World War II-era Converse sneakers with swastika soles


solesth.jpg Joey at spotted these amazing WWII-era Converse Skoots for sale on eBay for $1825.

No they're not Nazi shoes, but yeah, wow, that is a swastika pattern on the soles, thumbnail at left.

The auction has closed, but here's a snip from the description:

1938-1948 World War II provided Converse with a singular opportunity. Many products destined for servicemen overseas now became a focus of Converse manufacturing. The product range included footwear, apparel, boots for pilots and army servicemen.


    1. Ah damn, got there before me. I was going to say that this is what I thought of first too, stompin’ swatikas into the dirt and mud and all.

    2. Yeah, it’s a little confusing to us since the advent of using the treads to leave advertising marks in the sand, but it was a vehicle for derision at the time. Remember the dancefloor in “1941” with cartoons of the Axis leaders? Same idea.

  1. Going FTG! (for the Godwin):

    Q; How did Hitler tie his Chucks?

    A: With little knotsies!

    Thank you, thank you.. I’ll be here all week. Be sure to tip your bartender.

  2. FYI, for those who don’t know – pre World War II, the swastika was considered a good-luck symbol.

  3. I remember, in Herodotus perhaps, the ancient Egyptians would paint the names of their enemies upon the bottoms of their sandals.

  4. I’ve seen reproductions of Roman sandals with the hobnails on the sole in the pattern of a subdued barbarian, too.

  5. Converse must’ve made their shoes differently back then. That pair are over 50 years old and the sides of the ball of the foot aren’t disintegrating!

    I’m lucky if a new pair of all-stars lasts five months.

    1. Really? Mine last two or three years at least, and they certainly get mileage. As for the ones shown here, you don’t know how much they have actually been worn. Maybe they were mostly just standing around.

      What strikes me is how similar they look to the “modern” kind. Apart from the fugly colours (and they have those nowadays as well…) there really isn’t that much difference. I knew they have been around since the 1920s or so, but I’ve never seen a pair this old (oldest I’ve seen so far was from the 1970s, which really looked like today apart from not having as many colour varieties).

  6. I think those things are kinda sweet, and wish that Converse would make a reproduction of ’em.

    1. That might be illegal in some countries. In Germany, you could get in trouble for wearing swastikas under your shoes…

  7. Clockwise soles would make counterclockwise prints. And yes, the direction does carry meaning.

  8. One of the original names for the swastika symbol is “Fylfot”.
    There are a lot of etymologies for this name, but the one that always comes to my mind is based on the idea that it’s similar to the Triskelion, but extended to four legs. The legs are bent, as in running, so the name means “flying foot”.
    Pretty auspicious for a shoe, but probably just a coincidence. (Especially given that “fylfot” often refers to a version that’s always upright and usually has shortened extra limbs, AND this isn’t even considered the most likely origin for that name.)

    This has been your useless Internet trivia for the minute.

    1. Seriously? That is AWESOME. I love you.

      @11: I kind of like the colours. I like sneakers that try colours schemes that aren’t reliant on black and gunmetal grey.

  9. Oddly enough, the opposing symbol, 卍 (まんじ, manji in romaji) in Japan is an ancient symbol, considered a kanji, that marks buddhist temples and altars throughout Japan on maps. Its official meaning is a bit complex in Buddhism. I’ve heard everything from association with dharma, the night, magical connotations, and on.

    My favorite manga, Blade of the Immortal (無限の住人、Mugen no Juunin in Japanese) has as the main character an immortal swordsman named Manji, and his kimono has the symbol on the back. The beginning of each comic and graphic novel has a detailed explanation of the symbol and its mirror image the swastika, explaining the difference and significance between the two.

    It is important to remember that before 1930, both symbols were widely used in many cultures in the world to mean many things, from the Native Americans to the Buddhists in Asia and more, and had no meaning of evil UNTIL the Nazi party perverted the swastika with its adoption. Both are very old symbols with mystical meanings, and have since been tarnished by the Nazi associations with them.

  10. Ironically, this reminds me of the pattern on the bottom of slipon Vans shoes that resembles a repeated Star of David. There were urban legends that this carried a message of “stomping on the Jews” but nonetheless it’s false.

  11. More useless internet trivia! Look up images of the Corn Palace in South Dakota in the 1930s.

  12. Given that the bottoms of the feet are almost universally offensive in world culture, I hope that these were designed as a ‘Der Fuhrer’s Face’ in shoe form. But really guys, the swastika originated in many different places at many different times, sometimes just as a print motif, and it’s a shame that it forever carries such a destructive meaning.

  13. More fun swastika trivia: the original division insignia of the 45th Infantry, based in Oklahoma (which has a large Native American population), used to be a gold swastika on a red diamond; in the 1930s, this was changed to a thunderbird.

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