Converse shoes have developed a style all their own, but as with many iconic brands, style in this case followed function, with the development of both the brand and the Converse range of footwear being influenced by their wearers.
The History of Converse
Converse started out as utilitarian shoes, made by the freshly formed Converse Rubber Shoe Company in 1908 by Marquis Mills Converse, a man well versed in the production of rubberised footwear. Early shoes were general shoes using ‘winterized’ rubber soles, yet it was by accident that the company started to produce the iconic sports shoes the company is known for today.
With the increasing popularity of basketball as a sport in the USA, Converse released the Converse All-Star basketball shoe which was an immediate success. Backed and championed by top basketball player Chuck Taylor, the All-Star shoe eventually gained the well known signature ‘All Star’ patch which is now instantly recognisable worldwide.
The All American Image
With such an iconic range of footwear, promotion of the brand was easy, with tie-ins to many high school and college sports events, sponsorship by the Converse brand to top athletes across many different sports and maximum exposure in every day life, however the Converse brand was about to take a nose-dive with the introduction of more brands to the market.
Although Converse enjoyed a near monopoly post-world war 2, emerging brands such as Nike and Adidas took a large part of the traditional Converse market share, which led in 2001 to the company to file for bankruptcy in the courts, which after so many years trading was somewhat of a shock to the industry at large, however since a take-over of the brand by a new consortium the Converse brand has re-emerged, offering a whole new range of footwear and innovations to keep up with customer demand.
Converse Special Editions
Many special edition Converse shoes are available as well as special camouflage editions which are available in different colours, however the latest innovation from Converse is the availability of personalisation of shoes. This allows (via the website converse.co.uk) anyone to design their own Chuck Taylor All Star based shoe which can be customised with anything you like… as long as it’s less than 10 characters!
Where You Are Likely To See Converse
Although there are now many different brands of sports shoes available, Converse are still the shoe of choice for the style conscious basketball fan. These shoes have grown such a following that some people just won’t wear anything else, choosing different styles and colours to go with different outfits.