14 Converse Shoes
Converse began it’s journey in 1917 as the Converse Rubber Corp. They marketed the first mass-produced basketball shoe. The company signed up Charles Hollis ‘Chuck’ Taylor, a basketball player that played for Columbus Commercials. At the time, he was a big star.
Taylor took to the streets with the shoes, promoting it at basketball clinics and schools. In 1932, Converse put his name on their shoes. This was the first co-branded shoe alliance in history.
It ruled the athletic market from its founding at the beginning of the 20th century until the 1970s, but then Nike and Adidas muscled their way in and Converse faded, filing for bankruptcy in 2001. The high top came in 1947 which was an invention by Taylor. It was advertised simplistically as a basketball shoe. It came in three colors and they were cheap. Converse made 750 million of these original shoes. They enjoyed a total of 80% of the market share.
In the 1970s, brands like Adidas and Nike came onto the scene. They swept up the market shares with their promise of a high quality shoe. They had cooler styles and all the big NBA stars were endorsing them. Stars that were in their prime as opposed to Check. In 1998, Converse suffered when their market share fell to 2.3%. They became pretty much extinct.
Athletes may have switched to Nike but cultural iconoclasts like Hunter S. Thompson and the Ramones embraced the idealism of the shoe company. Rock and roll was a major factor in the rebirth of Converse. Converse always had the secret ingredient to regenerate popularity.
Nike purchased Converse in 2003 for $305 million and used all it’s cultural might to bring Chuck Taylors back where they belonged. While Converse is no longer a popular basketball shoe, they are an epic piece of shoe history that people have embraced fully once again.