The Converse brand is a shoe brand that a lot of people know because it has been in the business of making shoes since the early parts of the 20th century. Founded in 1908 by the Marquis Mill manufacturing firm as the Converse Rubber Shoe Company, the shoe company made Converse trainers for men, women, and children. A couple of years later, they were producing 4,000 Converse shoes every day, although it wasn’t until the year 1915 when the company began making tennis shoes. The turning point for the company came when the All-Star basketball shoe was introduced in 1917. Things were going well until the World War II hit in 1941, forcing the shoe company to make protective suits and rubberized footwear for the military instead.
The 1950s and 1960s were good years for the Converse shoe company, promoting a distinctly American image that consumers loved. The 1970s though was a different picture, with numerous competitors entering the market. Loss of market share and poor business decisions forced the company to file for bankruptcy in 2001. Complete wipe out of the famous Converse trainers though was averted when Footwear Acquisitions bough the brand and propelled it from the 16th spot to the 7th largest footwear company in under two and a half years. Nike bought Converse though for $305 million in 2003, making that merger the largest of the year.
There were different kinds of Converse trainers and Converse sneakers manufactured throughout the years but there are certain models that made Converse really iconic. These include:
- Chuck Taylor All Star Basketball shoe Chuck Taylor and Converse met in 1921 when the basketball player went to the shoe company complaining of sore feet. Chuck Taylor became the ambassador for Converse trainers well until a little before he died in 1969, with his signature is included in the All Star patch. Over the years, the Chuck Taylor All Star shoe was given a number of nicknames, including “Chucks”, “Convos”, “Chuckies”, “Chuck Ts”, and “Chuck Taylors.” This shoe was only available in black until basketball teams pressured Converse to manufacture other colors in 1966. Additionally, other materials like vinyl, suede, and leather were also used for the shoe starting in the 1970s.
- The Weapon it was in 1986 when “The Weapon” was released as a basketball shoe. It came in various color schemes in order to match the colors of basketball teams and was available in low-cut and high-top models. What made these shoes unique was it was made from leather throughout, featuring a heavily padded heel for comfort. The shoe was re-released in 2002 and was worn by Kobe Bryant and Andre Miller. The first endorsers for “The Weapon” were Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in 1986.
- Special editions some of the special edition models made by Converse include DC comics, AC/DC, The Ramones, the Sailor Jerry, The Clash, Metallica, Dr. Seuss, Ozzy Osbourne, Grateful Dead, Drew Brophy, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Danny Potthof and Gorillaz, as well as the brown, green, and camouflage editions. Today, some shoe stores have exclusive models and can personalize Converse trainers for you.