Converse, Inc., is an American company that is over a century year old and is one of the democratic and ubiquitous brands that dominated different industries and sub-cultures. The maker of one of the most iconic shoes in history, namely the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, the brand has well established its significance in the both the industry and the history of footwear through this silhouette.
Having its fair share of ups and downs, Converse managed to stay relevant in the footwear industry, and now a subsidiary of the giant footwear brand, Nike. Converse continues to produce lifestyle sneakers as well as skateboarding silhouettes that have made the cut as the favorites by many especially among the youth.
Converse Lifestyle Sneakers
Lifestyle shoes are the kinds that are made for casual use than for its performance. Each of these shoes embodies the way or the style of the wearer’s everyday life. The variety of colors like black, white, blue, red, pink, brown, purple, green, beige, grey, and yellow allows the individual to mix and match with gusto. These shoes serve as a representation and a complement to the wearer’s style that conveys their persona and defines their identity.
Converse offers lifestyle footwear for men, women, and children. Some of their products are designed as unisex shoes. These lifestyle sneakers from the brand display different styles and designs with each variation of their main silhouettes.
These Converse Lifestyle Sneakers include:
Converse Skateboarding Sneakers
Skateboarding shoes are particularly designed and produced for skateboarding. These shoes show features that are specifically designed to offer quality skateboarding performance that would meet the skateboarding enthusiasts or skaters’ needs.
Converse offers skateboarding shoes such as the following:
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star
When one says “Converse Chuck Taylor All Star,” almost everyone prints out the image in their minds and already know what shoe is being talked about. Commonly known as the “Chucks,” the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star has quite established a solid reputation, and a century later, it remained relevant in the footwear industry. The sneaker itself carries the image of the brand. Being one of the most iconic silhouettes of all time, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, proved to be not just a mere sneaker but a shoe that entails a rich history within itself.
What is the story behind the classic Chucks All Star that made it to be one of the top iconic shoes and made it retain its significance even after a century since its inception?
The History of the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star
The beginning of the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star stretches back in 1917 when the silhouette first saw the light of day. Its first colorway was the natural brown with black trimmings in its original canvas and rubber construction. This silhouette then marked its place in history and came to be the first mass-produced shoe in North America and became one of the most iconic shoes in the history of sneakers.
The sales of the Converse All Star were at first didn’t make any groundbreaking record, but it was soon then changed by Charles H. Taylor or most popularly known as Chuck Taylor who was a basketball player for the Akron Firestones.
Taylor saw potential on the All Star silhouette, and that pushed him to join the Converse Sales team in 1921. He was highly recognized for his distinctive marketing skills ad competent sales pitch, and he later traveled across the United States and hosted basketball clinics, teaching basketball to youngsters and at the same time, he promoted the All Star shoe.
Chuck Taylor did a really good job in promoting the shoe and also for putting in some essential changes into the design of the silhouette. In 1932, Converse rewarded him by making a fundamental change in the design of the shoe and adding his name, “Chuck Taylor” on the famed ankle patch. Thus the birth of the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star.
The first white high-top model of the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, with the patriotic red and blue was introduced in 1936 and it was designed by Chuck Taylor for the first U.S. Olympics basketball team. A more distinctive design compared to the monochrome black models was introduced in 1940’s with the classic black and white Chucks.
The new image of the shoe pushed it to become the go-to sneakers for many. The low-cut version of the Chucks All Star, which was then known as the “Oxford,” was then released in 1962 and it became a preferable casual alternative to the high-top version. In the late 1960’s multiple colors for the silhouette was offered by the brand to coordinate the different color combinations of different teams.
By 1968, Chuck Taylor was inducted into the basketball “Hall Of Fame” as he was named the “Ambassador to Basketball.” Sadly, just a year after Taylor received the title, he passed away, and his passing perceived the falling down of Converse’s rule at the top.
Rivals then began to surface with new technologies and brought innovations to the basketball market which were quickly favored by athletes as they offered improved performance compared to the Chucks. But the downfall of the Chucks All Star in the athletic wear industry has given it another opportunity as it was taken in by the music industry, especially by punk rock artists.
The silhouette that was once an epitome of basketball culture became popular with the younger generations and musicians as a lifestyle sneaker. Converse then produced in multiple variations with creative prints, colorways, and patterns. As of today, it is said that over 800, 000, 000 pairs of the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star has been sold and this silhouette proves its timeless element as it stays relevant for over a century now and each new generation embraced and adapted the classic image of the Chucks.
The Influence of the Chucks
One of the silhouettes that carry a rich history is the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star. It had become one of the most iconic shoes of all time for several reasons, and that includes the impact of its influence on different industries and sub-cultures.
The silhouette has gone through a lot and has been a part of some important occurrences in the history of the world. It has played its significant functions in every event that it has been a part of pretty well.
Aside from being an embodiment of basketball and being an emblem for the sport for a long while, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star also has marked its role in the history for being a symbol of patriotism during the World War II. The soldiers, during their training and exercise, wore the white high-top Chucks and this led to making the silhouette as the official sneaker of the US Armed Forces.
As the empire of the Chucks All Star silhouette fell in the world of basketball, it has successfully transitioned into a lifestyle sneaker and was welcomed with open arms and was embraced by different sub-cultures. In 1976, the iconic silhouette was featured in one of the most iconic scenes in the history of the film industry from the movie, Rocky. In the scene, the main character, Rocky Balboa was wearing the Chucks All Star as he was running on the streets of Philadelphia. That scene somehow implied that the audiences would be seeing more of the silhouette.
In 1977, the music industry, especially the punk rock culture. Bands such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash were the first ones to rock the sneakers and made it popular in the punk rock world. Being already popular in the punk rock nation, the Chucks All Star entered the grunge movement as it was favored by the late Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain.
During the release of their sophomore album, “Nevermind,” Cobain was always rocking the sneakers on their live press and photos. Cobain’s pair of Chucks displayed a worn out, a bit dirty look with his writings on its toe caps. The sneakers complemented his ripped jeans, greasy hair look which was a symbol of the grunge music.
Other bands such as Green Day and The Stokes have also been seen rocking a pair of Chucks on many occasions such as photoshoots, music videos, and live performances. The Chucks All Star did make its mark in the music industry and had become a symbol for various subcultures.
The Evolution of the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Shoes
The classic design of the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, throughout the entirety of its existence, has continued to live on. The silhouette itself has remained relevant from generations to generations ad its look ad design has been an icon for different subcultures. Not much has changed in its design since its inception, though, different iterations mostly through its colorways have been given to the silhouette.
The design of the Chucks All Star shoes delivers a timeless and versatile appeal that allows it to keep up with the trend. The brand though did create upgraded versions of the silhouette, without throwing the original one into their archive.
The Converse Chuck 70 is a nod to the 1970’s design of the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star. The brand uses the vintage 1970’s construction method while applying the modern design to the shoe, resulting in an aesthetic silhouette with a thicker sole and canvas with a complementing detailing on its stitching.
Converse also offers the Converse Chuck II which is an updated variation of the classic Chuck All Star. This silhouette delivers innovation while still honoring its rich heritage. A successful make-over to the Chucks All Star, the sneaker features new materials and technology that meet the needs of the wearers and allow it to stay on trend with its modern yet aesthetically edgy appeal.
Converse Shoes Top Collaborations
Like any other footwear brands, Converse went and teamed up with some well-known companies and designers that led to some amazing collaborative releases that also created hype in the sneaker industry. Below are some of the collaborators that Converse has worked, resulting to some iconic collaborative releases:
Comme Des Garcons
The collaboration between Converse and Comme Des Garcons, which was designed by Filip Pagowski himself, all began back in 2009 when these two brands teamed up to design a series of 4 different styles. Converse went through their archive and picked out the 1950’s Chuck Taylor silhouette.
The first release of the collaboration showcases a white and black colorways which also displayed the iconic signature heart and eyes logo of the brand. The silhouette was quickly best-loved by many, including street-style artists and fashion editors.
The success of their first collaboration led them to reunite on several different occasions to produce fresh and creative designs for the silhouette every time they teamed up. Each of this release is as successful as its predecessor. These Converse shoes are available in both high-top and low-top versions with the traditional both black and white base colors.
Here are some of the collaborative releases between Converse and Comme Des Garcons:
Comme Des Garcons Play Converse, Comme Des Garcons Converse Pro, Comme Des Garcons Converse Polka Dot
In 2015, Converse partnered with The Andy Warhol Foundation which is a non-profit charitable body that is associated with the artist with an aim to foster the visual arts. A part of the proceeds from this collection will go directly to the Foundation.
The Converse and Andy Warhol collaboration took on four different forms. Three of which are footwear picks. This collection honors creativity in self-expression and pays tribute to Andy Warhol.
The following are the picked silhouettes that were given the touch of the art of the visionary artist, Andy Warhol:
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Andy Warhol Collection. One of Andy Warhol’s most iconic prints was the Campbell’s Soup can. The print design was given on both the high-top ad low-top Chucks All Star silhouettes. The Chucks All Star High-Top displays the singular can print in primary bold colors. A layered pattern of the Campbell’s Soup cans print covered the upper of the Chucks All Star Low-Top which adds depth and dimension that also delivers the technique commonly used by Warhol.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star 70’s Andy Warhol Collection. For this silhouette, Warhol’s designs from the classic-colored Campbell’s Soup cans to monochromatic motorcycle prints are being showcased. The inner lining presents a step and repeat print in which the remarkable pattern that Warhol used in his Campbell’s Soup pieces is being mirrored.
In addition, with the aim to exhibit the breadth and depth of Warhol’s works, the motorcycle and newspaper prints inspired from Warhol’s Ads and Illustrations series around 1985-1986, graces the upper of the low-top Chucks All Star 70’s.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Platform and Lux Andy Warhol Collection. The collaboration picked the feminine silhouettes such as the Platform and Lux, and gave these trendy sneakers the iconic Campbell’s Soup and newsprint ads prints to decorate its upper. Specifically, the newsprint links the rift between tonal and monochromatic prints to convey Warhol’s more subdued works.
The relationship between Converse and Italian brand, Missoni goes all the way back in 2009 when the two brands teamed up for the first time. Since then, the two brands make collaborative releases almost annually.
The silhouettes from this collaboration display the iconic and unmistakable zigzag design from Missoni. The two brands take on different Converse silhouettes in every teaming up they do.
Here are some of the collaborative releases between Missoni and Converse:
Missoni x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, 2009; Missoni x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, 2011; Missoni x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Fall/Winter Collection, 2014; Missoni x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star; 2015
Kurt Cobain and Converse is one iconic pairing. The Nirvana frontman was always seen rocker a pair of Converse shoes, making it one of the symbols that represent the grunge music. To honor the great musician and his legacy of music that never cease to inspire every new generation, Converse released the Kurt Cobain x Converse Collection.
The collection showcases the scribbles and artworks that was from Cobain’s personal notebooks. The shoes featured in the collection offers a peek through the mind of the music genius, displaying a series of sketches of his lyrics that represents his hopes and dreams. The silhouettes also feature a fray detailing with the signature of Kurt Cobain embroidered subtly on the outer of the shoe.
This collaborative release includes:
Kurt Cobain x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, Kurt Cobain x Converse One Star
How Do Converse Shoes Fit?
To get the right pair of Converse sneakers, one must consider these following factors to
Length or size of the sneaker
- Converse sneakers are mostly designed as a unisex shoe which is offered in men’s sizing which usually ranges from US size 4 to US size 14.
- Running largely on foot is a common thing about Converse sneakers when it comes to sizing, therefore, going down in size may be suggested.
- Women getting a pair of the unisex silhouettes must reduce 2 from the men’s sizing.
Width of the sneaker
- The medium width for men’s is D while the medium width for women is B.
- Knowing the corresponding letter to the width is advisable since the shoe boxes and shoe labels do not identify specifically if the width is narrow, medium, or wide.
- The alteration between the widths and the size of the shoe are proportional, considering they only differ for a few millimeters.
- Converse shoes are commonly available in standard fitting.
History of Converse
The Converse Company started in 1908. It was a rubber shoe company that was then called, “Converse Rubber Shoe Company,” and it was built by Marquis Mills. The company then soon began using rubber to create sneakers that have now been the one that almost all know and came to love. The first colorway they produced was the natural brown Converse high-top which also features a black sole.
In 1910, the company was into the daily production already, and by 1915, it has started the production of the athletic shoes. But the shoe didn’t make high sales back then as it was not considered as a leisure shoe and it was the canvas version that was mostly chosen by players.
It was in 1917 that the shoe started in production, but it was in 1921 that the canvas Converse basketball shoes were given its iconic name the “All Star.” It was then followed by the endorsement of Chuck Taylor of the shoes which did great help for the sales and the popularity of the All Star which he then is granted by having his name added to the ankle patch.
With the massive popularity that the Chucks All Star gained, it also gave the company a concrete stature in the footwear industry. In 1957, 80% of the shares of the whole sneaker industry was in the hands of Converse. The company dominated and stayed on top for a long while.
But all good things must come to an end as when Chuck Taylor passed away, dark clouds also hovered over the company, and it lost its place on top. Sneaker rivals such as Nike started to come out and made a buzz around the footwear industry. The company then went through different ownership and management and in 2001, they filed for bankruptcy.
Nike then stepped into the scene and bought the company in 2003, helping it to be back on its feet. This deal opened a new chapter and a brighter future for Converse.
Nike and Converse
In 2003, two years after Converse filed for bankruptcy, Nike bought the company for $305 million, and gave it a new chapter for its future. The over-a-century-year-old company was given a rebirth after its massive fall down in the industry.
Back in 2001, the Converse Company reported a $205 million revenue. After Nike bought the company in 2003, it has helped the flailing company to grow into a $1.4 billion success and is still on the road of growing. This has been the biggest growth that the company has witnessed over the years.
What helped Converse to get back on their feet?
Giving unique transformation to the classic canvas sneaker is one reason. Converse provide a variety of fashionable iterations and options of its sneakers. Its Chucks All Star silhouette dominated the sports industry as a basketball shoe, then later became on-the-go casual footwear, which then made famous in the music industry as a symbol of punk music and grunge movement. The successful transitions of the sneaker were then dubbed by the brand on their website as: “We started on the court and got adopted on the street.”
In 2008, the “Connectivity Campaign” of the brand extended to 75 countries and each featured an area-specific celebrities. This campaign pushed the brand to gain an increase of 29% in their yearly revenue. In 2013, the “Shoes were boring. Wear sneakers.” Campaign also helped in maintaining the edgy appeal of the brand.
The constant and focused way of the brand’s advertising, as well as the adding of new retail stores for the brand, have given their fair share in getting the brand back to its feet. Though Converse now is a little bit expensive than before and is facing massive competition with other brands such as Vans, it remains a favorite among consumers.
Questions Commonly Asked About the Converse Sneakers
Does the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star shoes go with various styles?
Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars are versatile when it comes to style, and one is given the opportunity to use the shoe in any way that they feel most comfortable with. The versatility of the Chucks allows it to complement a variety of style options. For both men and women, there are a lot of outfit ideas that they can wear to match up with their Chucks. The sneakers effortlessly blend in with the different ensembles despite their pattern and color combinations. As long as one feels comfortable and at ease with their style, then there should be no problem.
Does Converse offer customization for its silhouettes?
Yes, Converse do offer customization for their silhouettes. The brand offers their customers the opportunity to design their sown pair of Converse sneakers through their website. Silhouettes such as the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, Converse One Star Suede, and Converse Chuck Taylor shoreline are some of the silhouettes that are up for customization.
There are also other websites or online shops that offer customization for Converse sneakers in hand-painted design or computerized prints. Prices for these customized shoes may vary as well as the delivery fee.
Are the materials used for Converse Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers always canvas or leather?
Is it still worth to buy the classic Converse Chuck Taylor All Star or is it better to go for the updated versions of the silhouette?
Is it ideal to wear a pair of Converse shoes without socks?
Where are Converse sneakers manufactured?
Does Converse have other silhouettes other than the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star?
Between Converse and Nike, Converse is the one that has a lower price point for their shoes, is it still possible to purchase a Converse sneaker at an even lower or at a discounted price?
How to wash Converse shoes?
Cleaning your pair of Converse sneakers, especially the white ones, can be done through a few DIY methods.
First step: when cleaning a pair of Converse sneakers it is best to remove the shoelaces to get better access to the eyelets and the tongue of the shoe. Once the shoe laces were removed, place the shoes under running lukewarm water to get it thoroughly wet before starting to clean them. There will excess water on the shoe so shake it off to get rid of them.
The following are the methods one can follow in cleaning their pair of Converse sneakers:
Method 1: Use powder cleaners
An abrasive powder detergent which does not contain bleach should be used. Pour some of the powder with a small amount of heated water in a bowl and mix until it creates a paste-like substance. Get a toothbrush, dip it on the mixture and scrub it on the rubber areas of the shoe. Do a forceful circular motion and focus on the most stained areas of the shoe.
When rinsing, use warm water and a clean towel to wipe it dry. Repeat the steps if necessary. The usage of baking soda instead of an abrasive powder can be applied.
Method 2: Use toothpaste
The non-gel white toothpaste is the best option as colored toothpaste may stain the shoe. With an old toothbrush, apply the toothpaste on the stained area of the shoes. Once done in applying toothpaste to remove stains on the fabric of the shoe, let it sit for 10 minutes.
After the given time, wipe the toothpaste off the shoe with a damp towel. Repeat steps if necessary.
NOTE: Toothpaste ingredients may vary on its brand, therefore, testing a small amount on a hidden part of the shoe is advised to make sure that the toothpaste to be used will not stain the shoe.
Method 3: Machine Washing
Prepare a small bucket half-filled with water and shower two-thirds of a cup of baking soda in it. Drop a dime-sized amount of dishwashing detergent on the mixture in the bucket and stir it using the end of the toothbrush.
Scrub the white toe or the front area of the shoe with a good amount of energy until the scuff marks and dirt are removed. Do the same procedure on the other parts of the shoe that has dirt marks.
Add a cup of laundry detergent into the washing machine and make sure that the product does not contain any bleaching material to avoid ruining the shoe. Put the shoe into the machine alone and set the machine in a low cycle. A cold rinsing process is best to be used.
Method 4: Use a dishwasher
Make sure the dishwasher is empty and set the kitchen faucet on “hot” to also have heated water in the dishwasher. Add in the dishwashing detergent and put the pair of Converse facing down on the topmost rack of the dishwasher and then run the normal dishwashing cycle.
After completing the procedure, take out the damp shoe from the dishwasher and have it sun-dried. If the weather does not cooperate, put the shoe I the dryer along with some large towels to keep your shoe from banging around.
Final step: Put the shoe in a place where there is moderate heat and let it to air dry. To whiten the toe patch, smear a dime-sized amount of liquid chalks for shoes and follow the instruction on the product for best results. Use a wet sponge which is dampened with mild soapy detergent to wipe the toe patch clean and air dry the shoes again.
Put the laces back on the shoe and make sure that they are straightened to avoid getting them loose and twisted. Adjust the tongue of the shoe that it stays at the center of the eyelets and the rows.
Do Converse shoes stretch?
Yes, Converse sneakers stretch. Some may go through some bits of pain at first and during the process of stretching, but that mostly depends on the person. Some say that Converse sneakers mold around the foot and one of the best shoes to do so in which gets really comfortable when they have molded to the foot.
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