Charles Hollis “Chuck” Taylor looked down at his shoes and saw opportunity.
His Spaulding basketball sneakers were killing his feet.
Tired of the pain, the player hobbled into Converse Rubber Co. in 1921 and told owner Marquis Converse what he wanted — a sneaker with a higher ankle and a patch for better support, and a rubber sole with treads that made for a better grip for faster running and breaks.
Converse agreed to cobble one together. The upgraded All-Star shoe was born.
Over the next half-century, Taylor almost single-handedly established the Converse All-Star as the most popular athletic shoe ever.
Known as Chucks in tribute to Taylor, the shoes sold 750 million pairs before Converse was bought by Nike in 2003.
Taylor didn’t just build a brand. He also changed the face of basketball through integration, boosted the careers of some of the game’s most legendary coaches and helped make roundball one of the most popular sports in the world, notes Abraham Aamidor, author of “Chuck Taylor: Converse All Star.”