A Short History of Converse

Picture shows SCV Pastel colours Converse

Converse shoes have been a staple ware in wardrobes for decades, but what made them so popular?

Converse shoes never go out of style. Or so it would seem. Millions of us wear them to work, for leisure, on the red carpet and even get married in them. Remarkably, the design has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in the 1920s as a basketball shoe.

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Mylie Cyrus is a fan of Converse All Star

Chuck Taylor All Star

The design of the Chuck Taylor All Star, otherwise known simply as Converse or All Stars, is true to its origins. A stitched upper portion, a toe cap that is usually made of white rubber, with a sole of brown rubber. The original and most widely known version of the shoe is made from cotton canvas. The innovative detail of the original shoe was the ‘loose lining’ of soft canvas that was intended to provide flexibility and prevent blisters.

Picture shows SCV Converse and jeans being worn
A St Cyr customer with their black and white Converse, as first launched in 1949

Retro Apparel

By the 1960s Converse had captured about 70 to 80 percent of the basketball shoe market. This number declined during the 1970s when basketball players started wearing other shoe brands. It wasn’t until 1980s when All Stars popularity surged owing to people wearing them as a retro-style casual footwear. And we’ve been enjoying them like this ever since.

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Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009) with his brother Jermaine (right) at their home, Los Angeles, 28th November 1972]

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Staying True to Design with Colour

Wikipedia states: ‘When first designed Converse All Star had three main styles: a monochromatic shoe with a black canvas upper and black rubber soles, an all-white, high-top model with blue and red trim (designed for the 1936 Olympic Games), and an all black leather and rubber shoe.’

Picture shows Screen Shot of SCV Insta feed of Converse

Some of the many Converse we stock at St Cyr (and colours). Check out our Instagram feed for updates.

In 1949 Converse launched the black canvas with a white toe cap, laces and outer wraps. And while we still see many of the original colour-ways today we also see All Stars in multiple colour, prints and fabrics.

Only the high-cut shoe design features the iconic ankle patch with the All Star logo, but the heel of the shoe’s high- and low-cut designs include a glued-on label with an ‘ALL★STAR’ logo. The low-cut shoes also have a tag with the same logo as the heel stitched onto the tongue. In 2013 the logo appearing on the heel and tongue was slightly altered to include ‘CONVERSE’ in addition to ‘ALL★STAR,’ but the ankle patches of the high-cut shoes remained unchanged.

Wikipedia

Words by Emily B

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