No company has had the impact on sports and fashion the way Converse has.
Not Levi’s, cuz there’s no denim sports.
Nike has changed things and had a tremendous impact but are veritable babes in the biz compared to Converse since they have only existed since 1964 (when they were called Blue Ribbon Sports). They (Nike) own the sports world now via team, player, and coach sponsorship and endorsement. Ironically, they now also own Converse.
But Converse created the shoe category that came to be known as tennis shoes and now are commonly referred to as sneakers.
Founder Marquis Converse got into the rubber soled shoe making business originally to aid people in America’s northeast in their struggle against winter’s wet and cold.
In 1915 they made their first canvas shoe. In 1917 they introduced a high topped model they called All Star in order to go after the burgeoning tennis and basketball business.
In 1918, pro basketball player Chuck Taylor tried on his first pair of Cons and 3 years later found himself working for Converse as maybe the very first athlete spokesperson. His name was put on all All Star model shoes he had helped refine in the 1930’s. Chuck Taylors, or “Chucks” as they have become known proved harder than a cockroach to kill over the years in their popularity.
When World War II came along, Converse shifted their production to begin making rubber soled flight boots while continuing to sell All Stars to the military for basic training use.
The psychedelic 60’s found Converse offering 6 color choices in high tops and a new low top version.
In the ’70’s they introduced an All Star in a low top that featured suede leather that later came back in the late ’90’s and 2000’s styling of what became known as skater shoes for skate boarders and other adrenaline junkie sports fans and punk rock lovers alike.
Converse have been made in all types of prints and materials, and have even been made in stack styled super thick soles.
Happy birthday Converse, from the many generations that have loved your shoes!