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The World's First Basketball Sneaker

This once lost-to-time, original Colchester Rubber Co. Basketball Sneaker is an important part of our American Heritage history. The impeccable quality and detail to design showcase the Victorians' talent and pride in their work. 

The original sneaker's rubber has yellowed with age - originally, it was white. The rubber is impure, and you can see bits and particles in the outer and bottom sole because they had not yet invented a way to remove impurities. That invention did not occur until around 1913, and at that time it was also figured out how to make rubber in different colors. 


Hemp deadgrass colored fabric, tin metal eyelets, brown ribbed toe caps and intricate white stitching. The original laces, as pictured here, are stained with age and use. 


The Owner of Colchester Rubber Co., George Watkinson, was from England and many of their designs were inspired from his home country.

The sneakers are believed to have once been owned and worn by Dr. James Naismith, inventor of Basketball. He invented the game in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts, a mere 50 miles away from Colchester Rubber Co's factory. The sneakers were most likely a prototype designed for Dr. Naismith by Colchester Rubber to be used in his new game of basket-ball. 



The Colchester Rubber Co. Basketball Sneaker predates any of its competitors by a quarter of a century, making it the world's oldest basketball sneaker. 


(Discover more sneaker history in our Blog!)