The Original Converse Shoe
The original Converse sneaker, the Chuck Taylor, debuted in the early 20th century. The basketball shoe consisted of three parts--a canvas upper, a rubber bottom and toe box and a cushioned insole. Originally the all-rubber sole was placed into a mold to form the bottom of the shoe. Once the rubber sole was set, the all-canvas upper was added and stitched into place with the traditional double white stitching common on the sneaker. Eyelets were added once the stitching was complete. Finally the insole was added for added support and durability.
Bankruptcy and Sale of the Company
The shoe eventually lost popularity and while it was granted a revival in the 1990s, the company struggled to deal with the influx of new and more appealing basketball sneakers. In an attempt to cut costs the company moved manufacturing to Asia for cheaper labor. In 2003 Nike took control of the company and moved the entire operation to Asia, where the sneakers continue to be manufactured. There have been significant changes to the textiles used in the sneaker.
2003- Present Era
Nike, the new owner of Converse, changed the make-up of the sneaker to lower production costs. The once all-rubber soles had additives placed into the mix to cut rubber costs, creating a less durable bottom and one with far less rigidity. The mixture was still set into a mold to create the bottom of the shoe. The upper portion of the sneaker lost its two-ply canvas upper in favor for a far cheaper single-ply "textile." The change to a single-ply design altered the stitching considerably and thus altered the look of the sneaker.