Colchester Rubber Co. - The World's First Basketball Sneaker

We are delighted to be one of the selected stockists of Colchester Rubber Company. The story started in 1888, when the original Colchester Rubber company was founded by the Englishman George Watkinson, in Colchester, Connecticut. They manufactured hgh end rubber footwtear for people of all ages, with the core of their business being 'Tennis' shoes - consisting of walking, bicycle, tennis and yaghting shoes. Below are a few of their styles from the 1890s.

The real story of Colchester Rubber Company stems from 1892, when the creator of Basketball, Dr James Naismith approached Irving Watkinson, the son of founder George, to design a shoe made specifically for basketball. The shoes created by Irving were a canvas high top, with a rubber sole featuring a turkey feather design to aid traction and jumping, with a rubber toe guard cap and the ball Colchesters logo to protect the ankle. These shoes were forgotten about for over 100 years, as Colchester Rubber Company got bought out by US Rubber Company, where they renamed the brand Keds, before created Pro Keds in 1949. 

Fast forwarding to 2004, a surviving pair of the basketball sneakers were discovered at an estate sale in California. The sale was from a Victorian estate in Denver, Colorado. After a lot of research, it was found that Dr Naismith (the creator of basketball) relocated there in 1895, and therefore that these shoes were the prototype sample made for him, as they were a US 12, the same size as Dr Naismith. 

After 14 years of studies, Colchester Rubber Company were found to be the world's first basketball sneaker in 2018, predating Converse by over a quarter of a century, and the design of these basketball shoes became the icon of American sneakers and for brands which followed in the years.

We are excited to have 5 colourways available, in both high & low tops, to help share the history of Colchester Rubber Company as it launches back into the market for the first time since 1892. 

Shop the collection here  

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