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Awakening Our Incredible National Treasure Sneaker, Invented in the Year 1892 by The Colchester Rubber Co.
Awakening Our Incredible National Treasure Sneaker, Invented in the Year 1892 by The Colchester Rubber Co.
Awakening Our Incredible National Treasure Sneaker, Invented in the Year 1892 by The Colchester Rubber Co.
126 backers pledged $14,846 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Bringing Back The World's First Basketball Sneaker

$14,846

126

 

A long time ago I was told, "To be a success, you have to do something better and different than anyone else in the world". We chose sneakers from the 1800's. Out of our Earth's population of 7 billion humans. I think we are the only ones doing this. "We do Victorian Sneakers."

 Back our project to help us make our first large run of shoes and bring these historic sneakers back to life!

How it works: Check out our shoes below, click the green button that says "Back This Project", and select the reward level that gets you the products you want. (You can donate more than the reward level if you would like.) You are not charged until the end of our campaign and only if we meet our funding goal.

We'll email you a survey when the campaign is complete to ask for your size and color preference.

 

 

       

We will reward your support, of course. You can take part in our referral program and by simply sharing a customized link you get a 10% reward for each pledge you refer. 

 

 

Our Story

Discovered at an estate sale out of Vista, California back in 2004, the Colchester Rubber Co Sneaker is thought to be the World's Oldest Basketball Sneaker, predating all of it's predecessors by over 25 years. 

The History and sneaker were just too good to pass up, so we decided as a team to bring these heritage shoes back to life for a new generation of sneaker fans to enjoy. We now need your support to create shoe molds (a mold for each size offered) and produce a large run of sneakers.

Please join us on a journey back in time...

The History

Colchester Rubber 5 Fast Facts

1. Founded in 1888 by Englishman George Watkinson in Colchester, Connecticut.

2. Produced high end vulcanized footwear that was sold around the world.

3. Created the 1st basketball sneaker as a prototype. It is believed to have been shown at the Chicago's World Fair in 1892.

4. Colchester Rubber was shut down when it was purchased by U.S. Rubber in 1893. 

5. George Watkinson later worked with Marquis Converse (who founded Converse later on in 1908) at the U.S. Rubber Factory. They were good friends.

The World's Oldest Basketball Sneaker

Our research into determining the age of the sneaker was not taken lightly. Hundreds of hours of research; combing through old newspaper scans; visiting the town of Colchester and snapping up memorabilia as it popped up on Ebay has led us to the conclusion that this sneaker holds the claim of "World's First Basketball Sneaker." Converse agreed and retracted their claim of being the World's First. 

Tennis shoes began appearing around the 1840s.

Hayward Rubber Cloth & Rubber Tennis Shoe: 1840s
Hayward Rubber Cloth & Rubber Tennis Shoe: 1840s

Colchester Rubber Co.'s specialty was of the tennis-sports variety. It comes as no surprise that Colchester was eager to design a prototype for the new game of basket-ball. Dr. James Naismith had just invented it a mere 50 miles away from Colchester's factory!

Irving Watkinson, son of founder, in his Colchester Rubber Company team baseball outfit
Irving Watkinson, son of founder, in his Colchester Rubber Company team baseball outfit

 

 

The Inspiration
The Inspiration

We believe Mr. Watkinson used the pictured above pedestrian tennis shoe to base his basketball sneaker's design. He added some new features and now you're all ready to pivot and jump on gymnasium floors while playing the new game of basket-ball!

125 Year Old Sneaker!
125 Year Old Sneaker!

All About That Sole

The sole is our easiest way to properly date the shoe. Technologies to purify rubber simply did not exist during the 1890s so the National Treasure sneaker is full of debris in its rubber matrix. Purified rubber was introduced around 1910.

The turkey feather sole is crude and hand carved. The sole is also heavy, solid rubber. Soles from later decades are hollow, lighter and contain purified rubber. 

Pocked, unclean rubber full of debris
Pocked, unclean rubber full of debris

The Colchester National Treasure is the Grandfather of all sneaker brands, it's DNA is encoded in MILLIONS of pairs worn since. 

Why didn't Colchester produce more of these sneakers?

Unfortunately, after the prototype was created for Dr. Naismith, the factory was bought out and shut down not too long after. U.S. Rubber had similar products in the early 1900s so George Watkinson probably helped with design, as he was made vice president of U.S. Rubber after they bought Colchester Rubber out. Pictured below an Essex Rubber ad (they did not sell shoes, they produced this push-ball game) shows a boy wearing ball logo sneakers.

Boy on rt in US Rubber Ball Logo Sneakers, 1903
Boy on rt in US Rubber Ball Logo Sneakers, 1903

 

 

 

 

Our collection consists of the original deadgrass tan color, as well as the addition of new color-ways. We offer a high and low top sneaker in all colors available. You'll always have a pair of Colchesters to wear with any look.

 National Treasure Low-Top

 National Treasure High-Top

 Kickstarter Exclusive Color- Olive!

 

 

 

                         

 

 

 

Your pair of Colchesters comes in a beautiful heritage box.

 SIZING

Sizing notes

Our shoes are made in US UNISEX sizes. Use our size chart to find which size you are. For example if you are a women's 8 then you will wear a men's 6.

How Colchester sizes run: Colchesters tend to run slightly larger than normal. If you have wide feet, select the size that you normally wear.

If you wear a half size: If you wear a half size, round down. For example, if you have narrow feet and wear US 8.5, your best fit is likely an 8.

If you wear a number of different sizes: If, for example, you wear an 9 in some brands and 10 in others and don't know which one to base your size off of, you should probably go with the larger size. Our sole molds are similar to those of Converse for comparison.

Shipping, exchanges, returns & duties

Shipping to the United States is 100% free! 

Exchanges: In the case that you need a different size for your shoes, we'll happily exchange them. To avoid any confusion, we highly encourage you to check our size details above to get the correct size and wear your shoes as soon as possible!

If you're in the US, we'll cover shipping both ways.We cannot cover the postage for international exchanges.

Returns: If, for whatever reason, you aren't pleased with your Colchesters, we'll accommodate a return and refund without any difficulty, and cover postage within the US. We're incredibly confident that you'll be more than satisfied with your Colchesters.

International shipping costs: For one pair, cost is $20. For two pairs (color exclusive bundle) it is $25. For the mix n' match bundle/3 Pairs & ultimate mix n' match bundle/4 Pairs it is $30.

Duties: Please note that you may encounter duties if you are ordering outside of the United States. Because this is quite variable, you will be responsible for covering any duties required by your home country.

Timeline

Team

You can email us anytime at info@colchesters.com 

Spread the Word!

 

  

 

 

 

 

Dedication

We want to dedicate this campaign to the crafters of the Victorian gilded age. Their design and attention to detail was outstanding, especially considering their limited resources. 

We also want to mention Mr. Max Kline and Dr. James Naismith. Along with the sneakers found at the estate sale we also purchased many of Max's momentos including the photo below. We believe the sneakers were passed down to him in Denver by Dr. Naismith whom was attending medical school there. Dr. James Naismith is forever remembered as the Father of basketball, one of the greatest sports of all time.  

Max Kline
Max Kline

 

Dr. James Naismith- Inventor of Basketball Circa 1892
Dr. James Naismith- Inventor of Basketball Circa 1892

Thanks for reading our Kickstarter and we hope you love our project relaunch...now comes the hard part, trying to choose your favorite color of Colchesters!

 

                       

 

         

 

Risks and challenges

This isn't our first rodeo. Some of us have been working on this on and off since 2005. We have produced prior runs in very limited amounts. Lack of experience and the recession of 2008 when we unfortunately lost a $30,000 shipment when our former factory suddenly collapsed have paved the way to where we are now. It has made us stronger. For the past year we have banded together as a strong team with experienced professionals in the business and produced our first new run of 500 pairs, which are nearly sold out. (35 left if there are any takers!) We have learned appropriate distribution processes. We have taken constructive criticism and feedback and applied it. We have fine tuned the sneaker and all of its details.We are obsessed with this brand and hold it to the highest standard, our ultimate goal is providing our customers with a high quality product they will love wearing.

While there are always risks at hand, we are completely equipped to fulfill every order efficiently. We cannot thank our loyal fans enough.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Friends of Colchesters

    Show your support during our historic endeavor. We will keep you informed via email on our progress.

    Includes:
    • Eternal Gratitude
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    0 backers
    $
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    1 Pair of National Treasure Sneakers

    Get 1 Pair of Colchester Rubber Co.'s National Treasure Sneakers in High or Low-Top. (Over 25% Savings!)

    Choose Your Color:
    -Original Deadgrass (Tan)
    -Coal Black
    -Navy
    -Linen White [if unlocked]

    FREE SHIPPING IN USA

    Sizes and style/color preference collected at the end of the campaign via survey email.

    Includes:
    • 1 Pair of High Or Low Top Sneakers
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    74 backers
    $
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE COLOR BUNDLE

    2 Pairs of Sneakers: Grab a pair of Olive Green Sneakers, which will only be offered on Kickstarter (or you may choose another color if you do not want Olive) and another pair of your choice. ($40 Savings!)

    You'll get:
    -One Pair high or low-top of OLIVE GREEN sneakers. This colorway will only be available on Kickstarter. (You may also choose another color if you do not want olive)

    -One Pair of High Or Low Sneakers in Your Choice of the following colors:
    -Original Deadgrass (Tan)
    -Navy
    -Coal Black
    -Linen White[if unlocked]

    Sizes and style/color preference collected at the end of the campaign via survey email.

    FREE SHIPPING IN USA

    LIMITED QUANTITIES AVAILABLE!!

    Includes:
    • Olive Green High or Low- Top Sneaker (or another color)
    • High or Low -Top Sneaker in Deadgrass, Navy, Coal Black or White
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    33 backers
    $
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $190 or more About $190

    MIX N' MATCH BUNDLE

    Wear 3 Beautiful Pairs of Colchester Rubber's Heritage Sneakers. ($255 Value!)

    You'll always have a pair of classic sneakers to wear no matter what your look is that day!

    You Get:
    - 3 Pairs of Sneakers in the Colors and Styles (high and/or low tops) of your choosing.

    Colors:
    -Coal Black
    -Linen White [if unlocked]
    -Deadgrass
    -Navy
    -Olive Green (KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE COLOR)

    FREE SHIPPING IN USA

    Sizes and Color/Style Preference will be collected in survey emails after the campaign ends.

    Includes:
    • 3 Pairs of Sneakers in your style and color choice
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
    $
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $240 or more About $240

    ULTIMATE MIX N' MATCH BUNDLE

    Wear 4 Pairs of Colchester Rubber Co's Incredible Historic Sneakers. (Valued at $340, a savings of $100!!)

    Make your friends jealous with a fresh pair for every look!

    You Get:
    - 4 Pairs of Sneakers in the Colors and Styles (high and/or low tops) of your choosing.

    Colors:
    -Coal Black
    -Linen White [if unlocked]
    -Deadgrass
    -Navy
    -Olive Green (KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE COLOR)

    FREE SHIPPING IN USA

    Sizes and Color/Style Preference will be collected in survey emails after the campaign ends.

    Includes:
    • 4 Pairs of Sneakers in your choice of colors and styles
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    9 backers
    $
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $520 or more About $520

    10 PAIRS OF SNEAKERS! LIMITED REWARD.

    You get ALL National Treasure Options. (You may choose different colors, sizes, styles etc. if you would like) an $850 Value- a savings of $35 PER pair. Its like 4 pairs for FREE!

    -5 High-Tops in all colors.
    -5 Low-Tops in all colors.

    -Deadgrass
    -Linen White [if unlocked]
    -Navy
    -Coal Black
    -Olive Green (Kickstarter exclusive color)

    FREE SHIPPING IN USA!

    Sizes and Color/Style Preference will be collected in survey emails after the campaign ends.

    Includes:
    • 5 Pairs of High-Tops
    • 5 Pairs of Low-Tops
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
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Funding period

- (41 days)