Converse shoes are legendary, and the All Star athletic line even more so. You would be hard-pressed to find many twenty- or thirty-something men and women who had never owned a pair. For comfort and practicality there is hardly a more versatile or reasonably priced shoe to be found.
Converse began life in 1908, when Converse Rubber Shoe Company was established by Marquis Mills Converse. It was not long until he began to manufacture rubber-soled canvas shoes, the forefather of today’s Converse boots. The renowned All Star basketball boot design was launched in 1917. These shoes were rubber-soled, ankle-high, lace-up boots with canvas uppers and the new Converse star logo stitched onto their sides. Six years later, the star logo was redesigned once more, this time with the addition of Chuck Taylor’s name – a tribute to a legendary basketball player for his contributions in introducing this new style of shoe to the game. Many of today’s Converse shoes still bear his name on either side of the star.
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Further developments in the Converse story include the introduction in 1935 of low-cut canvas shoes with the now-trademark rubber toecap, a style designed by Jack Purcell for use on the badminton court; a temporary shift in focus during the Second World War, during which Converse supplied flying boots for the entire U. S. Air Corps; the launch in 1966 of the Oxford range of Converse shoes (a low-cut version of the conventional boot); the development of the One Star design in 1974, which quickly became popular as casual streetwear amongst skaters and surfers; and the release in 1996 of the All Star 2000, basketball boots designed for athletic excellence. Looking ahead, the latest range to come out of the Converse design department is the Converse Icon, a hi-tech performance shoe that maximises performance and is specially made with basketball players’ footwear needs in mind.
Today’s casual Converse shoes come in innumerable colors and styles. The traditional black ones are the most common, but the patterned designs (including flames burning up the sides) are also extremely popular. The company’s best-known products remain their unbeatable basketball boots, worn by many of the world’s top players.
Converse divides its extensive shoe range up into four categories: Chuck Taylor, basketball, lifestyle and Jack Purcell. All of these styles are available for sale on the Converse website, as well as through other online retailers and, of course, in shops. It is definitely worth checking out the company’s online shop, since there are a number of designs that are exclusive to internet shoppers.