When walking around campus, whether to grab a coffee or go to class, it is pretty much guaranteed you will see at least one student wearing Converse. The star logo stating “Converse All Star'' is one we can all recognize without much thought at all. High-tops, low-tops, All-Stars and as my dad likes to call them, Chuck Taylor’s, have taken over the fashion world. It is crazy to think that one shoe has stayed in style for so many years. The success of this sneaker has had a journey, unlike many other brands we put on today.
Founded in 1908 by Marquis Mills Converse, the Converse Rubber Company began production in the city of Malden, Massachusetts. Rubber, at the time, was a material being produced by the masses because of its versatility. Rain boots, tires and other rubber products flew out of the factory into the hands of consumers around the country. At the same time, as Converse Rubber Company production began to sky-rocket, the game of basketball began its origin and success on the east coast. With the proximity of Converse to major cities and universities, the company saw a new sense of direction: the basketball court.
Coaches and players, including our own Kentucky Wildcats, praised the shoe. For its time, Converse All-Star provided players with the support they needed to dribble and defend. Brands began to form teams that would travel around the country to various college and professional teams, in hopes of convincing coaches to buy their shoes. Converse’s team was led by the one and only Charles “Chuck” Taylor, which hints at the reason Chuck Taylor is printed on the side of the shoes. When you look back in basketball history, Converse sneakers are pictured on the feet of the majority of players in the mid-1900s. While in the end Converse was booted out for companies like Nike and Adidas who began specializing in sportswear technology, the company didn’t disappear.
When Converse introduced the shoe in a multitude of colors in 1971, the brand saw a new crowd join in. The counterculture of the 1960s and 70s was a major consumer of All-Stars. The self-expression wearers experienced by being able to choose the color of their shoe partnered with the cheap cost of the shoe itself fostered the popularity among this group. In particular, heavy metal and rock bands wore the shoes in their performances.
Flashforward to 2021 and Converse are just as in-style as ever. The recent release of Custom Converse allows buyers to design their own shoes to fit their style. Public figures like Vice President Kamala Harris wear converse on the front covers of magazines such as Vogue. The rise of platform shoes led Converse to release high-top and low-top platform footwear. The success of this company is due to the versatility of its wear. No matter your sense of style, general interests and passions, gender, age or socioeconomic status, Converse has a shoe for everyone.