Is there anything quite as iconic as the Converse trainer? It is a brand which has now been around in one form or another for over 100 years, and very few of us have not added a pair to our shoe collection at some point. For a century now, these slick kicks have ruled the roost and been a staple of fashion for everybody, but how did it all begin?
After initially turning their hand to basketball shoes in 1917, Converse employed a young man by the name of Chuck Taylor to be a salesman in 1921. Taylor spent the next decade travelling around the USA conducting basketball clinics and selling Converse’s All-Star shoes. When the player’s signature was added to the sneaker’s ankle patch in 1932, Converse renamed the ‘Chuck Taylor All-Stars’ after the man himself.
The first white high top, much like the ones we see today, was worn at the 1932 Olympic Games and its red and blue trim was a patriotic nod to that famous Star-Spangled Banner.
The brand grew worldwide at a steady rate but the influence on the court was most noticeable in the 1970s and 80s, when it is estimated that Converse accounted for about 75 per cent of the basketball shoe market. It is also estimated that 60 per cent of all Americans have owned a pair of Converse at one point in their life! Forget Air Jordans, this makes Converse the most popular, best-selling basketball sneaker of all time. That is a level of dominance you would never find in this day and age.
The transformation from elite-level basketball shoe to popular sneaker happened gradually, but it became the iconic shoe of choice for musicians, artists and several other subcultures. During the 90s and 2000s the brand was still considered cool, and had sold over 600 million shoes by the turn of the millennium. A real rise in popularity happened in the years following Nike’s purchase of the company in 2003, with a whole new generation falling in love with the sneakers.
So the history of Converse is a rich tapestry of events, which could also be used to describe their latest release. The navy & pl blue hi upcycled patchwork trainers, to give them their full and proper name, will inspire the thrifty artist in you and make you fall in love with Converse again for a whole new reason.
This eco-friendly pair have thrust Converse into the 21st century, and with a fabric upper they are seriously comfortable. The rubber outsole provides you with all the grip you need but the look of these will make you stand out from the crowd in your own unique way. A beautiful blend of fabric and colour make these a top quality pick-up. The pair are available from schuh, priced at £65.