Hood Rubber Company
by Stephen Garner
Hood Rubber Company

Mitchell & Ness is relaunching the Hood Rubber Company, which is considered by sneaker historians to be one of the most significant early pioneers in the development and popularization of athletic footwear during the first half of the 20th century.

Among its many significant contributions to the sneaker world, Hood Rubber Company was one of the first brands to design and market footwear specifically for basketball with the debut of its first canvas upper high top as early as 1914. Hood Rubber Company would go on to become a household name and the world’s largest producer of rubber-soled footwear in the world, a distinction it held for nearly three decades. For the first time in over 40 years, the company’s greatest shoes return for a new generation of sneaker fans.

With a focus on footwear engineered for today’s boldly individual youth, the company’s debut collection – featuring seven archive and standard-issue sneaker styles – combines the quality tailoring of fresh, contemporary athletic footwear with the heritage and authenticity of Hood’s original designs.

“Mitchell & Ness is thrilled to give Hood Rubber Company a second life, introducing the legacy of their incredible sneakers to a new generation,” said Kevin Wulff, CEO of Mitchell & Ness. “With such a rich and important history, Hood is a brand whose story needs to be at the center of the sneaker conversation, and we’re excited to be giving these classics a fresh spin for today’s sneakerheads.”

Hood Rubber Company, founded by Frederic and Arthur Hood in 1896, found early success with the introduction of a rugged, lightweight rubber boot and quickly rose to the forefront of shoe innovation. Dubbed the grandfather of vulcanized footwear, Hood perfected and mass-produced the shoe style and became the largest manufacturer of rubber athletic shoes at the time. Hood invented aluminum lasts, which are still used today in vulcanized footwear, at a time when brands were only using wood. The first chapter of Hood ended in 1972, but today the brand is back and rewriting the rules.

The brand relaunches with an initial offering of seven sneaker styles. Four archive styles – 1955 Conference High Cut, 1960’s Hood C.V. Oxford, 1967 Rocket High Cut, and 1967 Rocket Oxford – and three standard-issue styles – Conference 55 HC, Rocket 67 HC, and Rocket 67 LC. Styles in the first drop will be available in various colorways: vintage black, vintage natural, and vintage navy for the archives, and black, white, natural, and insignia blue for the standard issues. Retails range in price from $70-$85 and will be available on on Thursday, November 11th.