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A brand you didn't know produced football kits

In addition to the iconic All Stars, Converse also had a very brief and long-forgotten stint in football

A brand you didn't know produced football kits In addition to the iconic All Stars, Converse also had a very brief and long-forgotten stint in football

Converse and football should have been two parallel lines that never meet right? Wrong. In fact, the brand born of Marquis M. Converse's great intuition produced a football kit at the end of the last millennium, an episode as brief as it is curious. But first, let's rewind the tape: in 1908, in a small and unknown town in the state of Massachusetts, the story begins of a brand that will become, also thanks to former basketball player Chuck Taylor, one of the most iconic and recognised in the world. Converse was, and in part still is, more than just a shoe brand, a symbol or a lifestyle, never disappearing and able to survive over time, stylistically far removed from the catwalks and fashion week catwalks, a so-called evergreen.

From the basketball courts of the 1950s to the counter-cultural movements of the 1970s, Converse had sold over 600 million shoes before the end of the millennium. But at the same time it was having big financial problems, risking bankruptcy several times until it was bought by Nike in 2003, which completely changed its production strategy. In an attempt to find a new way forward, Converse tried to enter the football kit market. This was a very unusual parenthesis for a brand which, until the 1990s, was used to monopolising the NBA with its shoes and was therefore extremely distant from the world of football. Despite the great influence shared with adidas in the world of basketball, in 2001 Converse created two different kits for Club Atlético Nacional S. A., better known as Atlético Nacional de Medellín. There does not seem to be a direct link between the American brand and the Colombian team, but at the end of 1999 Atlético Nacional decided to end its association with PUMA to become the first club sponsored by Converse.

The shirt designed by Converse was very simple, far from the patterns, designs and disparate colours that other kit suppliers offered their clubs. A simplicity perhaps too marked for the Colombian league, which has accustomed us to an entirely different aesthetic, complex and abstract in some ways. But the strangest element of the Atlético Nacional jersey concerns the choice of logos used. Unlike the logo adopted at the end of the 1990s, the American company decided to place a band from the shoulders down with the logo designed in 1970 by the artist Jim Labadini, while in the centre, exactly on the chest, Converse placed the star that we still find today in the iconic All Stars designed by Chuck Taylor

After just one season, perhaps due to the less than excellent sporting results of Atlético Nacional, Converse decided to abandon the club and consequently football. A very short experience but that ended the parenthesis opened in the world of football and that later led the Colombians to replace them with Umbro.