Whilst Converse has a long, well earned reputation for innovation and creativity in the shoe universe, this recent development was somewhat unexpected. Converse has opened its first mall based retail store on 5 May 2012, in the Westfield Plaza in the great state of New Jersey.

An interesting feature in its 450 square meter store is a customization Ink Bar where shoppers can design their own unique shoes and accessories. Consumers can access over 200 different graphics and designs to create their ultimate Converse shoe. Converse specialists will be on hand to guide Converse fans in their exciting personal creations.

With online retail sites increasingly cutting into margins for original shoe manufacturers, is the new Converse mega store a sign of things to come? Will the enormous product range and customization be enough to combat the gradual encroachment of Zappos and others? I guess this is a question that will only be answered over time, but I am sure that Converse as well as the other leading shoe lines are watching with great interest. We'll keep you posted.