One Step at a Time: History of Converse


Alexis Alvarez

Converse has a shoe for everyone.

Whether it is the classic high tops, fashionable low tops, or anything else in between, we have all heard about the classic brand, Converse. For over 100 years, Converse has held its iconic reputation among consumers and many others since its creation.

First created in 1908 by Marquis Mills, the Converse Rubber Shoe Company was initially producing the ‘All-Star’ basketball shoes with rubber soles for better grip on the court. It was not until 1921 when the company’s popularity and sales skyrocketed due to the brilliant salesmanship of the basketball player Charles H. Taylor, more commonly known as Chuck Taylor.

During this time, Chuck had suggestions for the shoe, and soon enough, he became a part of the Converse sales team.

DC Fashion Week’s article expands on Taylor’s impact, stating, “He first came into the company to complain about how their shoes made his feet hurt. Their response was to hire him and make him an ambassador and salesman.” The rest is history with Taylor’s name being put on the Chuck Taylor style shoes’ ankle patch in 1932 up to today.

As the 1940’s approached, so did the war. Converse began to create shoes suitable for army soldiers to train in. Taylor’s support of Converse’s shoes created a great amount of patriotism among Americans, making Converse a staple brand among many and raising their popularity.

Whilst the company thrived until the 70’s with the creation of the low top casual “Oxfords” in 1957, other companies like Nike and Adidas were becoming bigger competitors with advanced sports shoes, and Converse could not keep up with the ever changing shoe competition.

By 2001, Converse had fallen short of the shoe industry they had once dominated and had to file for bankruptcy. Luckily, by 2003, Nike swooped in and bought the company for around 315 million dollars. Since then, Forbes reports, “Converse sales have ballooned to nearly $2 billion. The 10x revenue gain over the years…” Nowadays you see a pair of Converse shoes everywhere you go.

Nonetheless, the company continues to thrive, and it remains a staple shoe with its classic style and casual fit. Converse is not going anywhere anytime soon despite their ups and downs.