Why Do Converse Sneakers Have Fuzzy Soles?

Have you felt the felt? If you wear Converse tennis shoes, no doubt you have. Each pair has a little bit of felt on their soles, which gets eroded almost immediately with use. But what might seem like a fuzzy oddity is really a bit of financial logic for Converse -- putting felt on the bottom of its shoes allows the company to classify the footwear as slippers rather than sneakers, therefore drastically lowering the amount of import taxes it has to pay, from nearly 40 percent to less than 5 percent. Most of the felt is located around the edge of the shoes, but it takes up more than 50 percent of the surface area, thus giving Converse its major tax break.

These facts were made for walking:

  • Tennis shoes got the name "sneakers" in the late 1800s, as people noticed that you could walk around in them without making much noise.
  • The Portland State University student who crafted the Nike "swoosh" got paid $35 USD for the iconic logo.
  • There was no such things as left and right shoes until 1818, when a Philadelphia company realized that one shape doesn't fit all.
More Info: Smithsonian magazine

Discussion Comments


The Nike Swoosh logo was created by graphic designer Carolyn Davidson in 1971.


This gives a new angle on calling them sneakers.

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