Before Air Jordans, there was the Colchester Rubber Co.
In 1891, Dr. James Naismith coined the phrase "basket-ball" to describe a new sport he had created in Springfield, Massachusetts. Only 50 miles away, Colchester Rubber Company was producing rubber shoes from a factory based out of Colchester, Connecticut, and this company is believed to have produced the first basketball sneaker prototypes. As fate would have it, the company as it was known shuttered in 1893 when it was bought by U.S. Rubber Co., which later re-branded to Keds.
But a pair of Colchester's original sneakers were recently discovered at an estate sale in Vista, California, and feature an early 1890s-era emblem. These 125-year-old sneakers have now inspired a Kickstarter campaign, which aims to revive the original Colchester style, which up until now was only reproduced in a highly limited size run. The new Colchester sneakers - dubbed the National Treasure - incorporate the same color and style details of the first 1892 design, as well as a toe guard and sole padding for added comfort.
They're not meant for the court, but the National Treasure sneaker is nonetheless a fascinating article of sneaker nostalgia.
Kickstarter pledges start at $20 for a Colchester-branded T-shirt, and go up to $375+ for three high-tops and three low-tops. The campaign is set to run another 19 days.
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