Marquis M. Converse founded converse in 1908 and is considered by many, including Converse itself, to be America's original sports company. Converse's heritage and popularity amongst both athletes and entertainers over their long history has made the brand a big part of pop culture. Most of that popularity can be credited to salesman, Chuck Taylor, whose name was placed on the Converse All-Star in 1923.
Although the All-Star didn't initially sell well when it originally released in 1917, Chuck Taylor's request for a reinforced toe piece and reinforcement on the ankles, added just the right tweaks to help make what would become the best selling Converse of all time. Chucks have been the part of many collaborations and seen on the feet of both athletes and celebrities for many years. A few famous Chuck Taylor All-Star wearers include musicians like The Ramones, Snoop Dogg, and The Strokes. While actors like Will Smith and Leonard DiCaprio have been regularly seen wearing Chuck Taylor high-tops in some of their films. Chuck Taylor sneakers also have become popular in many subcultures over the years, such as skateboarding and BMX in the 1980s.
As the company grew, they began to acquire other companies, one of which was Goodrich, who had created a shoe for badminton champion Jack Purcell in the 1930s. Converse added Jack Purcell's signature to the shoes in the early 1970s when they acquired Goodrich, and ever since, the Converse Jack Purcell has been an iconic part of sneaker culture with its uniquely reinforced toecap.
In the 1970s as Converse began to make basketball shoes, more iconic designs were created. In 1974 the Converse One Star was created, it has become another iconic shoe thanks to its single star on the sides. Later versions of the One Star included the arrow in front of the star, which would become the Converse logo commonly referred to today as the chevron logo. The One Star, sometimes referred to as the Jack Star, has also been worn by many famous people, including skateboarder Guy Mariano and Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.
Another one of Converse's classic shoes is the high top Converse All Star Pro or Pro Leather. The Pro Leather was worn by Julius 'Dr. J' Erving in the 1970s and is also the shoe Michael Jordan wore while playing at North Carolina for the Tarheels.
During the 1980s another of the many iconic Converse shoes was created. The Converse Weapon released in 1986 and was worn by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The Converse Weapon was a part of some of the most memorable commercials in basketball history with Converse playing on the Lakers versus Celtics, and Magic versus Bird rivalries.
The 1980s were also successful for Converse in the world of tennis shoes. They created signature models for both Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert. The simple designs both featured the name of the tennis stars on the tongue but the Converse logo was not on the side panel of the shoe like many of the other Converse shoes.