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Converse All Star: ode to a myth

The Converse All Star are probably the most popular sneakers of all time. The origin of these iconic shoes dates back to the beginning of the 20th Century.

It was in 1908 that the Converse Rubber Company started its production. It was mostly focused in the seasonal production of rubber galoshes and other rubber footwear especially for the workers’ needs. Later on the company decided to concentrate the efforts of its workers year round rather than seasonally and decided to manufacture a new pair of shoes that could be sold (and used) 12 months a year.

In 1917 the first prototype of the Converse All Star hit the market. It was a pair of shoes born to play basketball. The Converse All Star had a thick rubber sole and a canvas covering the ankles. As every major industrial success out there, at the beginning sales went slow and it wasn’t until later, when Mr Chuck Taylor saw the potential of these shoes, that the Converse All Star became so popular.

Chuck Taylor was a basketball player who had the intuition to link the circulation of these shoes with the diffusion of basketball. He was so fond of these sneakers that decided to join the Converse Rubber Company as salesman and spent his entire career travelling the United States to promote basketball and consequently the Converse All Star.

His work at the company was so appreciated by the Converse’s executives that in 1932 Chuck Taylor’s printed signature appeared on the logo of the Converse All Star. A worldwide phenomenon was born. The shoes went on to turn into an iconic item loved by teenagers the world over.

Thanks to their simple design made of clean lines it was easy for the company to customize new models every year. Colorful canvas started to appear on the shelves of footwear stores and celebrities adopted these shoes as their signature sneakers. Rock stars like Kurt Cobain and Slash wore the Converse All Star during their concerts. Buying a pair of these sneakers became then a statement of entire generations of rock fans and enthusiasts.

Nowadays the Converse All Stars needs to face the competition of giants like Nike or Puma, but the myth of the Converse All Star will never fade thanks to the engagement that simple shoes made of rubber and leather started to create back in 1917.

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