Converse – 1986 Footwear Catalog
Author/Publisher: Converse, Inc.
Year Published: 1985 (?)
40 pages, saddle loop bound
1986 was certainly a landmark year for Converse, as they had recovered from the drubbing dished out to them during the 1970’s, and were showing few signs of the instability that can often beset a company that is in a constant state of flux (they were sold in 1979, then again in 1982). At the heart of the 1986 product line was their state of the art R&D facility, featuring a Biomechanical Lab that, “helps us design each style to prevent injury, to maximize kinetic energy, and to provide the fit that top performance demands.” Towards the end of the year, they would be acquired by Interco, a company that apparently had a goal of only operating in alliteratively aligned categories (furniture, furnishings, and with Converse, footwear). Needless to say, Interco filed for Chapter 11 less than 5 years later.
Sneakerature’s Take: The 70’s and 80’s were a remarkable time for sneaker companies. A population-wide movement towards sport and exercise coupled with a growing acceptance of ‘retail culture’, aka buying products for reasons other than purely functional, was a combination that could (and did) have an effect on a company that was analagous to the one that the primordial ooze had on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As companies scrambled to maximize their chance of hitting the TMNT lottery, the breadth of their product lines exploded and included categories that, in hindsight, were…slightly incongruous with their core brand competencies. This misalignment notwithstanding, not only is this an incredible collection of noteworthy shoes, but there are two in particular, the Fencing Elite and Checkpoint that are worthy of retro-consideration.