If you’ve ever owned a pair of Converse sneakers it’s likely you’ll have felt a little confused when realising the logo patch is placed on the inside ankle of the shoe. At first it seems counter-intuitive, after all why place the logo in the least visible part of the sneaker? Despite its strangeness, there is a great reason for it’s placement, which is surprisingly clever!
In 1921 Converse hired basketball player Charles Taylor, whose signature Chuck Taylor shoes sport the logo on the inside. Legend has it that the patch was added as protection for the inner ankle and to lean into the company name, defined by being in reverse order or “opposite”. The logo was placed “conversely” to the logical spot as a creative nod to the brand name.
It’s easy to overlook Converse’s role in basketball. These days, brands like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok dominate the sport. But Converse was the first to produce an athletic shoe with a rubber sole. They’ve been worn by legends such as Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. Thus, when Nike bought them in 2003, they were buying hoop history, complete with its logo on the inside of the shoe.
Converse’s decline on the basketball court led to it being embraced as the counter-culture sneaker of choice. The seemingly strange placement of the logo seems to fit well with the counter-culture image the sneakers have today – being a little odd is cool!
Their boom in popularity among those who favor counter-culture ideals wasn’t just due to their name or quirky logo placement. Many of their shoes are vegan, even the glue. In addition, Converse was made in the USA until 2001, and there was considerable concern in the 80s and 90s about sweatshop-produced sneakers. They appealed ethically to many people due to these reasons – but the unique logo placement also appealed to the cultural rebels.
Converse Inside Logo Placement: It’s In The Name
Converse’s inside logo placement is essentially a fashion statement for being different from the rest. After all, the word “converse” doesn’t just mean having a good tongue wag. According to Merriam-Webster and Collins, the term is also used to mean “show the other side,” the “opposite,” or “reverse.” The word “conversely” is routinely used in academia before a rebuttal is unleashed.
Thus, the logo is placed counter to expectations. How cool is that?
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Converse Was A Revolutionary Shoe
When Converse shoes debuted, they were revolutionary. The manufacturer was pumping out rubber galoshes, protecting people from the wet. But the sales would go dry during summer, creating cashflow problems and staff being temporarily laid off.
The summer solution was a canvas oxford with a no-skid rubber sole. At the time, not many shoe companies did this, preferring the stiff, traditional sole. But these casual yet dressy shoes were not designed with athletes in mind. Yet, that’s who embraced them.
In 1921, basketball player Charles “Chuck” Taylor introduced himself, wanting a basketball shoe. The oxford was turned into a sneaker, and they raised the height to give players extra ankle support. They were called the “Non-Skid,” with the motto, “The All-American Basket-Ball Shoe.”
(Yes, they really spelled it “basket-ball.”)
The move was unique, as the few sports shoes available at this time were aimed at games such as:
- Running (Track and Field)
Basketball was still in its infancy and a niche market. If Converse wanted to sell more athletic shoes aimed at the game, it needed to create more athletes that played it. Thus, “Chuck” and his league would travel, playing basketball, showing off the sneakers, and then handing out leaflets to specters with the game’s rules and instructions.
Converse Logo: A 1930s Chuck Taylor Revival
The Converse Chuck Taylor logo didn’t appear on the inside ankle until 1933. It was part of a bid to salvage a dying company.
Founder Marquis Converse had sunk a lot of money into the tire industry, which floundered, putting the shoe company at risk. Thus, in 1929, as The Great Depression crashed into the economy, Marquis Converse was forced to sell. After changing hands a few times, it ended up under the leadership of Joseph, Harry, and Dewy Stone.
They reached out to the shoe company’s salesman and basketball player, Charles Taylor. Hence, his name was added to the logo with the classic inside ankle patch. By this point, Converse was not the only rubber shoe in the United States. But they were known as the elite and came with an upmarket price.
Their reputation was revived, becoming known as the shoes with the grippiest grip. The patented tread gained such fame that it became the 1936 US Olympic Basketball Team Sneaker. But they’d added a new twist, abandoning traditional black for an all-white shoe. It was known as the “Olympic White All-Stars.”
Is Converse Still On The Basketball Court?
The 1984 Olympics was the last time Converse ruled the basketball court. After that, their popularity as sports shoes began to dive. They shifted to being a fashion brand, first embraced by rock n’ roll stars and counter-culture folks. But these days, they are beloved by everyone, including the fashion forward.
Converse has tried to rejoin the court. In 2010 – 2012 they were seen on some expensive feet, including Udonis Haslem. However, these shoes were not the famous “Chucks” but leather models like the “Pro.”
Do Any Converse High Tops Have The Logo On The Outside?
Almost all Converse high tops have the logo on the inside ankle of the shoe. Placement anywhere else is a red flag for a fake (if you’re curious how to tell the difference between real and fake Converse, check out my article here).
However, there are two notable exceptions:
- Jewel All-Star
- All-Star 2000 (logo on both sides)
The reason for the Jewel All-Star placement is thought to be due to the plastic “jewel” star in the logo. At the inside of the ankle, they’d be vulnerable to knocking against each other, causing damage.
The All-Star 2000 is more of a puzzle. The logo is actually on three sides: outer, inner, and the heel end of the sole. They were made in a desperate bid to compete with Air Jordans. So perhaps they stuck the logo everywhere to ensure they would be seen in the sea of the swoosh.
Do Fake Converse Shoes Have An Outside Logo?
Fake Converse shoes are big business. But one tell-tale sign of a scam is the patch out the outside unless one of the (no longer for sale) two models that bucked tradition. Unfortunately, not all faux-Converses have the patch in the wrong spot. Thus, recognizing an imposture may take a higher level of eagle-eye skills.
Other Converse logo red flags to keep an eye out for, including:
- The ® is not on the Chuck Taylor (Chuck 70) patch after 2008.
- “Chuck Taylor” is in a blurred or thick script instead of the clear and thin lettering
- Discoloration of the background, such as the white being tinted blue
- Blurred star
- Uneven star coloring
- Logo over or undersized
The Converse logo’s placement on the inside of the shoe is primarily a fashion statement. It also plays into the meaning behind the brand’s name to provide the “opposite.” The original basketball shoe was revolutionary and ran counter to culture. While they are no longer popular on the court, they’ve obtained legions of fashion-forward fans.
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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).