Converse /'k?nv?rs/ is an American shoe company with a production output that primarily consists of apparel, skating shoes and lifestyle brand footwear. Converse is known as one of Americas most iconic footwear companies. The company was founded in 1908 by Marquis Mills Converse and has been a subsidiary of Nike, Inc. since 2003. The company lost a huge monopoly after other companies presented their own styles, but Converse rebounded and changed the targeted audience. During World War II, the company shifted its manufacturing for the public, and instead made them for the military. It was one of the few producers of athletic shoes and for over a half century the company dominated the American court shoe market. Converse shoes are distinguished by a number of features, including; the companys star insignia, the All Stars rubber sole, smooth rounded top, and wrap-around strip that have become extremely distinguishable internationally. Converse manufactures its products under the Cons, Chuck Taylor All-Star, John Varvatos, and Jack Purcell trade names. In addition to apparel and footwear, the company sells other items globally through retailers in over 160 countries and through approximately 75 company-owned retail stores across the United States, and employed 2,658 in the U.S. in 2015.