The Surprising Reason Why Converse Sneakers Have Fuzzy Bottoms

Have you ever noticed that thin layer of felt on the bottom of a pair of Converse sneakers? It gets torn up almost immediately, of course, as you walk on the shoes. So, why is it there in the first place? It turns out that that the felt is there not for functional reasons, but for economic ones — shoes with fuzzy soles are taxed less when imported than those with rubber ones. That's because importing house slippers is cheaper than importing sneakers. Converse changed the shoe material of their sneakers, which decreased the tariff from 37.5% down to just 3%. This kind of finagling is something called “tariff engineering,” and it’s not uncommon. Dolls (which represent humans) and toys (which represent non-humans) are also taxed at different rates. In fact, Marvel actually went to court to argue why their action figures X-Men were not considered human. So, in the end, your X-Men action figures aren’t human and your Converse sneakers are cute fuzzy house slippers. In other words, tariffs ruin everything.