Converse – Before the Swoosh, there was the Star pt 2

1918-1929: Rise in Basket and Alliance with Chuck Taylor

In 1918 Chuck Taylor, who at the time was in High School comes across the Converse All Star. He is instantly smitten with the shoes. Later in 1921 he is hired at Converse, one of his biggest roles with Converse was adding the star ankle patch to the All Star shoes. Likewise he changed the sole of the All Star in order to improve both the flexibility and traction of the shoe. Furthermore Chuck Taylor was Converse’s biggest salesman, going city to city selling pair of Converse from the back of his truck. Converse adds Chuck Taylor’s signature to the All Star, making it the more modern “Chuck Taylor All Star,” as there way of saying thanks for his loyalty to the company. Chuck Taylor was also a well known basketball advocate occasionally setting up basketball programs so kids could be introduced to the sport. Slowly but surely basket became a more recognized and serious sport. Converse was quickly growing in recognition because of this. Converse began to dabble in other shoes models. Around this time the fabled Skoots was created. It featured various types of soles and design changes and was eventually lost to time.

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Chuck Taylor originally introduced the all star patch to the Converse All Star in 1921.

Converse Skoots 1920s. What it was designed for it not 100% known. The model was later used for the military, without the Skoots logo. They are highly sought after.

In 1929 Converse goes bankrupt and is sold to Mitchell Kaufman.

1930-1947: WWII and Rise to Power

By the time the 1930s rolled around basketball was starting to become a pro sport. Because of Chuck Taylor’s endless devotion to both basketball and Converse The All Star becomes the standard shoe of choice for Professional basketball players. Mitchell Kaufman dies in 1930 and Converse is handled by Albert Wechsler.

In 1933 Jack Purcell, a Canadian citizen, becomes the badminton champion of the world. That same year Converse is sold to the Stone family. Jack Purcell released his signature shoes the Jack Purcell in 1935. Bf Goodrich manufactured the shoe, and it was one of their most popular models. As WWII rolled around many privatized American companies either worked under the US government or had a contract with them. Converse inked a contract with US government in December of 1946. Under this contract they initially made basic training shoes for US army recruits as well as making flight boots for soldiers in the air force. After WWII ended, Converse would begin to carve out their empire.

Jack Purcell designs shoes for tennis and they are made by BF Goodrich, the tire company, starting in 1935.

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1930s All Star leather shoes. They featured the Comfort Arch system, double players name box on interior tounges, no star patch, welt style sole, and interior line stitching.

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1938 -39 ad.

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1946 basic US Army training shoes.

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Converse WWII flight boots.

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