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.
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...
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can email us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Spread the Word!
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.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (41 days)