Have you ever wondered how did an ordinary basketball shoe became one of the most significant brands in the market? Most of us might already know several brands when it comes to our favorite shoes: Nike, Adidas, New Balance; you name it. Among all of these shoe industry giants, there is one that remained to be a relevant choice for various types of footwear; it is no other than Converse.
Converse is a significant shoe brand in our world today. With more than a billion in revenue, statistical records show that this company remains to have its reputation as an excellent shoe brand. Most of us may know Converse for its iconic footwear, such as the Chuck Taylor All-Star, also known as “Chucks.” In this article, we are going to look back into the fascinating history of the remarkable shoe company: Converse.
What is Converse?
Before we dig deeper into its history, let us first take a look into the more profound background of this shoe brand. For starters, one thing you should know about Converse is that it has been a subsidiary of Nike, Inc. since 2003. In simpler terms, it is not a stand-alone company and is under a parent company, which is Nike. Interestingly, Converse designs and manufacture its own products, including sneakers, skating shoes, lifestyle brand footwear, apparel, and accessories.
As mentioned earlier, Converse is responsible for creating several iconic footwear, which includes the celebrated Chuck Taylor All-Star. It has been on the market for many years, and people just couldn’t resist the greatness of this beautiful shoes.
Origins of Converse
Now that we already have a brief description of Converse, let us know how this incredible shoe brand originated. We can trace back the origins of Converse to more than a hundred years ago in Malden, Massachusetts (and yep there is no history of this shoe related to Converse, Texas). Interestingly, its name was derived from the name of its founder: Marquis Mills Converse. Marquis Mills was a manager in a shoe company, and he decided to establish his own business in February 1908, which was initially called Converse Rubber Shoe Company.
Converse Rubber Shoe Company was far from the modern shoe brand we know today. It was initially known for manufacturing winter shoes made from rubber. The business grew and earned a decent income for selling winter shoes; however, a breakthrough happened in 1915 when the company started to sell athletic shoes.
Interestingly, the shoe brand released its first-ever Converse All-Star basketball shoe in 1917. This new pair of kicks became a hit to basketball fans, and it helped the company to gradually gain recognition.
The original design of the Converse All-Star was a bit rigid, causing sore feet to those who wore it. It was a common issue to Converse users until the shoe was redesigned in 1922 – after Charles H. “Chuck” Taylor complained of sore feet. He asked the company to redesign the shoe and make it more flexible and comfortable when wearing. Converse responded to the demand of Chuck Taylor, wherein they redesigned shoe, creating a more flexible and comfortable design. The new design included an ankle patch with Taylor’s signature, resulting to the iconic “Chuck Taylor All-Star.
Moreover, Converse did not just add Chuck Taylor’s signature on the shoes; they also gave Taylor a job, which was to work as a salesman and ambassador of the shoe brand. He did an excellent job at promoting the brand all across the United States. During this time, the popularity of Converse became widespread, and it became one of the most significant basketball shoes in the market.
During the first half of the 20th century, Converse dominated the market, wherein they captured the hearts of the majority of basketball fans. However, the greatness of Converse seemed to come to an end following the death of its ambassador in 1969. After Chuck Taylor’s death, various basketball shoes were introduced to the public, causing a catastrophic decline in its popularity during the 1970s.
Converse had a long of struggle of fighting bankruptcy during the late 20th century; however, the company filed for bankruptcy on January 22, 2001. Interestingly, the shoe brand was acquired initially by Marsden Cason and Bill Simon, only months later after it filed for bankruptcy. Furthermore, the company took a huge leap after it was acquired by Nike in 2003. Years later after is acquisition, Converse continued to manufacture its iconic “retro-style” shoes, which continue to capture the hearts of its fans. Today, Converse was able to reclaim its former glory and continue to among the significant shoe brands in the market.