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Chuck Taylor Was A Converse Shoe Salesman In Chicago

By Samantha Abernethy in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 13, 2012 10:10PM

This pair of "chucks" made it to the top of the Sears Tower. Mr. Taylor would be proud. gonzo67

SPIN Magazine recently put together an oral history of the world's coolest sneaker: Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. One fact in particular stood out to us. We never knew Chuck Taylor was a real person, let alone that the man had Chicago roots. SPIN writes:

SAM SMALLIDGE (Converse archivist) Chuck Taylor was a salesman for Marquis Converse and the Converse shoe company, starting out in the 1920s in Chicago. Taylor would spend most of the year on the road, spreading the gospel of basketball, conducting coaching clinics, selling the shoes. Basketball was still new back then. It needed someone like him traveling around, teaching people the right way to play, talking about the health benefits, and developing relationships with college coaches. There was already a shoe very much like the Chuck Taylor All Star being sold when he was hired, but to help with marketing, and to establish that he was a basketball expert, an ankle patch with the name Chuck Taylor was added in 1932.

Taylor traveled around the country hawking them as great basketball sneakers, but as Ice Cube told SPIN, "that shit gives you flat feet."

LARRY BROWN (Basketball Hall of Fame coach, University of North Carolina point guard, 1960-63) When I played at North Carolina, Chuck Taylor used to come by. He'd give basketball clinics. But he was really a salesman. He'd come and visit different schools and try to get them to commit to wearing his shoes. There were even players, when they were done playing, Converse would sign them as sales reps. My greatest memory of Chuck Taylor — probably '61 or '62 — is that he told Coach [Dean] Smith that he'd make us special weighted shoes in Carolina blue. The idea was that we'd wear the weighted shoes in practice, and then during the games, we'd run faster and jump higher. Well, we tried them for one practice and everyone pulled a hamstring.

Well, I guess Al Bundy isn't the most famous shoe salesman figure in Chicago history. As Dennis Rodman told SPIN, "So thanks, Chuck Taylor, whoever the fuck that is." Read the whole article. it's a page-turner.