Enduring favourites among everyone from punks and skaters to weightlifters (yes, you read that right – more on that later), Converse All Stars are rightfully among the world’s most iconic trainers.
They pull off the rare achievement of looking stylish while also being totally casual, making them a wardrobe essential for sneakerheads across the globe.
The lasting popularity of Converse shoes and the brand’s distinctive philosophy mean that it has a particularly interesting backstory. Its history stretches back for more than a century, yet the classic design of the All Star has changed very little. It just goes to show – why tamper with perfection?
If you’re a Converse fan who wants to know more about the brand and its history, or you’re simply looking for some useful tips on how to keep own Converse trainers in tip-top condition, then keep reading – we have all the answers!
Why are Converse so popular?
There are lots of reasons why Converse shoes have been a staple on many a sneaker rack for so long. The most obvious being their sheer versatility. Whether you’re at work, heading out on the town or simply running everyday errands, Converse are perfect for every occasion.
Another factor that explains Converse’s consistent popularity is their simple design aesthetic which has changed little over the last century. Many a trainer trend has come and gone over the years, (some of which leave us cringing nowadays at the thought of wearing) but Converse have remained at the top of the game.
These iconic trainers are also remarkably durable thanks to their trademark rubber sole, which has made them a firm favourite among skaters and punks; they still manage to look cool even when they’ve been scuffed within an inch of their lives!
Converse: the history
Founded in 1908, Converse began as a brand specialising in galoshes (rubber shoes), which reflected the growing demand for sportswear as professionalised spectator sports rose to prominence globally. However, trainers were not regarded as being suitable for ordinary leisure wear at this time, so interest was largely restricted to sports participants.
In 1920, the signature Converse trainer was given their famous name – ‘All Star’. The choice of name was connected to the shoe’s sportswear origins to promote Converse’s performance-enhancing design.
Basketball player, Chuck Taylor, visited the company’s offices that same year on the hunt for a shoe that would provide his feet with better protection while playing. Taylor became an avid champion of the All Star – so much so, that his name became attached to them. By 1936, the American Olympic basketball team were wearing All Stars on their way to winning gold.
In the ‘50s, Converse crossed over from the sporting arena to pop culture. James Dean was famously photographed wearing low-top Jack Purcell Converse trainers which put the brand in the limelight as a cultural phenomenon.
They’ve remained as such ever since; a permanent fixture of popular culture through the punk explosion in the 1970s, grunge in the 1990s and casual street style today.
Even perfect for leg day!
Converse have (perhaps unexpectedly) shown newfound popularity among weightlifters in more recent years – we weren’t kidding when we said they were versatile!
The main reason behind people wearing these trainers when they’re squatting or deadlifting, is that their flat sole offers stability and helps to keep feet firmly in place. Even top professional powerlifters swear by their Chuck Taylors.
Where are Converse made?
The Converse brand is as all-American as they come and for nearly a century the brand’s famous trainers were made in the USA. However, the company experienced major financial trouble in the early part of the 21st century and was subsequently saved from bankruptcy by Nike.
Following its takeover deal, Nike moved Converse production overseas for the first time in the brand’s history. Today, Converse trainers are made in a variety of locations in Asia, including China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia, rather than in the United States.
How to clean Converse
You might think that worrying about how to wash Converse defeats the object of wearing them – as for many, their everyday wear and tear is simply part of their style. In fact, keeping these trainers clean is actually pretty easy. Here are some top tips to bear in mind:
- Check the weather forecast first! If you really want to keep your shoes spotless, then you’ll need to be careful about when you wear them out and about. If the weather’s a bit grim (and there’s likely to be a lot of muck and dirt around) it might be a good idea to leave your pristine Converse at home
- Don’t throw them in the washing machine – this is a major no-no which Converse specifically advises against. Instead, use mild soap and lukewarm water to remove marks and stains. Take care when rubbing the material: use a soft, damp cloth for the canvas and a small brush (a toothbrush should be fine) to clean the rubber toecap and sole
- Don’t put them in the dryer either! Again, Converse recommends that once you’ve cleaned your trainers, you leave them to dry of their own accord. Putting them in the dryer can leave your everyday essentials looking rather shrunken and withered – stuff newspaper inside your shoes to help them dry quickly and retain their shape
- Make sure you remove the laces before washing them. It might be a bit of a faff, but if you try to clean your shoes while leaving the laces in, they won’t be as clean as they could be
Where to buy Converse
At Wynsors, we take great pride in providing you with an unbeatable range of amazingly stylish and comfortable shoes, at amazingly low prices – our range of Converse trainers is no exception. From Chuck Taylors to Star Players, we’ve got a brilliant Converse selection for you to choose from.
If there’s anything else you need to know about Converse shoes, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team of experts via Facebook and they’ll be more than happy to help! Visit us online or in-store today to explore our diverse range of quality, stylish shoes from top brands.