In celebration of the grand opening of our fourth FEATURE retail store in Scottsdale, Arizona, we are going back in time to the history of Converse as one of the most iconic fashion brands to exist. Keep reading to learn more. For information on our grand opening at FEATURE in the Scottsdale Quarter this Saturday, May 13th, from 10 AM to 9 PM, click here.
Very few footwear brands have made as much of an impact in the fashion industry as Converse has. With a repertoire that dates back over 115 years, the Converse brand and its shoes have become icons in the footwear world. Converse sneakers are some of the most recognizable sneakers on the planet. It all started with its strong and unparalleled connection to basketball and countless other subcultures. Keep reading to take an in-depth look at the history of Converse.
Founded in 1908 by Marquis Mills Converse in Malden, Massachusetts, the world looked different over 115 years ago, especially regarding the shoes people wore. Marquis Mills Converse began crafting shoes that heavily featured rubber in their construction. His company was originally named ‘The Converse Rubber Shoe Company,’ and it all started with the Converse All-Star Sneaker.
INTRODUCING THE CONVERSE ALL-STAR
Originally named ‘Non-Skids,’ The Converse All-Star sneaker was introduced to the world at the perfect time. It was meant to fill a gap in the basketball shoe market caused by the ever-increasing popularity of the game. Five years later, prominent American professional basketball player Charles Hollis Taylor (also referred to as Charles ‘Chuck’ Taylor) requested Converse to create a better basketball sneaker with more support and flexibility. This resulted in the introduction of the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star. Converse fulfilled this request, adding the signature ankle patch that would later become a staple in popular culture. Converse practically invented basketball shoes and athletic footwear, as the brand was decades ahead of Nike and Adidas.
Converse basketball shoes were even a favorite of the legendary Michael Jordan while he played basketball in college. Although he went on to create an entirely new athletic shoe line with Air Jordan, Michael Jordan was hesitant to stray away from Converse sneakers before joining the Nike umbrella as an NBA rookie.
A CLOSER LOOK: ESSENTIAL CONVERSE STYLES
Available in various low-top and high-top iterations, the Converse All-Star Sneaker is famous for many reasons. Typically boasting a canvas upper, Converse Sneakers still nod to their OG basketball shoe roots created over 100 years ago. The design has primarily stayed the same, as it has become the unofficial sneaker for different subcultures such as skateboarding, music, and art. The timeless silhouette takes on medial eyelets for enhanced airflow. At the same time, the classic All-Star ankle patch makes an impression on the sides. The typical All-Star license plate resides at the rear, while the rubber sole underneath the casual footwear silhouette offers optimal traction and durability. The cotton lace closure secures the design.
NOTABLE COLLABORATIONS: COMME DES GARÇONS PLAY AND BEYOND
Some of Converse’s most iconic sneaker silhouettes include the classic Chuck Taylor All-Star, Chuck 70 Vintage Canvas, Run Star Hike Platform, Chuck 70 Plus, and many more. In addition to various sneaker iterations, Converse has also collaborated with many other brands, artists, and designers. Some collaborations have been done with Fear of God Essentials, Brain Dead, Ader Error, Midnight Studios, Off-White, and most prominently, Comme des Garçons PLAY.
Converse and Comme des Garçons PLAY officially joined forces in 2009 by introducing the Converse x Comme des Garçons PLAY Chuck Taylor All-Star. As a precursor to the instant Chuck 70 classic, released in 2015, this elevated sneaker staple is more than just a red heart on a canvas sneaker. Both minimalist yet elevated in its aesthetic, the sneaker has shaped contemporary fashion for future generations. The collaboration between Comme des Garçons PLAY and Converse has sparked countless variations of the classic Chuck Taylor, including high and low-top variations of different shades of the Chuck 70s, all while implementing the signature bug-eyed red heart motif at the side panels.
CONVERSE MEETS NIKE
In July 2003, Converse’s legacy moved forward differently when Nike acquired Converse. The brand was relaunched in 2010, as the ‘80s style was returning to wardrobes, making it an ideal time to reintroduce Converse to the world. The Converse brand expanded into apparel and accessories by joining the Nike umbrella. Converse joining Nike allowed both brands to diversify their portfolio, all while adding a new dimension to Nike’s footwear division. New Converse retail stores were added, and Converse’s overall growth in the past two decades can be primarily attributed to joining the Nike umbrella.
With that, Converse maintains its establishment as one of the most notable footwear brands in the fashion industry. The brand has become a mainstay in popular culture among countless subcultures, along with its special collaborations and unique iterations of its classic styles. What started as one of the first-ever basketball shoes has become a staple in footwear collections worldwide. To shop for all things Converse, click here.