When purchasing a pair of Converse many want to know where Converse are made, and whether this makes a difference to their quality.
I am a long term fan of the Converse brand and in this guide I’ll be answering the above for you, along with photos of my own Converse to show their production details.
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Where Are Converse Made?
Converse sneakers are made in factories overseas in Asia; in Indonesia, China, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Pakistan. Prior to 2001 Converse were produced in the USA. Converse sneakers that are ‘Made in America’ are now coveted collectors items.
As you can see in the below photo my own pair of Converse high tops are labelled ‘Made in Vietnam’:
I am aware many potential Converse customers are concerned about their production quality, however I have owned several pairs of Converse over the years and they are of excellent quality in my experience.
I purchase mine from the official Amazon Converse store page or from converse.com, depending on who has the best deal.
The sneakers are designed in the USA and then produced in Asia. The production quality is the same across the board, as the brand hold all sneaker manufacturing to the same high standard. Currently Converse are owned by Nike (since 2003).
Converse distribute their sneakers to 172 retail stores worldwide. You can expect the same level of quality no matter which store you purchase them from.
In the factories in Asia Converse are made with high quality rubber soles, tough canvas upper and quality metal eyelets.
The soles are heat sealed to the body of the shoe, using a process called vulcanization that Converse invented. This process involves attaching the soft rubber soles to the canvas via a heating process (of 170˚C / 300˚F) that toughens the rubber and seals it to the canvas. The result is a tight seal that prevents the sole coming away from the body of the sneakers.
Watch the process for yourself on YouTube here:
A Brief History of Converse Production
The Converse brand got it’s start in 1908 when it was developed by Marquis Mills. He had a lot of experience in the rubber industry, and he wanted to start his own independent rubber company. His plan was to introduce ‘tennis shoes’ to the American market.
Mills along with his team learned how to take uncured rubber and cure it, enabling it to last longer. Due to this curing technique called vulcanization, Converse developed highly durable soles.
Over time Converse became known as basketball shoes (after they produced their first basketball shoe design in 1918), not tennis shoes, and became a huge success in the footwear industry thanks to the rising popularity of basketball as a sport.
Chuck Taylor, a basketball player/coach/salesman, joined the company in 1923 and provided a vital insight into basketball, and the requirements of footwear for the sport. He would help basketball teams order Converse sneakers and played a key role in the boom of the company.
The Converse brand became hugely popular in the 1950s and 1960s, however in the 1970s they began to struggle due to new rising footwear players, like Nike, Puma and Adidas. By the late 1980s they collapsed, struggling through the 1990s and early 2000s until they filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
It was in 2001 the American Converse factories closed down and all production was moved overseas to Asia. The brand was bought by Nike in 2003 and has since seen a revival thanks to a resurgence of 1980s fashion trends in the 2010s, becoming a multi billion dollar brand by 2015.
Converse footwear is a popular choice amongst celebrities today, from rappers to models.
Are Converse Made in China Original?
Converse manufactured in China are genuine and original, if they are produced in an official Converse factory. When purchasing a pair of Converse make sure to buy them from a reputable retailer, as there are knockoffs made in China.
There are many Chinese factories that produce fake Converse, however Converse themselves do have official factories in China. Do your research before purchasing a pair made in China and make sure to go through a reputable retailer, or better still the official Converse website, converse.com.
Converse produce the majority of their footwear in Vietnam, so it’s actually quite uncommon to find a pair produced in China. I’ve never owned a pair that were made in China, however I am in the UK so this may be why.
Thank you for reading this Converse production guide, I hope you now have all the facts as to where Converse are made.
For more Converse content, check out:
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).