Tires, as well as sneakers, are made of fabric and rubber. Therefore, there should be no surprise that many tire manufacturers at one time made sneakers. Interestingly, in South African slang, "tackies" can be either car tires or sneakers.
The Converse Rubber Shoe Company diversified into automobile tires in the late 1920s. They promptly lost their shirts and went into receivership in 1928.
Firestone sold sneakers in the past. In fact, Firestone tire stores once marketed all types of products (including radios and television sets).
B. F. Goodrich, if you remember your Baby Boomer advertising, was the tire company without the blimp. In the early 1970s, B. F. Goodrich sold their sneaker designs to Converse and left the sneaker market. B. F. Goodrich originally made the PF Flyer sneaker line. The Jack Purcell (still made by Converse) was originally a B. F. Goodrich sneaker design.
In the late 1980s, B. F. Goodrich sold their tire business to Uniroyal. Eventually, they changed their name to "Goodrich Corporation" to avoid market confusion with the tire brand. Goodrich Corporation later on was acquired by United Technologies.
familiar logo of The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company incorporates a classic and frequently-used graphic which veritably makes most think: "TRACK SHOES!" (The graphic actually portrays the winged foot of Mercury, the resident messenger of the pantheon of Roman mythological gods.) Goodyear once made sneakers under the "Wingfoot" name, but now they only sell rubber and polymer material to the sneaker industry.
The United States Rubber Company originally made Keds. This vintage advertisement of the United States Rubber Export Company offered many products to Latin American buyers: not only the familiar high-top KEDS sneakers (called "botinas," which translates into English as "ankle boots"), but also tires, rubber hose, and V-belts.
Later on, United States Rubber Company changed their name to Uniroyal. Eventually, Stride Rite took over the Keds product line.
The tire brands BFGoodrich and Uniroyal are now brand names of the famous French tire maker Michelin. The closest thing Michelin has to sneakers is their tire-carcass mascot, Bibendum (better known as "The Michelin Man" or "Mr. Bib").
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Last Updated: 25 February 2017
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Charlie's Sneaker Pages copyright 1995-2017 by Charles L. Perrin.
READERS PLEASE NOTE: Names of athletic shoe manufacturers, shoe styles, and technologies may be trademarked by the manufacturers. Charlie's Sneaker Pages uses these names solely to describe the shoes with the same familiar nomenclature used by the manufacturer and recognized by the reader.