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History of Colchester Rubber Co.

Our mission is simple: bring back some incredible sneakers, share the story behind it, provide a high quality shoe and give impeccable customer service while doin' it. The cherry on top is getting to meet and learn all about our customers (you!). Hearing your excitement and seeing photos of our customers in their Colchesters makes it all worth it.  


Colchester Rubber Co. is opened at the old Hayward Rubber factory site. Owned by George Watkinson, an immigrant from England, and his son, playboy Irving Watkinson. 


Colchester Rubber is enjoying it's success and is known as a popular luxury shoe brand. They carry as assortment of footwear including sporting shoes, rubber boots and promenade styles. 

Basketball is invented in December, 1891 by Dr. James Naismith who is looking for a game that can be played indoors by his YMCA team during the cold winters in Springfield, Mass. 


Colchester Rubber designs a prototype sneaker for the new game of basket-ball, that had just been invented 50 miles away. Irving Watkinson is believed to have been the designer as he was known as an avid sportsman. Shortly after, Colchester Rubber is sold to US Rubber (KEDS) in an attempt to form a monopoly in the rubber industry. 


Colchester showcases at the Chicago's World Fair. There are also Colchester displays in several high-end shops around downtown Chicago.

Late 1893

The Panic of 1893 (economic depression) occurs. Colchester abruptly shuts their doors, telling their workers they will reopen after an extended Christmas break. They also tell their workers that they are removing all equipment to make way for new, state of the art machinery. Eventually, workers realize Colchester will not reopen and many leave the town in search of work. George Watkinson, former owner of Colchester Rubber, gets a job at US Rubber as Vice President and moves to Massachusetts.


Our story began in 2004, when a pair of mysterious sneakers were discovered in the bottom of a closet at an estate sale out of Vista, Calif. After some tedious research, we uncovered the story of Colchester Rubber Co. We decided these sneakers and this company, shuttered in 1892, were way too extraordinary to keep stashed away. 


We are a group of vintage sneaker and history folks who love what we do- some of us have over 30 years of experience in vintage clothing, trends and history. Each of us handles a different aspect of the Colchester Rubber Co., combining into something special. 

We provide a high quality, carefully curated vintage sneaker that leaves no detail unnoticed, from our historically accurate shoe details down to the Victorian era newspaper tissue print your sneakers come wrapped in. We hope you enjoy these sneakers as much as we do.