I feel like writing about something sporty (it must be the effects of the London Olympics and Paralympics). So I thought I would write about the hugely popular Converse All Star sneaker. It seems as if anyone under the age of 30 either owns a pair or is wearing a pair. This style is known by many names – Cons, Chucks, Chuck Taylors, Converse All-Stars.
Converse is an American shoe company founded in Massachusetts by Marquis Mills Converse in 1908. Its most famous shoe is the Converse All-Star basketball shoe that first came out in 1917. It is a canvas shoe with rubber soles meant to be an elite shoe for professional basketballers.
In 1921, a basketball player named Charles ‘Chuck’ Taylor started working for the Converse company. Chuck Taylor helped improve the design of the shoe and introduced a patch to protect the ankle. In 1923, Converse added Chuck Taylor’s name to the patch and the shoe became known as the Chuck Taylor All-Stars. This is still the signature design for Converse now – a canvas shoe with a round patch at the ankle, a blue star and Chuck Taylor’s name on the patch, with white rubber soles that say ‘All-Star’ at the back, and a diamond pattern on the soles.
Converse was the dominant American sneaker brand from the 1920s, but struggled from the 1970s. Converse filed for bankruptcy a few times and was eventually sold to Nike in 2003. These days, Converse is a subsidiary of Nike.
The Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star is the most successful selling basketball shoe in history. Some current NBA players still wear Converse. The Converse All-Star sneaker is still wildly popular though not necessarily as a basketball shoe, but as a casual sneaker.