Chucks are a widely popular shoe that has gone in and out of fashion for over a century now. It is an iconic brand that is easily recognized by its high-tops.
Converse Shoes is currently owned by its parent company Nike. The popular shoe brand was founded in 1908 by Marquis Mills Converse and was advertised as a basketball shoe. Other names that the shoe goes by are Chuck Taylors, Chucks, All-Stars, or Converse All-Stars. They got the name “Chuck Taylors” after the semi-pro basketball player Charles Taylor started selling the shoe.
Scroll down to read more about the iconic shoe brand’s history, its acquisition by Nike, and what the company has evolved into.
Converse Rubber Shoe Company
In 1908, a man by the name of Marquis Mills Converse founded a company called the Converse Rubber Shoe Company. But, it didn’t start out making the iconic basketball shoe that is so popular today.
Converse actually began by producing rubber galoshes for men, women, and children on a seasonal basis. Their shoes quickly became popular so production was amped up to produce rubber-soled shoes on a daily basis in 1910.
In 1915, the company moved its focus towards manufacturing athletic shoes instead of workwear. In 1917 they had made the first version of the modern day Chucks that they called Non-Skids.
It was in 1921 that Charles H. Taylor, who went by “Chuck,” joined the Converse team. Taylor was a semi-pro basketball player for the Akron Firestones who was able to look at the design of the shoes and suggest improvements.
His way of suggesting improvements was to complain to the Chicago office that his feet were sore and, well, it worked. The shoe was redesigned into the style that we still see today and Taylor even traveled around the country promoting this new shoe.
The All-Star shoe became so popular with customers from all of Taylor’s promotion that Converse decided to add his name onto the logo of their shoe in 1932. The Converse All-Star was now the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars.
The shoe went on to be used in major historical events like the controversial 1936 Olympic Games that were held in Berlin, Germany during Adolph Hitler’s reign. It became the official shoe of the Olympics from 1936 to 1968 and was the official shoe of the NBA for a time.
Watch the below video from Nacho Average Finds to learn more about Converse’s history.
While it began as a basketball shoe for professionals, Converse shoes became a popular shoe in the 1980s and 1990s in certain music genre sub-cultures. Despite a resurgence in their popularity, the company ran into multiple financial issues.
Converse Acquired by Nike
While the Converse shoe was seen being worn by James Dean and Elvis Presley in the 1960s, by bands like Led Zeppelin in the 70s, and the Sex Pistols and The Ramones in the 80s this was not enough to keep the brand afloat.
Their sales plummeted in the early 2000s and the outlook of the iconic shoe brand was grim. That was until another brand that had been gaining popularity since the 1970s stepped in.
Nike was founded by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman in Eugene, Oregon in 1964. The company gave Converse a run for its money by unseating it as the number one shoe in the NBA with its Air Jordans in the 1990s.
It was in 2001 that things were looking grim for Converse. The company had filed for bankruptcy and was now acquired by Footwear Acquisitions a private holdings company.
Then in 2003, Nike made an offer for the in troubled waters company and the price they paid seemed to be too much. Nike acquired Converse for $305 million when the company was only making $200 million a year in sales.
However, the people at Nike clearly saw potential in the nostalgic brand as they were able to repopularize what was thought to be a dying giant.
Converse All-Stars Resurgence
Nike definitely got Converse for a bargain because the subsidiary is doing amazingly under its new management. The company’s current President & CEO is Scott Uzzell.
As of 2020, Converse’s global revenue is sitting at about $1.85 billion. It’s crazy to think that Nike was able to acquire the company for only $300 million and bring it from $200 million in revenue to almost $2 billion in a matter of years!
Despite its troubled past, the classic shoe brand is definitely heading for even higher sales in the future because it appears to be gaining popularity among social media influencers now.