Founded in 1908 as an athletic shoe, Converse as a sneaker grew exponentially, a brand that was loved by many. Decades passed, and so did the cult following, bringing forth the idea of a rebel in converse shoes ready to take over the world.
Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain graced the stage on converse. In fact, it was a favorite for US Vice President Kamala Harris, who was seen campaigning in customized ‘2020’ sneakers.
The Converse Rubber Shoe Company was founded in 1908 by Marquis Mills Converse, a manager at a footwear manufacturing firm, in Massachusetts. What started as a rubber shoe manufacturer took a leap when the ‘All-star’ basketball shoe was introduced in 1918. Until then, it was marketed as ‘Non-Skids’ because of its rubber sole.
Basketballer Chuck Taylor’s entry into a converse store in 1923 set off major events that catapulted the brand into a household name, a favorite among rockstars, celebrities, and even the Olympics!
Once Taylor joined the company, his contributions led to improved flexibility and ankle support, making it fit to be used as basketball shoes. The new design also featured a prominent star logo just above the ankle bone to add protection. The logo developed cult status, known as Chuck Taylor All-Stars.
Converse All-Stars was the official shoe of the Olympic Games from 1936 to 1968, a fact which further proves its immense popularity.
Collapse, bankruptcy, and revival
In the 1970s converse lost the monopoly in the shoe market, owing to the growth of new brands, including Adidas and Nike. After Reebok introduced newer designs and technology in the sports shoe market, Converse was no longer the official shoe of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Its sole dependency on the All Stars brand led to it filing bankruptcy on January 22, 2001. In 2003, Nike initiated the acquisition o the company with 309 million. Nike relaunched the footwear in 2010, with newer designs leading to its revival among the rich. By 2015, the revenue generated surpassed $2 billion dollars.
Prices are crazy now as are other shoe designs. However, the public still prefers the original Chuck Taylor as relief over overpriced sneakers dominating the market. Sources claim that globally, a converse is sold at an estimated 43 seconds!
The fact that Converse was not meant to be a fashion brand is a big part of its popularity, its notoriety among rock legends and its mind-boggling customizations over the years has helped it stay relevant.
Notably, their greatest strength is not how they feel, but how they look and what they say about the wearer.