Kaufman Footwear

Kaufman Footwear was founded by Jacob Kaufman 1907. The former Kaufman Rubber Company, produced brands such as “Sorel winter boots, Kingtreat work boots, Foamtread slippers, and Black Diamond industrial footwear”.

Advertisements for Kaufman Footwear Tiessen, Paul. Berlin, Canada: A self portrait of Kitchener, Ontario Before World War One. St. Jacobs: Sand Hill Books, Inc., 1979.



When the Canadian Consolidated Rubber Company of Montreal bought most of the major rubber companies the Berlin Rubber Manufacturing Company and Merchants Rubber Company became one. Jacob Kaufman was involved in both of these companies which is where he grew the confidence to go out on his own with his son Alvin Ratz Kaufman. Consequently, Kaufman opened in 1908 with 350 employees at King and Victoria. Kaufman began to produce rubber for foreign and domestic markets.

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The above photos are taken from the University of Waterloo archives.


A.R. Kaufman became the head of the company in 1920 with the passing of his father and remained until 1964. The product line expanded to include “fishing, mining, firefighting, and meat packing”. During both of the wars, Kaufman produced special footwear and gas masks for Canadian forces.


Competition in the 1950s forced Kaufman rubber to begin creating shoes with synthetic materials. “Foamtread” became an important commodity. Hiking, winter and work boots became well known shoes produced by the local company. In 1964 the company changed its name to Kaufman Footwear Limited to reflect the changes. In the same year, the reigns of the company changed to William H. Kaufman. In 1997 Tom Kaufman took over from his father, William. Unfortunately, in 2000, Kaufman Footwear declared bankruptcy.

The Kaufman buildings have since been turned into a condominium.

Photographs by Elizabeth Bell

Photographs by Elizabeth Bell



Photographs by Elizabeth Bell
Photographs by Elizabeth Bell

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