Converse

Established1908
HQBoston, Massachusetts, USA
FounderMarquis Mills Converse
CEOScott Uzzell
Revenue$1.89 billion (2018)
Parent GroupNike Inc.

Canvas sneaker giant, Converse, designed the forerunner to the modern style Chuck Taylor in 1917 – a rubber sole and canvas upper boot marketed as a basketball sneaker. Charles “Chuck” Taylor, an American semi-professional basketball player joined the company in 1921 as a salesman, bringing with him revolutionary ideas to improve the shoe’s design. The new restyled shoe included the distinctive All-Star ankle logo as we know it now and with the addition of his signature, made Chuck Taylor’s All-Stars the first celebrity-endorsed trainers. In 2003, Nike paid $305m for the company and expanded the brand. Now produced in a variety of materials, colors and styles and with collabs from the likes of JW Anderson, GOLF le FLEUR and Vince Staples, Converse has rebuilt its iconic status while still retaining the classic style. Converse Timeline 1908 – Founded by Marquis Mills Converse as the Converse Rubber Shoe Company. 1917 – Introduction of the ‘Non Skids’ basketball shoe. The rubber sole and canvas upper formed the basis of the current style. 1921 – Semi-professional basketball player Charles “Chuck” Taylor is given a salesman job at Converse, bringing ideas on how increased flexibility and ankle support could improve the performance of the shoes. 1922 – Within a year of his arrival, Taylor’s ideas led to the creation of the All-Star, including a circular logo patch that protected players’ ankles. Chuck Taylor’s signature is added to the patch and remains there today. 1941 – Converse switches back to production of rubberized footwear throughout World War II. 1950s – The Chuck Taylor All-Star becomes the standard among basketball players across high school, collegiate and professional levels. 1970s – Converse faces competition from PUMA, adidas, Nike and Reebok in the battle for on-court footwear. 1972 – Converse purchases PF Flyers, and with it the trademark Jack Purcell badminton shoe. The style continues to be produced with its classic ‘smile’ toe. 1980s-90s – The brand loses its monopoly in athletic shoes, but sees a shift towards a new breed of fans claiming All-Stars as casual, retro-style. 1993 – The Converse One Star style is released, flanked on both sides with the iconic solo star and gains a cult following. 2001 – Converse files for bankruptcy but is saved by investors. 2003 – Nike pays an estimated $305m for the company and expands the brand across clothing and introduce new styles. 2009 – Converse launches the CONS skateboarding team with Kenny Anderson, Anthony Pappalardo, Nick Trapasso and others. 2009 – Italian fashion house Missoni create an exclusive “Premium Chuck” revealed at the Milan Menswear Spring/Summer show. The duo have continued to collaborate on more collections since. 2012 – Converse becomes partners in the (RED) campaign, which aims to prevent HIV transmission from mother to daughter. 2014 – After years of cease and desist letters, Converse file a lawsuit against 31 companies for infringing the iconic bumper toe, striped midsole and toe cap. 2015 – Converse collaborates with the Andy Warhol foundation to create a pop art-inspired collection. 2015 – The so-far unchanged Chuck Taylor is given a makeover. The Chuck Taylor II is launched, incorporating Nike technology to create a lighter shoe and boasting upgrades such as a no-slip tongue but sales begin to slide. 2017 – The brand refocus on quality collections and increased comfort instead, dropping production of the short-lived Chuck Taylor II 2019 – This year has already seen the continuation of the JW Anderson collection, along with A$AP Nast and GOLF le FLEUR*. This year the brand also makes it return to basketball with the new performance inspired All Star Pro BB. What are the best Converse shoes? The iconic All-Star Chuck Taylor has remained relatively unchanged throughout the brand’s lifetime. An upgrade in 2015 labelled Chuck Taylor II flopped, and the brand ceased production of the new style in 2017. The Original All-Stars style came back, with a focus on quality, brand new collections, and unseen collaborations. The classic silhouette continues to be a favourite among celebrities, musicians, artists and every-man alike, now spanning generations of style icons. How do I find out about new Converse releases? Converse keep an up-to-date list of upcoming collaborations and new releases on its website and email subscribers with any new announcements. Check out our guide to the best sneaker apps recommended Eastbay (iOS, Android), with honorable mentions to Unlaced (iOS) and Footaction (iOS, Android). Where can I buy Converse? The brand is now so ubiquitous you’d be hard-pushed not to stumble across them wherever you go – popping up in charity shops, high streets and beyond. Check out the Converse website for the full collection.

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