The History of Converse Shoes

by Jason Chavis ; Updated September 28, 2017

The History of Converse Shoes

Jorge Barrios, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain,

The history of Converse shoes started during the early part of the 20th century. The company became one of the most successful footwear businesses in the world by the middle of the century. With the rise of rival companies, the firm faced a number of challenges, eventually losing the long battle with other manufacturers.


The Converse Rubber Shoe Company was opened in 1908. Located in Malden, Massachusetts, the firm was started by Marquis M. Converse. The factory made winter footwear for men, womenand children.

Chuck Taylor

In 1917, the Converse All-Star basketball shoe was introduced and began to be worn by Chuck Taylor. Chuck Taylor was a basketball player who helped promote the shoes, which eventually bore his name.

World War II

The war brought about a change for the company in which production shifted to footwear, boots and other rubber products for troops. This was a huge economic boom for the company.

1950s and 1960s

Converse became the most popular sports shoe throughout the postwar era. The company leveraged the artistic work of Charles Kerins to push for further sales in high schools and colleges.


On January 22, 2001, Converse was forced to file for bankruptcy. It had lost the majority of its market share to Reebok and Nike. Nike purchased Converse in 2003 for $305 million.

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Photo Credits

  • Jorge Barrios, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain,

About the Author

Jason Chavis has been a professional freelance writer since 1998. He is the author of four books, two movies and a play as well as numerous articles for "Scientific American," The History Channel, City Pages and "The Onion." In 1996, Chavis won the award for "best science fiction/fantasy" from the River Valley Writer’s Conference.