Brief History of Converse Shoes & Why They Are Loved So Much

Converse Chuck Taylor
via Kris Gerhard / Unsplash

Converse shoes started in 1908 when Marquis Mills Converse opened the Converse Rubber Shoe Company in Malden, Massachusetts. The company began producing winterized rubber soled footwear for men, women, and children.

In 1917, Converse released the All-Star basketball shoe, which became official footwear for the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1929. The iconic shoes featured “Chuck Taylor” on the patch near the ankle of every pair because he was a key player who made them popular on and off the court.

While the love for this iconic sneaker has continued to grow over time, many have wondered why exactly people are so passionate about them. And how did Converse shoes become as popular as they are today? Read on to find out!

The Beginnings

Converse was founded in 1908 and had its humble beginnings as a rubber shoe company, manufacturing athletic shoes under the name “Converse Rubber Shoe Company.” The following year they introduced their first basketball sneaker called the All Star or Trench Shoe, which was fastened with laces.

Since then, Converse has become one of the most popular brands of sneakers around the world! They’ve been worn by famous athletes like Lebron James and Michael Jordan (who famously wore them on-court).

From 1908 until now, Converse has come a long way from being just another brand of sneakers to becoming one of the top-selling footwear companies worldwide.

All Star Basketball Shoes

In 1917, Converse Rubber Shoe Company of Malden, Massachusetts, introduced the All Star basketball shoe. The All Star was the first basketball shoe to have a rubber sole and canvas uppers. It also featured a rubber toe cap and lace-up front.

The All Star remained popular throughout the 1920s, but sales declined due to a variety of factors, including production issues related to World War II and high demand for new leather styles.

Chuck Taylor

Converse Chuck Taylor
via Camila Damásio / Unsplash

Converse had endorsements from athletes like Chuck Taylor, who named the iconic sneakers after himself.

Taylor was a basketball player and coach who greatly influenced the game of basketball and was one of the first coaches of the Celtics. He also played semi-professionally himself and later became a successful basketball promoter.

Over 600 million pairs of Chuck Taylors have been sold since their creation – the former athlete was clearly successful as a Converse salesman.

Converse and Rock Bands

Converse also became associated with rock bands because it was their casual shoe of choice. Rock stars like Green Day, All American Rejects, and Black Sabbath have all been seen wearing them. 

They also became popular with skaters who wore them as skate shoes. In fact, high school and college students started wearing them as well, as they began to embrace a more casual look. The brand’s range of limited edition collections always proves popular among various groups.

Bankruptcy

The company continued to produce shoes until 2003, when it filed for bankruptcy. In that year, the brand was purchased by Nike, which has been making Converse shoes ever since.

They managed to come back even stronger than before with new styles that mirrored old ones like Chuck Taylor high tops and low tops with colorful patterns of flowers and other designs.

Controversies

Like any popular brand, Converse is no stranger to having its products copied. This has led to lawsuits against around 30 other companies producing shoes with strikingly similar designs, including very well-known brands such as Sketchers.

It has been claimed that other brands copied Converse’s signature toe cap, mid stripe, and design on the sole of the shoes. There have been mixed results from these lawsuits, but true fans and sneaker collectors will know that nothing else can rival the quality and range of designs of genuine Converse.

Final Thoughts

Converse is known as the most classic sneaker in history and brings back nostalgic memories of days past. They have been part of American culture since 1908, and today, they are popularly worn by people all around the world.

Despite some ups and downs, including bankruptcy around 20 years ago, Converse sneakers are still a staple in many people’s wardrobes. Even though the company has gone through many changes, it is still very much a part of American culture.