The Crazy Converse Club <crazyconversesclub>

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The History of Chuck Taylors309 weeks ago
What is the oldest, most popular, and all time best selling sneaker of all time? (As a matter of fact, 60% of all Americans own or have owned at least one pair of these sneakers!) Well it is not the overpriced, expensive Air Jordans that the Nike Corporation produces! Nor is it made by Fila, Reebok, New Balance, or Adidas. It is the Converse All Star "Chuck Taylor"!

It was in 1908 that the Converse Rubber Corporation opened for business. With the popularity of basketball, the Converse Corporation saw the need to develop a shoe that people could wear while playing basketball. After lots of research and development, the very first version of the All Star basketball shoe was produced in 1917. The All Star shoe only came in one color, black. The All Star was to be the first mass produced sneaker in North America. It consisted of a very thick rubber sole, and a ankle covering canvas upper. At first though, it really did not catch on with people, especially basketball players. It would however, a few years later, thanks to Charles "Chuck" H. Taylor.

Charles H. Taylor was a basketball player for the Akron Firestones. He liked what he saw in the All Star shoe and knew basketball players all across America would soon be wearing them. As a matter of fact, he believed in the shoe so much that in 1921 he joined the Converse sales force, and traveled all across the United States not only promoting the All Star sneaker, but also the game of basketball itself, for which he hosted basketball clinics. Because of his tireless efforts, Taylor was named the "Ambassador to Basketball." But the Converse Corporation also bestowed something else on him. Because he was so successful in promoting the All Star sneaker, as well as making important changes in the original All Star shoe, in 1923, his name "Chuck Taylor" was added to the ankle patch. Hence the "Chuck Taylor" All Star basketball shoe was born!

Soon basketball teams as well as American boys were wearing Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Stars. Because the sneaker was so popular, the Converse Corporation produced the white high top chuck also. During World War II, Chuck Taylor became the fitness consultant to the entire United States Armed Forces. And the All Star "Chuck Taylor" went off to war as GI's did their exercises in the white high top chucks that became the "official" sneaker of the United States Armed Forces.

After World War II, basketball teams were clamoring for color in their high top chucks. Soon teams started to put colored shoe laces in them. Teams also had their white Chuck Taylor sneakers dyed different colors as well. In 1966, the Converse Corporation, seeing the need for more color in their "Chuck Taylors", began producing a variety of new colors in addition to the traditional black and white chucks. By this time Converse owned 80% of the entire sneaker industry. In 1968, Chuck Taylor was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, one year later he passed away.

Since the era of Chuck Taylor and the dominance of the Converse company in the first six decades of the century, lots of changes have occurred in the athletic shoe industry. In the 1970s companies began making basketball shoes with leather uppers, and in the 1980s a number of high tech innovations were added to basketball and other athletic shoes. Many new athletic companies have emerged and marketed a wide variety of basketball and other sports and leisure shoes. The ownership and management of the Converse Company has changed several times. And the manufacture of athletic shoes has moved from the USA to Asia.

But despite all of the innovations and changes in the athletic shoe industry, "Chuck Taylor" sneakers continue to live on! Approximately 30,000 pairs of high top chucks are still sold each week worldwide. By 2003 over 580,000,000 pairs of chucks had been sold. Unlike other sneakers that lose their popularity, the Converse All Star "Chuck Taylor" still remains fashionable. Converse All Star "Chuck Taylor" sneakers are ninety years old but still going strong! And since 1923, except for the addition of new colors, original "Chuck Taylors" have not changed one bit -- and they never will!

 posted by The Crazy Converse Club 


Clare Campbell said...3/27/09
coverse is actually owned by nike now...
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ºSanchaº said...7/11/10
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