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Popularity of Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars Shoes

Updated on August 25, 2012

Converse All Stars Sneakers

Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers are the most sold sneakers in history
Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers are the most sold sneakers in history | Source

Making Shoe History

Sneakers, basketball, and a world class salesman combine to make athletic shoe history by selling more pairs of athletic footwear, than any other shoes ever. Converse and Chuck Taylor created the most popular, best selling sports shoe of all time, called Chuck Taylor All Stars. The statistics are that 60% of the American population have owned or do own at least a pair of these most popular Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars Sneakers.

Who was Chuck Taylor?

The Converse Rubber Corp. was started in 1908, by Marquis Converse. Originally the company was in the business of making rubber work shoes and galoshes. The bulk of their business was seasonal, so the company decided to make products that could be sold all year long. That is how they got into the athletic shoe business.
As basketball became a more and more popular sport, Converse saw an opportunity to make a sneaker that would provide comfort while playing basketball.

In 1917, the first version of the basketball footwear was produced. Originally, it came in natural brown with black trim. All black canvas and leather were developed in the 1920’s. They were the first sneakers to be mass produced in all of North America. It had a thick sole made of rubber, and a high top canvas or leather, that covered the ankles. In the beginning, sales were very slow.

They became increasingly popular once Chuck Taylor’s name went on the sneakers. Charles (Chuck) H. Taylor, was a basketball player for the Akron Firestones. He saw the potential of the sneaker for basketball. He had such a passion for the sneaker, in 1921, he joined the sales force of Converse. Later he became a player/coach for the Converse All Stars, which was the company’s industrial league basketball team. Chuck travelled all over the U.S., promoting the Converse basketball sneaker. He was an expert marketer and a superior salesman.

He also helped to make improvements to the design of the sneaker. In 1932, they put his name on an ankle patch on the basketball sneaker and called it the Chuck Taylor All Star Sneaker. For decades, he travelled coast to coast, with loads of sneakers in the trunk of his cadillac, selling athletics and coaches Chuck Taylor All Stars.

The Official Sneaker of the U.S. Armed Forces

In 1935, Chuck Taylor designs the 1st stitchless leather basketball sneaker, it is the more modern day sneaker, we know of today. This improvement gave the wearer more bounce.

For the 1936 Olympics, Converse made the sneaker in white canvas. Basketball is played for the very 1st time in the Olympics. The United States team won the gold medal, beating Canada 19-8, wearing Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers.

After the exposure with the Olympics, basketball teams and boys across America were wearing the Converse sneaker with Chuck Taylor’s name on it.

1939 – The 1st NCAA basektball championship is played. Both teams are wearing Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers.

During WW II, Chuck served in the Air Force as a captain, and also coached the regional basketball teams. He was looked upon as a morale booster for the troops. All Star Sneakers became the official sneaker of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Basketball Becomes a Professional Sport

After WWII, basketball became a professional sport. Chuck Taylor All Stars were in the right place at the right time. They became the shoe for all players of basketball, from the boys on the street shooting hoops, to the high school, college and professional player of the sport. The black and white style were introduced in 1949.

With the merger of TheBasketball Association of America and the National League in 1949, becoming the NBA, nearly all professional basketball players play the game wearing Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers.

During the years of 1955-1956, Chucks become the number 1 Basketball sneaker in the U.S.

In 1957, the company came out with a low cut sneaker and it became popular as another option to the high tops.

In 1966, Converse dominated the sneaker industry, with an 80% share in the market. In 1968, Chuck Taylor was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, but a year later, he died from a heart attack.

Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers - A True Success Story

Without Chuck Taylor, Converse lost its dominance.

The Nike Corporation started to take over, and many rival sneaker companies introduced new shoes, new colors, and more innovations.

From the 1970’s thru 1990’s, Converse continued to lose its market share. In 2001, they filed for bankruptcy, but because the brand was so well known, a new ownership took over the manufacturing of Chuck Taylor All Stars Sneakers. By this time, over 750 million pairs of Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers were sold worldwide.

They stopped production in the U.S and Canada and had them manufactured in Asia. As the brand was reborn, went from the 16th biggest footwear company to the 7th largest. In 2003, Nike purchased Converse for $305 million.

Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers continues to be the most successful shoe in history. You can read about the History of Sneakers, to learn more about how sneakers came to be invented.

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    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 3 years ago from Ljubljana

      It's interesting to see the pattern of success: great product, devoted marketeer and being in right time at the right place. I remember how popular were All Star sneakers in our country in 70s, when we had very limited access to goods from West. Kids 'faked' All Stars with markers!

    • Paul Fisher profile image

      Paul Fisher 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Spreading the love of the All Stars! Great to see it and really nice blog.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I love a cool pair of Old School Chucks. When I went to college, I got a pair in my school colors. I like high and low tops just as well. The newer designs don't appeal to me and I think that has to do with Nike's influence and ownership of the brand.

      I didn't know they were the official shoe of the Armed Forces- that's an amazing honor.

      Lovely hub- I learned a lot about good old chucks.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 5 years ago

      Hi Mackyi, It is good to know you are the proud owner of Chuck Taylor All Star Shoes. It seems like they went out of business because Nike came into the market with new innovations and marketed their athletic shoes very aggressively. Also, in my opinion, when you look at the years Converse started to decline the baby boomers started to get older and probably weren't buying as many basketball sneakers as they were. So in addition to Nike taking more of the market, their original market was growing out of them. It is an amazing story though. I wrote another hub about the history of sneakers so if you want to read more about sports shoes, you might want to read my article. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your Chucks experience.

    • profile image

      mackyi 5 years ago

      Thanks toknowinfo for this hub on the history of Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Shoes. I actually own a couple pairs of them, including a Leather Upper pair. I really don't care for the low cut ones, I like those high cut ones better. This line of sneakers was doing so well, I am wondering why they went bankrupt!