Kaufman Footwear

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Kaufman Footwear was a Kitchener, Ontario-based shoe company. It was known for its Sorel brand.


Kaufman Rubber Company was founded by Jacob Ratz Kaufman in 1907 in what is now Kitchener, Ontario. It became Kaufman Footwear in 1964.[1]

Jacob's son, Arthur Ratz Kaufman, took over the company in 1920.[1] A. R. Kaufman was a leading Canadian eugenicist who encouraged sterilization of his workers; when Kaufman Rubber laid off workers during the Great Depression, Kaufman's proposed solution to their financial woes was sterilization. Kaufman would later take credit for over 1000 male sterilizations performed at Kaufman factories between 1930 and 1969.[2]

Kaufman Rubber Co. brands included Foamtread slippers, introduced in 1953; Showertogs, an early use of PVC as a clothing material, in 1954; and its Sorel line of winter boots, which was later developed as a fashion footwear brand.[1]

In 1961 Kaufman purchased L.H. Packard & Co. of Montreal, followed by Prospect Shoes Ltd. of Sherbrooke in 1966.[1] Footwear production for the company became centered in Quebec.[3]

Kaufman Footwear declared bankruptcy in 2000.[1]


Sorel is a lifestyle footwear brand. Sorel was introduced as a winter boot line in 1959,[1] and became the world's best-selling cold weather boot.[1] In the summer of 2000, Kaufman Footwear went bankrupt, and the Sorel trademark was bought by Columbia Sportswear.[4] Following Columbia's purchase, the Sorel brand was expanded to other products,[3] such as nylon outerwear and other work-related garments.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Kaufman Footwear fonds". University of Waterloo. Retrieved April 30, 2018. 
  2. ^ "Kaufman, A. R." Eugenics Archive. Retrieved April 30, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b "Sorel brand gets a re-boot". Portland Business Journal. August 22, 2010. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Sorel's demise leaves boot shortage". CBC News. 2000-11-21. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  5. ^ Deruyter, Ron (2001-05-09). "Sorel boots to reappear on shelves next month" (Fee required). The Record. Kitchener, Ontario. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 

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