you be so kind to help?

  • http://monsterfresh.com Dead C

    Of course, Don. I actually have a copy of your book sitting next to me right now, as I type this. Here is a link to the sample images at the bottom of the post but, like it states, Dick Johnston sent those to me so you could probably get the original images from him as well. I’ll contact the original owner of the actual product photos and work that out for you on that end. I doubt it will be a problem.

    Let me know if you need anything else. There are a few more Daniel-related posts on here as well. Here’s a link to an interview that I conducted with Daniel with a header image that I created, which I’ve found being used elsewhere.

    I should be emailing you soon.

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  • benedikt

    i want to have sex with those

  • Chris

    I don’t know if these are still in demand but I have a pair! Found them in a shop in Aberdeen, Scotland. They’re UK size 9 and still have the tags attached. They are pale yellow low tops. If anyone is interested leave a reply.

    • 5584

      Yes please! are they still available? i am very interested!!

      • Dead_C

        They’re not available.  The comment above the one that you are replying to is already a response to it.  The shoes were sent to Daniel: http://wp.me/pjdCt-2Yx

  • http://monsterfresh.com Dead C

    Chris-

    Thanks for sending those out. I shot some images of the shoes tonight and will post them up once I receive the picture of Daniel with them. I’m sure that he’s going to be stoked to finally have a pair for himself and see what the end result is of the work that he put in

  • http://onesevennine.com 179

    it’s a shame Converse did not recognize the genius of these.

  • http://www..piq.ro laur

    hello everybody, I just started a cause on facebook trying to get as many people together wishing for this shoe and trying to convince Converse to produce it. http://www.causes.com/causes/550429-convince-converse-to-produce-daniel-johnston-worried-shoes

  • Rabbitfighter9

    i just found a pair of these high tops at a fullerton buffalo exchange for 19 dollars. im not sure if i should wear them. they are incredible

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