The History Of Converse Shoes

The History Of Converse Shoes

Converse are one of the longest-standing footwear brands still standing today, worn by athletes worldwide; this brand started in 1908 and eventually became a household brand. In this article, we will take you through how the shoe has changed through the years, the styles, the materials used and the reason for the change of the Converse logo years ago. We will also analyse how they went from the number one shoe in Basketball to being forced to file for bankruptcy only a few years later. 

The Beginning

In 1908, the Converse Rubber Shoe Company was officially founded by Maquais Mills in the USA; they specialised in a rubber shoe named Galoshes. A Galosh is a type of shoe that you would commonly wear on a rainy day; this is due to the shoe’s material being made of rubber. The stretchy rubber the shoe is made from would protect the boots from getting damp.

Their Introduction To Sneakers

In 1910, Converse had the idea of making sneakers and creating the original “high-tops” that would come in brown. The idea came from them wanting a shoe that used their popular stretchy rubber and fabric that they used for the upper of the shoe. This was way ahead of its time, as the general public did not require the shoe.

Their Introduction To The Athletic Community

In 1915, Converse decided to focus on developing athletic footwear in a bid to make a shoe that people would need; models of this shoe would be purchased by sports players. Two years later, they would concentrate on developing athletic shoes specifically for the sport of Basketball, a choice that would set the brand up for incredible success in the next few years. This new model would be called “Non-Skids”, more commonly known as the “Converse High-Tops” in today’s market.

The Birth Of The All-Star Basketball Shoe

In 1920, we saw the birth of the “All-Star Basketball Shoe”, a shoe that would go down in history. The All-Star is very similar to the High-Top shoe that they brought out five years prior, but this time, it is used explicitly for Basketball and being marketed as basketball-specific footwear.

When Converse Met Chuck Taylor

Semi-Professional Basketball Player Chuck Taylor started as a salesman at Converse in 1921; a year later, Chuck suggested improvements to the already popular All-Star Basketball Shoe for the shoe to become more flexible and supportive. These changes came from a place of experience due to being a Basketball player himself; he knew what the players would want. This new model would later be released with Chuck’s improvements being made, and this model would be called the Chuck Taylor All-Star. In 1932, Chuck Taylor travelled the US promoting the shoe. Chuck found lots of success doing this, even to the point where Converse changed their logo featuring his name; this is the logo we have learnt to love today as the iconic Chuck Taylor All-Stars logo.

Converse Post World War Two

During the war, Converse was made to be the official athletic shoe of the US armed forces. But after the war, the brand continued to grow in popularity based on the quality and comfort of the product. By 1957, Converse accounted for 80% of the whole basketball footwear sector, an incredible feat for the brand. 

Converse Becomes Fashionable

In 1960, Converse finally became fashionable after entering mainstream fashion, after some of the biggest household names of the 1960s were seen wearing them, including the likes of Elvis Presley and James Dean. This started a movement of Converse venturing to create a more stylish shoe. In 1969, they created an upgraded version of the All-Star shoe made with more premium materials to keep up with the ever-growing competitive market. 

The Beginning of The Downfall

Though they have had years of success in the basketball market, this market is beginning to even out, with brands such as Nike and Adidas starting to break through. In 1983, Converse released the Fastbreak that was famously worn by Michael Jordan during his Gold Medal win in the Olympic Final; this would be the final time Converse shoes were worn by a player who was majorly in the spotlight. The Air Jordan 1 was released two years later, famously explicitly made for the great Michael Jordan. Nike then started to dominate the Basketball footwear industry, with Converse becoming less and less popular with Basketball athletes.

Silver Linings

Though Converse’s sales have fallen drastically by the end of the millennium, Converse still managed to sell an impressive 600 million pairs of All-Stars, making it one of the iconic, recognisable sneakers on the market. Unfortunately, more was needed, as one year later, Converse was forced to file for bankruptcy due to being unable to keep up with the stiff competition.

The Revival Of Converse

Just two years after filing for bankruptcy, Nike, one of the main reasons for the downfall of Converse, bought the brand out for a fee of $305 million with a plan to begin a resurgence of Converse as a leading brand in the lifestyle footwear market, apposed to their original goal of becoming the leading brand of the Basketball footwear market. Throughout the first decade of the millennium, we saw various collaborations with Converse, some with other brands such as Comme Des Garçons Play, Artists such as Damien Hirst and even video games such as Super Mario. If you would like to have a chance to wear a pair of these iconic shoes, this Converse discount code will ensure you do so for the best price.

Return On Investment For Nike

Ten years after acquiring Converse, Nike released that they had grown Converse from Bankruptcy to an incredible $1.4 billion after re-inventing the brand as a leading lifestyle choice. Over the next decade, Converse continued to be a part of some impressive collaborations, including with another artist, Andy Warhol. 

We’ve travelled back to the early 20th century, witnessing the birth of the Converse Rubber Shoe Company and the rise of the Converse All-Star, later affectionately known as the “Chuck Taylor.” We’ve explored its pivotal role in basketball history, seen it adopted by mainstream royalty and artists, and felt its enduring presence in streetwear and high fashion. Incredibly, even today, Converse is still one of the most recognisable, iconic pairs of sneakers on the market, and I’m sure it will be for years to come.



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