INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The name behind one of the most successful selling shoes in America has Indiana roots. Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Stars were named after Indiana native, Chuck Taylor.
Taylor was a Hoosier who never played in the NBA, but his namesake shoes are still selling to this day.
Taylor was born in Brown County and spent his teenage years in Bartholomew County, Indiana.
According to Abe Aamidor, author of Chuck Taylor, All Star, Taylor went to high school in Columbus, Indiana.
“He starred on the basketball team there. He was the captain of the varsity team when he was a sophomore,” said Aamidor.
Aamidor said Taylor left Indiana to join a basketball team. He became very successful and popular and began traveling the country doing basketball demonstrations and selling converse shoes.
“He did not invent the shoe. People wore Converse. The All Star shoe was born in 1917,” said Aamidor.
It wasn’t until after converse went out of business in 1928 that Taylor’s name became a part of the brand.
Aamidor said the family that revived the company wanted to use his name for marketing purposes.
“Instead of selling the Converse All Star, it becomes the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star with his autograph on it,” said Aamidor.
By the 1970s the shoe wasn’t used by many basketball teams anymore, according to Aamidor. Sales however, remained high.
According to Aamidor, more than a billion pairs of Converse shoes have been sold to date.
“It caught on as a fashion statement. Why did it catch on as a fashion statement? That’s a mystery,” said Aamidor.
Aamidor thinks Chuck Taylor may have had something to do with it. He said there’s something every Hoosier can learn from Taylor.
“He had a dream. He invented himself. You can do that. He did it. Why not?” said Aamidor.
Taylor was one day shy of his 68th birthday when he died.
2017 will the 100th anniversary of the Converse All Star.
Indiana University will be reissuing Aamidor’s biography on Chuck Taylor to mark the occasion.