The world's biggest sportswear and athletic shoe company, Nike Inc, became even larger on Wednesday when it agreed to acquire popular footwear firm Converse Inc in a deal worth more than $300 million.

The Oregon-based company agreed to pay $305m for the 95-year-old maker of some of the world's lowest-tech footwear and will also assume some of Massachusetts-headquartered Converse's debt.

Converse, famous for its rubber-toed canvas Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers, enjoyed sales of $205.3m in 2002.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection in 1991 and again in 2001 when it sold its factories in Mexico and the US as part of its reorganisation.

"Converse is one of the strongest footwear brands in the world with great heritage and a long history of success," said Tom Clarke, Nike's president of new business ventures, in a news release.

"Converse's management has done an excellent job of re-stablishing this beloved brand with consumers and we look forward to supporting them as they continue to implement their growth strategy."

Converse CEO Jack Boys added: "Over the past two years, we have rebuilt and reinvigorated the Converse brand to its long-standing position as America's Original Sports Company, but our job is not done.

"Our core business in heritage products like Chuck Taylor All Star and the Jack Purcell combined with our traditional performance footwear offerings is a great foundation upon which we plan to build and grow."

He continued: "Our partnership with Nike creates a significant opportunity for us to execute our vision for building a leading global sports footwear and apparel brand by growing our core business and expanding our product offerings into other sports performance and lifestyle categories.

"The Nike brand has always been rooted in performance and innovation. We enjoy a broad and deep connection with consumers around the world which has generated over $9.5 billion in annual revenue under the Nike brand."