North Andover
USA
FMD-ID
BR1058

About

founded by

Marquis Mills Converse

belongs to

Nike

about

Converse is an American shoe company that has been making shoes since the early 20th century.

In his late 30s, Marquis Mills Converse, who was previously a respected manager at a footwear manufacturing firm, opened the Converse Rubber Shoe Company (completely unrelated to the Boston Rubber Shoe Company, founded by fourth cousin Elisha Converse) in Malden, Massachusetts in 1908. The company was a rubber shoe manufacturer, providing winterized rubber soled footwear for men, women, and children. By 1910, Converse was producing 4,000 shoes daily, but it wasn't until 1915 that the company began manufacturing athletic shoes for tennis. The company's main turning point came in 1917 when the Converse All-Star basketball shoe was introduced. Then in 1921, a basketball player named Charles H. "Chuck" Taylor walked into Converse complaining of sore feet. Converse gave him a job. He worked as a salesman and ambassador, promoting the shoes around the United States, and in 1923 his signature was added to the All Star patch. He tirelessly continued this work until shortly before his death in 1969. Converse also customized shoes for the New York Renaissance (the "Rens"), basketball's first all black pro basketball team.

When the United States entered World War II in 1941, Converse shifted production to manufacturing footwear, apparel, boots, parkas, rubber protective suits, and ponchos for pilots and troops. Widely popular during the 1950s and 1960s, Converse promoted a distinctly American image with its Converse Yearbook. Artist Charles Kerins created cover art that celebrated Converse's role in the lives of High School and College athletes, as the essential sports shoe. In the 1970's, Converse purchased the trademark rights to Jack Purcell sneakers from B.F. Goodrich.

Converse lost much of its apparent near-monopoly from the 1970s onward, with the surge of new competitors, including Puma and Adidas, then Nike, then a decade later Reebok, who introduced radical new designs to the market. Converse found themselves no longer the official shoe of the National Basketball Association, a title they had relished for many years.

The loss of market share, combined with poor business decisions, forced Converse to file for bankruptcy on January 22, 2001. When the company subsequently changed hands that year, the last factory in the United States was closed. Thereafter, manufacturing for the American market was no longer performed in the United States, but instead in a number of Asian and European countries, including China, Indonesia, Italy, Lithuania and Vietnam.

On July 9, 2003, the company accepted a $US305 million purchase offer from rival Nike.

Current NBA players wearing Converse include Kirk Hinrich, Kyle Korver, Alando Tucker, Maurice Evans, Acie Law, Udonis Haslem, and Elton Brand.

The Look

The look: The Chuck Taylor All Star shoe has developed a number of nicknames over the years, such as: "Cons", "Connies", "Convics", "Convos", "Verses", "Chuckers", "Chucks", "Converse", "Chuckies", "Chuckie Ts", or "Chucker Boots" or "Chuck Taylors" for the higher styles. For decades the Chuck Taylor All Star basketball shoe only came in black, with a white variant released in 1947. Under pressure from basketball teams Converse decided in 1966 to manufacture other colors. Different materials also began to be used, starting in the 1970s, including leather, suede and vinyl, and even hemp, rather than just canvas. Besides high-tops, low-cuts and later knee-high versions were produced. After Converse was bought by Nike, operations were moved from the United States to overseas, although the design has had few alterations. The fabric is no longer 2-ply cotton canvas but 1-ply "textile" and many wearers have noticed different patterns of wear. Types include neon, clear plastic, words, etc. and remains popular for children and adults all over. Today, even in countries in the East like in India, they are a common choice for all children from above Std. VII. Several colours don the market and even Chinese companies manufacture such shoes.
In 1985, Converse released "The Weapon" basketball shoe. Manufactured in many color schemes to match the kit colors of basketball teams, it has been available in both high-top and low cut varieties. The unique aspect of this shoe is the leather construction throughout, including the inside heel which is also heavily padded for comfort. Converse re-released "The Weapon" in 2002, 2008, and 2009, and "The Loaded Weapon" in 2003.
Several special editions of Converse shoes have been made, they include The Ramones, the Sailor Jerry, Metallica, The Clash and the Control, green, brown or camouflage edition. Three new designs were created for High Tops, inspired by The Who. There is also a special collection released called 1Hund(red), where 15% of the profits are used to support HIV/AIDS relief. One hundred artists from around the world were chosen to create designs for the collection.

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