Converse is a shoe company founded in 1908 that makes basketball and lifestyle shoes. Converse was started by Marquis Mills Converse, who had previously worked for a shoe manufacturing company. He started the company in Malden, Massachusetts; until 1915 the company only produced winterized rubber-soled shoes. In 1917, the first all-star basketball shoe made by converse was introduced. Then, in 1923, a basketball player named Charles “Chuck“ Taylor came into the company, complaining about sore feet. He was then offered a job and was a salesman and an ambassador, and in 1932 his signature was added to the patch on the high-top Converse sneakers. Converse also provided sneakers for the New York Rens, the first all African-American basketball team.
In the 1970s, Converse lost their monopoly due to the rising of other brands, such as Puma, Nike, and Adidas, and then, in the 1980s, Reebok. They also lost their title as the official shoe for the National Basketball Association (NBA), which was part of the reason that they had become so popular. In the 1980s, rubber-soled shoes regained popularity for just everyday footwear, but Converse was over dependent on the All-Star brand, which ended up collapsing around 1989. By the late 1990s, Converse was deep in debt, and then filed for bankruptcy in January 2001. In April of that same year, they were bought out of bankruptcy by Footwear Acquisitions, led by Marsden Cason and Bill Simon.
In July of 2003, Nike paid $309 million to acquire Converse. Nike approached the 1980s revival around 2010, and expanded Converse to include other apparel, much like its other brands. By 2012, Converse had disappeared completely from the NBA. In 2014, the growth of Converse as casual apparel had contributed to $1.7 billion in revenue, and in 2015, $2 billion.
Today, Converse is one of the most popular casual shoes out there. They went from a $250 million company to a $1.4 billion company in 13 years. Their style and comfort have made them one of the best shoes ever. Many people are happy to see the Converse brand on the rise, and I think that they will stay that way for many more years to come.
Story by Maddie Tate