The History of Colchester Rubber Company

Known for being the world’s first sneaker brand and the “World’s First Basketball Sneakers”, Colchester Rubber Co. is a footwear brand manufactured by the Colchester Rubber Company, founded in 1888 at Colchester, Connecticut, USA, by George Watkinson. The Colchester Rubber Company manufactured high-end rubber footwear for men, women and children, with the core of their business being 'Tennis' shoes - consisting of walking, bicycle, tennis and yachting shoes. The story of Colchester Rubber company started in 1892, when Irving Watkinson, the son of George Watkinson, and Dr James Naismith (founder of the sport) designed a shoe designed especially for basketball. Made from vulcanized rubber and canvas, the original sneakers were the first of their kind that protected feet while running, jumping, and pivoting on gymnasium floors. The shoes included a canvas high top, with a rubber sole featuring a turkey feather design to aid traction and jumping, with a rubber toe cap and a Colchesters logo protected the ankle. 

The original prototype made for Dr Naismith was found in an estate sale in 2004. After 14 years of research and studying, the design of the Colchester Rubber Co. shoes became the icon of American sneakers and for brands which followed in the years, since they were found to be the world’s first basketball sneaker in 2018, predating Converse and many other brands by over a quarter a century. After this discovery, the brand re-launched these sneakers as they were too extraordinary to keep stashed away.


The original Colchester Rubber Co. basketball sneaker.


Dr Naismith, the creator of basketball.


Our sneakers are authentic replicas of the 1892 basketball sneakers, with a design unchanged for the past 124 years. Updated for contemporary casual wear, our shoes have a built-in arch, cushioned insole, metal eyelets, authentic Victorian era colour-way and the original Colchesters crown logo. The details make this sneaker unique and one of a kind.