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The Drainage | March 20, 2018

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5 things you didn’t know about Converse’s Chuck Taylors

5 things you didn’t know about Converse’s Chuck Taylors
Josh Podolske

First off, yes he was a real person, like Duncan Hines, not like Betty Crocker. Here are 5 things you didn’t know about Converse’s Chuck Taylors.


The legendary Ramones did not wear Chuck Taylors, they wore women’s Keds.

According to Tommy Ramone:

“Mostly, we wore Keds. It’s basically an urban legend that the Ramones alway wore Chuck Taylors. On the cover of the first Ramones album from 1976 we’re all wearing a kind of Keds that’s almost like a woman’s shoe.”

Joey Ramone was featured on the cover of Punk Magazine #3, which was Illustrated by John Holmstrom. Joey was caricatured wearing them and everyone assumed the Ramones wore them. Any of the Ramones albums that had an illustrated cover were done by Holmstrom. Here is a link to some pages of Punk Issue#3

In later years, Marky Ramone would replace Tommy Ramone, and Marky and Dee Dee were the ones who wore Chuck’s.

Marky Ramone would later say the reason that they all wore Chuck’s was because the greaser gangs in Brooklyn at the time all wore leather jackets, and Chuck Taylors. They switched to Chucks because U.S. Keds and Pro Keds were not being made anymore.

” I had no idea why I drew Joey wearing Chuck’s at the time. I must of had a pair lying around in my room.” -John Holstrom


“Joey never wore them. He needed a lot of arch support and Chuck’s are bad for that. He wore Reeboks.” – Marky Ramone

Charles Taylor never received royalty payments for a shoe with his name on it.

There is no patent for the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star, there isn’t one person that the company can say created the shoe. Chuck Taylor sold over 600 million sneakers and never received or asked for royalties or licensing money.  He did have an unlimited expense account. Which is unheard of, even by today’s standards.

He was the most successful salesman in Converse’s history, he knew every basketbal coach in the United States at the time personally, and by all accounts, everyone liked him. Could you imagine Jordan selling all of the shoes he has sold and not getting a dime?

His name and the embroidered patch were added in 1923 to help with ankle support.



So many Converse Chuck Taylor’s were produced that every man, woman and child in America would have 2 pairs.

5 Color choices. For 60 years.

The original 5 colors the company produced were: Black, White, Red, Navy, & Natural. Low top, or high top. Sure, if you played basketball, Converse would do custom colors, like Carolina Blue for the team, but for consumers, those 5 colors were it. It wasn’t until mid 1960 that they offered a wider range of colors from pressure of the NBA, as they were the official shoe for decades.

Currently on the Converse site, you can do 200+ combinations of any color you want. Every aspect of the shoe is now customizable if you so choose.

Every 43 seconds, there is a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars purchased globally.

Nike owns Converse.

Converse couldn’t compete with what they thought they were at the time, a basketball shoe company. When Nike signed Jordan in 1984 it changed the shoe market. Now it was all about performance shoes, and tech materials with acronyms that were suppose to mean something. Converse filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and Nike purchased them in 2003 for $309 million.

Nike also owns: Hurley, Cole Haan, and Umbro. They are trying to sell both Umbro and Cole Haan currently.


Converse has a recording studio.

In 2011 Converse opened up a state of the art recording studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.They also recently opened one up in Austin, Texas as well.  The best part about this, is that is is completely free for bands to use. There is an application process. Start the process at

After the acquisition by Nike, they focused on being a lifestyle brand. Converse says Rubber Tracks is not a loss leader.

Loss Leader definition:

1. (marketing) An item that is sold at or below cost in an effort to stimulate other profitable sales.