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Converse

It was in 1908 that the Converse Rubber Corporation opened for business. At first the company only made galoshes and other work related rubber shoes on a seasonal basis. But eventually the company decided it was more efficient to keep their work force employed year round, and began making athletic shoes. With the popularity of basketball, the Converse Corporation saw the need to develop a shoe that people could wear while playing basketball. After lots of research and development, the very first version of the All Star basketball shoe was produced in 1917. The All Star shoe originally came in natural brown colors with black trim. In the 1920s, Converse All Stars were made in all black canvas or leather versions. The All Star was to be the first mass produced basketball shoe in North America. It consisted of a very thick rubber sole, and a ankle covering canvas (or sometimes leather) upper. At first sales were slow. They would rapidly increase a few years later, thanks to Charles "Chuck" H. Taylor.

After World War II, the classic black and white Chuck Taylor All Star High Top was introduced in 1949, a much more eye-catching shoe than the monochrome black models that had been produced up to that time. Basketball was now a major professional sport, with the merger of the National Basketball League and the Basketball Association of America becoming the National Basketball Association (NBA). Chuck Taylor All Stars were the shoe for professional, college, high school, and all serious players, and these distinctive black or white high tops were part of the look of each team. In 1957 the low cut All Star was introduced and became popular as a more casual alternative to the high top. By this time Converse had an 80% share of the entire sneaker industry. Because of his tireless efforts promoting the sport, Taylor was called the "Ambassador to Basketball" and in 1968, Charles H. Chuck Taylor was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, one year later he passed away.

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