Converse is an American company that creates a wide range of different products. Primarily known for creating different types of sneakers, they also create and manufacture many other types of shoes, athletic apparel, accessories, and more. The company has been around for more than a century, but they have only been a subsidiary of Nike - one of their chief rivals - for a little more than a decade. Converse is one of the most popular sneaker and shoe companies in the world today, but they were not always successful
Marquis Mills Converse worked at a company that manufactured footwear. When he was in his mid-30s, he decided to open up his own company, called the Converse Rubber Shoe Company. He started the company in 1908. His cousin actually started a company called the Boston Rubber Shoe Company around the same time. The company made a variety of rubber soled shoes for men, women, and children, and they soon became quite popular. Within just two years of opening, they were making around 4,000 shoes each day. The shoes they were making at the time were "everyday" shoes. They did not start to make tennis shoes until 1915. These also proved to be popular.
Of course, one of the creations that really helped to set the company apart was the development of the Converse All-Star basketball shoe. This hit the market in 1917. Again, these were popular. They really started to become popular when Converse hired a former basketball player named Charles H. Taylor - Chuck Taylor. He complained that he had sore feet, and Converse gave him a job as a spokesperson and salesperson so they could promote the shoes all across the United States. This helped them to widen their market. They were popular enough that they added the now iconic Chuck Taylor signature to the sneakers. He continued to work with Converse all the way up until his death in 1969.
During WWII, as was the case with so many companies, Converse changed their focus. They made rubberized shoes and other gear for the war effort. After the war, they returned to making other types of shoes. In the 50s and 60s, they made a variety of different types of shoes and were really trying to appeal to the American youth.
For many years, Converse had very little in the way of competition. However, in the 1970s, a number of other companies came onto the scene. Some of the most popular of those first companies were Puma and Adidas. Nike followed, and Reebok came shortly thereafter. While the company did put up quite a valiant fight through the 80s and 90s, they lost some ground. They were no longer the NBA"s official shoe, and people were increasingly looking at other options when it came to their footwear.
By 2001, the company was nearly gone. They had to file for bankruptcy. A company called Footwear Acquisitions bought the company from bankruptcy and tried to turn the failing company around. Just two years later, in 2003, their biggest rival, Nike, bought the company for $309 million. While this seemed like the death knell for the company, at least to the company"s fans, Nike"s purchase proved to be the best thing that could have happened to Converse.
The company has made quite a turnaround under the guidance of Nike. They have become a very popular shoe for the skateboarding crowd, and they are actually very fashionable. A number of young stars actually wear them on the red carpet. They are still making a variety of different shoes, and they are continually pushing the boundaries when it comes to style, color, and options. However, they still hold onto the past as well, and it is still possible to find some classic Converse designs.
Diehard fans will never leave their favorite shoe company, and they are making new converts every single day. The brand has been popular almost since it started more than a hundred years ago. Given their new marketing push, and the high quality they are known for, it is no wonder that they have managed to dodge the proverbial bullet and are still in existence today.