The History of Sorel Footwear
Sorel boots hit the Canadian market in 1962, designed as a cold weather boot and their practicality soon made them a bestselling brand.
Sorel is the brain child of the Kaufman Rubber Company, although Sorel did not begin until the early 60’s the Kaufman Rubber Company was founded in 1907 by Jacob Ratz Kaufman in Berlin, Ontario which was later renamed Kitchener for political reasons. In 1908 Kaufman opened his first factory which produced rubber footwear for worldwide sale. Jacobs son, Alvin Ratz then took over the reins of the Kaufman Rubber Co after his father passed away in 1920. Alvin then stood down as president and took on the role of Chairman of the Board after he had expanded the Kaufman line and introduced the Sorel brand.
Sorel was originally a warm, waterproof boot that was ideal for the harsh Canadian winters and aimed mainly at men for use on farms, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. The Sorel boots were very popular, although due to the limited market they struggled financially and this contributed to the bankruptcy of the Kaufman Rubber Company in 2000.
Columbia Sportswear Ltd purchased the Sorel brand from the Kaufmans in 2000, but it wasn’t until later in the decade that Sorel was re-introduced for sale. Columbia Sports loved Sorel's concept and with a bit of re-design and a new marketing strategy Sorel was ready to hit the footwear market again. Columbia took all the practicalities, functionality and heritage of the Sorel boot and added a modern twist, making the boots as popular with women as they are with men. They moved the retail outlets from farm and hunting trade shops to boutiques and independent sellers more in tune with the fashionable styling of the brand. Finally due to rising costs Sorel's manufacturing was moved from Canada to China & Vietnam which also made the purchase prices much more affordable.
Sorel has gone from strength to strength with Columbia Sports and the range now covers everything from the classic yet fashionable boots to gorgeous summer sandals using quality materials to provide sturdy, fashionable and practical footwear.
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"Colombia Sportswear Ltd purchased the Sorel brand from the Kaufmans in 2000"