Converse – History, Philosophy, and Iconic Products

Converse – History, Philosophy and Iconic Products . Air Jordans in the early twentieth century, Converse has come a long way from cutting-edge sportswear to retro casual hitting shoes of choice. Who among us has not enjoyed the utter annihilation of a new pair of Chuck Taylors? But it’s hard to think of this versatile shoe as anything athletic from a distance.

As was briefly mentioned in our article on Shoe Silhouettes, the rubber-soled canvas shoe marked a pivotal moment in the history of athletic footwear and miraculously, it remains popular even after athletes and their trainers have switched to better, more engineered shoe options. Shoe tastes and technology changed, but Converse remained on the feet of young Americans.

Converse History and Philosophy

For most of his life, Marquis Mills of Malden Massachusetts, mainly focused on rubber shoes and other waterproof clothing, but in 1908 they turned their eyes to the booming sportswear market. Only fifty years earlier, Charles Goodyear had received his patent for rubber vulcanization, allowing for all kinds of rubber-related creations.

In our case, shoes. This new technology was paired with professional sports teams across the country, creating the resources and demand needed to make new types of sports shoes. The result is the shoe below, which is called No-Skid for its innovative, grippy sole. The shoe comes in leather and canvas variants, mostly in a rather unattractive brown color.

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The Converse Rubber Shoe Company is an offshoot of Marquis, whose main focus shifted to athletic footwear in 1915. In 1920, their signature shoe was renamed the All-Star to further convince athletes that it was a true champion shoe.

The same year as the All-Star rebranding, Chuck Taylor of Akron Firestones came to Converse HQ complaining of an injured leg. However, this whinging basketball player found himself hired as a salesman and ambassador for a brand that was fledgling. Taylor soon realized that the Converse All-Star would be a success and could be the answer to his sore leg.

Chuck Taylor was anything but passive during his tenure at Converse. He’s driving all over the country, spreading the good news about a shoe that will soon bear his name. He lobbied for the shoe so effectively that when, in 1936, basketball was added to the Olympic roster, the American team wore the Converse. In fact, they were wearing what are perhaps the most popular of the time models, a classic white top with blue and red accents.

Much like the Champion T-shirt, another sporty invention, the practical application of Converse was identified by the American Military at the start of World War II. The war years, like many other clothing pieces, Converse democratized. Millions of young people training for service wear high canvas tops.

At the end of the war, the famous black and white model was developed. This new, sleek line of color coincided with the formation of the National Basketball Association (NBA). And to further dominate the market, Converse introduced the oxford, or low-top.

Driven to change things in the late 60s, Converse introduced One Star. With more support and cushioning than ever before, it is aimed at basketball players who have strayed from the Converse brand. The version below is the second attempt to get people excited about this new silhouette. It stayed on the market for one year, 1974-75 and then disappeared. Converse is having a problem.

But as the world of sport was exposed to new technology and custom footwear choices in the 1970s, which Nike typically offered, Converse became more of a counter-cultural touchstone than a practical choice for athletes. Chuck Taylor is more likely to be found at the feet of musicians and actors than at the starting line.

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The Chuck Taylor brand was once the tallest, controlling 80% of the footwear market at its peak. In the 40s and 50s, it was easy enough to prevent the advancement of brands like PF Flyers (despite the fact that PF actually had cushioning in its shoes, making it a much better choice for athletes), but in the 70s and 80s, the shoe like the Onitsuka Tigers, Air Jordans, and other high-tech options took the company to new lows.

Converse slowly declined until it declared bankruptcy in 2001, when the company was bailed out by one of its biggest competitors, Nike. Nike shifted production from the US to Asia in order to cut costs and thus, the quality of the product was severely reduced. But because they look so different, people keep buying those shoes, whatever they are.

Converse Today

The Converse of today (such as those of Nike) has proven itself to be a litigated organization, prone to error on a large scale. The Chuck Taylor II above was announced in 2016 and its launch wreaked havoc for the company, halting growth for the first time since the brand’s revival in the early 2000s and leading to the sacking of Converse’s previous head, David Grasso.

The changes were largely cosmetic in nature, although the brand added cushioning to the sole and raised prices significantly. Whatever the reason, people refused to bear the higher price and this failure shook the company to its core. The Converse website was quietly incorporated into Nike around the same time.

Converse has filed lawsuits against other shoemakers periodically since 2008, but on June 23, 2016, the International Trade Commission ruled that toe covers, bumpers and stripes were not sufficient for the Converse trademark. Converse has refused to accept this decision and is now appealing the decision.

This pair of PF Flyers was created to celebrate Converse’s untimely defeat of their lawsuit against thirty other shoe companies. If Converse had its way, it would have the exclusive right to incorporate the toe covers, bumpers, and stripes seen above… and on many other shoes.

Iconic Products

Chuck Taylor All Star

Low-end Chuck Taylor, this is what you’ll find in the mall and at the feet of most consumers. This Chuck Taylor looks like the old one, but with lots of cuts. Low quality canvas, lack of support, and cheap material.

If you haven’t bought a pair since the 90’s, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. Since moving production to Asia, the quality of this Chuck has dropped dramatically.

Available for $ 55 from Nike.

Chuck 70

For just over 30 bucks, you can become the proud owner of a ’70s Chuck. This reproduction is also made in Asia, but of a much higher quality. With double-layered canvas, cotton laces, and taller fox boots, these shoes are made to match the higher standard of 1970’s Chuck Taylor.

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They come in regular core colors, with dozens of eye-catching colors and collaborations available all over the internet. If you want to buy Converse, do yourself a favor and shell out the extra cash.

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Available for $ 85 from Nike.

Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers have been around since the early 20th century, but haven’t changed much – until recently. In 2015, The Chuck II – a new line of Converse that looks almost the same as the original shoe but with less cushioning and curved support – started to hit the market. In honor of kick endurance, here are 11 facts about the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars.

  1. Originally an athletic shoe.

The Converse All-Star debuted in 1917 as an athletic sneakers. It quickly became the number one shoe for basketball, then became a relatively new sport (basketball was invented by James Naismith in 1891, but the NBA wasn’t founded until 1946). In the late 1940s, most of the NBA used the Chucks. They remain the best-selling basketball shoes of all time, even though very few people wear them again for basketball. (Many teams switched to Adidas leather in the late 60s.)

  1. Earlier Converse rain boots.

The company was started in 1908 as a rubber shoe company that produced rubber boots.

  1. The All-Star design hasn’t changed much since 1917.

The updated Chuck II was Converse’s first real attempt to update its flagship product since the early 20th century. It’s understandable that the company is reluctant to shake things up: All-Stars make up the majority of the company’s revenue, and like any classic design, its fans can be die-hard fans. In the 1990s, when the company tried to introduce an All-Stars that was more comfortable and had fewer design inconsistencies, big fans revolted. “They miss imperfections in the rubber band that covers the base of the shoe,” according to the Washington Post. The company returned to making shoes that were slightly imperfect.

  1. Chuck Taylor is a basketball player and coach

Taylor is a Converse salesperson and former professional basketball player who toured the country teaching basketball clinics (and selling shoes) starting in the 1920s. His name was added to the ankle patch on sneakers in 1932.

  1. And even though he sold Chuck lots, he wasn’t always a great trainer.

Taylor is largely responsible for the popularity of the shoe among athletes (the company rewards him with an unlimited expense account), but his training advice is not always the best. As former University of North Carolina player Larry Brown told Spin in oral history about shoes:

My greatest memory of Chuck Taylor – perhaps ’61 or ’62 – is that he told Coach [Dean] Smith he was going to make us special weight shoes in Carolina blue. The idea is we will wear weighted shoes in training, and then during the match, we will run faster and jump higher. Well, we tried it for one workout and everyone had hamstring injuries.

  1. Converse didn’t intend for his shoes to be punk.

“We’ve always thought of ourselves as an athletic shoe company,” John O’Neil, who oversaw Converse marketing from 1983 to 1997, told Spin. We want to sell healthy shoes. The company still touted its shoes as basketball sneakers until 2012, and some of its non-Chucks sneakers still have professional backers.

Finally embracing its role in the music scene, the company launched Rubber Tracks, a Brooklyn-based recording studio where bands can record for free, in 2011.

  1. Not all Ramones are fans.

Chuck Taylors was associated with punk rockers, especially the Ramones, but not everyone in the band wore it. “Dee Dee and I turned to Chuck Taylors because they stopped making [styles of] US Keds and Pro-Keds [which we love],” Marky Ramone told Spin. “Joey never wore it. He needs a lot of arch support and Chuck Taylors is no good for that. ”

  1. Chuck was originally just a high boss.
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In 1962, Converse launched its first oxford Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Previously, these were just high-top shoes. Four years later, the company will introduce its first colors other than black and white.

  1. Rocky ran into it.

In 1976, the All-Stars was still considered a worthy athletic shoe. If you take a closer look at Rocky’s training montage, you’ll see the boxer wearing Chucks.

  1. Wiz Khalifa loves them.

The rapper named his record label Taylor Gang Records, partly because of his appreciation for Chuck Taylors. In 2013, he launched a shoe collection with Converse featuring 12 styles.


Chinatown x Converse

After the famous collaboration with the star and Nike, Chinatown Market redesigned the Chuck Taylor All Star 70’s on a creamy canvas base, only adding its branding to the tongue. We can stop there except that under ultraviolet light, the vamp is covered with orange, pink or blue on the sides. The Converse logo on the ankle concludes a pair of technicals, which are signed by the smiley. Check out more info on Converse x Chinatown Market.

Chinatown Market is the only brand that adds a comma to Chuck. An association that holds significance since the two heavyweights of sneacker almost never present themselves together and tends to suggest that they are now one.

Converse x Comme des Garçons

These two legends have become accustomed to over the past decade collaborating on various partners, often falling victim to their success. The heart with little eyes of the Comme des Garçons streetwear line was first associated with Converse in 2009 with a logo on the ankle, in place of the symbolic rosette. See more info on the collaboration between Converse and Comme des Garçons.

Indeed, 8 years ago, the Japanese brand began to revise the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, adding the initials of the house. Then CDG started a creative frenzy, revisiting Jack Purcell in 2011 and then in 2013, Pro Leather.

The last child pair of the two precursors was the SS19 collection, launching the Chuck Taylor Converse, which was again a huge success. In terms of sales, both versions of Chuck Taylor started off very well. They quickly became mainstream while other, more technical associations were released in fewer copies and therefore more confidential.

Converse x Off White

It’s almost too predictable to see the Chuck Taylor 70s Hi Converse fall into Virgil Abloh’s hands. Indeed, acclaimed creator / manager Kanye West and new artistic director Louis Vuitton have revisited the conversation pair several times. The “The ten” version, for example, takes the design of this model by adding an offbeat and conceptual touch.

We’ll especially remember the last Off-White series, Nike and Converse, where media creators have rethought the classic white canvas with the famous black stripes on the sole. There are also mocking badges such as branding on the ankle and the inscription “SHOELACES” which explicitly mentions shoelaces. See more info on Converse x Off White.

Virgil Abloh, Nike’s great madman, is like many of the artists who used Chuck as a canvas to express himself freely and add his touch to the legend. But it’s not just fashion monsters who can access their customization. Indeed, we will see that the star also serves as a springboard for young, ambitious content creators.