(Excerpt from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Converse
In 1908, while in his late 30s, Marquis M. Converse fell down a flight of steps in Malden, Massachusetts. The incident gave him the idea of rubber soled shoes, to prevent one from slipping. A year later, Marquis founded Converse and began producing rubbed-soled footwear for men, women, and children.
(AP Photo/Steven Senn)