”Classic or Trash” is a recurring franchise highlighting a specific item and asking exactly that question: is it classic or trash? Granted, each member of the Grailed community is entitled to their own opinion, and while the Grailed editorial staff does its best to judge items objectively, we more than encourage you to disagree and sound off in the comments below.

Gloriously oversaturated and endlessly meme’d, it is hard to defend the Comme des Garçons PLAY x Converse Chuck Taylor. The poster child for fashion chads and entry level hypebeasts, to say the sneakers have a bad wrap is an understatement. Yet, after more than a decade, the shoes continue to be a bestseller, flying off stockist shelves and various Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market outposts. Despite the overwhelming consensus among “fashion cognoscenti” that this sneaker is not it, there is a reason they continue to perform so well, and writing them off entirely—while arguably justified–is a disservice to an important moment in both label’s history.

Originally released in 2009 on a Chuck Taylor All-Star low top, the original sneaker was slightly different than the ubiquitous pair seen today. With a fully visible logo—as opposed to the current submerged version where half the heart is cropped where the canvas meets the sole—and a simple black canvas on white vulcanized rubber, the original version was considerably more subtle. For starters, the logo was smaller, and utilized a different, lighter shade of red. Also the placement, closer to the collar and centered as opposed to the back heel, meant it was less visible, which inevitably meant that only those in the know could tell they were not regular Converse.

In an era well before ubiquitous high-fashion sneaker collabs, this shoe was a big deal. Not only did it provide an affordable entry point to the vast Comme des Garçons universe, it served as a billboard, helping popularize the PLAY heart logo internationally. Thousands of shoppers discovered the logo–and through PLAY and eventually higher-tier labels—due to a shoe that cost less than $200. The idea was genius, and as long as the company controlled supply and limited releases, they would have remained viewed as such.

Unfortunately, in 2015, following just three releases (each of which sold out), Comme des Garçons re-released this shoe, this time for good. Instead opting for the premium—and more expensive—Converse Chuck 70 silhouette, Comme des Garçons introduced a new, larger logo affixed to the heel and made the shoes a part of the permanent collection. Available in both high and low top models in either black or natural, the new shoes were (and still are) a huge success.

The fact that they were now so readily available and nearly twice the price of normal Converse ruined the point. The entire allure was a limited product with subtle branding. When they became readily available and free advertising space, they lost their luster. Of course, we can’t stop you from wearing them, but if you want our advice, hunt down the 2009 originals. Otherwise, don’t bother. It’s high time these were retired.

Now, we ask you, classic or trash? Let us know in the comments below.

Tags: comme-des-garcons-play, sneakers, chuck-taylor, converse, comme-des-garcons, classic-or-trash