Shoes: Sneakers

Sneakers can be found in a rainbow of colours. Which kids did they come with and how can you tell?

Other relevant posts: CPK Shoe Summary, Lacing CPK Shoes

CPK Sneakers were manufactured by Coleco throughout the entirety of their production. However, the characteristics of the shoes varied by factory and over time.

Hong Kong Shoes

For a definition of ‘Hong Kong Kids’, jump to the Glossary.

In the beginning, when production took place in Hong Kong [HK], the shoes had a very distinctive look. In general, they can have a number of these features but do not need to have them all.

  • The stitching is VERY prominent.
  • They have a thicker feel to the vinyl. In some cases, the vinyl did not mould well and may have a runny look on the inside.
  • Some are extremely hard vinyl. VERY hard.
  • Not all HK shoes have black text in the heel, but if it is black, it’s likely an HK shoe.
  • They tend to look less finished than other shoes. The edges look more like they’ve been cut out, or the vinyl around the edges has been trimmed.
  • HK shoes are more likely to discolour and get pox than later shoes.
  • The bottoms are ‘bumpy/textured’.
  • The body is bumpy (see below).
Comparison picture of an Hong Kong sneaker with a regular later sneaker. They both have pink stripes.
Hong Kong shoe vs. later shoe

OK HK Shoes
– very hard & very malleable
– very prominent stitching
– The tongue is not cut out (or is partially cut). It is formed as part of the shoe.
– textured body and bottom
– laces are thick and not very long

P HK Shoes  
– The text runs vertically, not horizontally, in the heel.
– I have not found any P with black text.
– The vinyl is very malleable.

KT  HK Shoes
– I am unable to comment on specifics. I don’t have any in my collection.
Photo courtesy of Christy Gann.

Post HK Shoes – 1986ish shoes

After the ‘experimental’ Hong Kong period, the shoes became more uniform but still had many characteristics that varied by factory. It can be very difficult to ‘match’ shoes. You THINK they should match, but when you put them side by side, they are nothing alike! They aren’t the same shape, colour, texture, etc.

Most of the shoes have the factory indicator and the words HONG KONG stamped on the inside by the heel, on the bottom. The factory indicator can be inside a circle or not.

After production moved to China, the shoes became more uniform in appearance but continued to vary by the factory. Indeed, as more factories began production, the amount of variation increased.

1987-1989

Although there are quite a few colours available, many did not show up until 1988 and 1989 (Transitional period). They came on later kids and wearing outfits 800 – 815 and as separately packaged accessories.

It seems that Hasbro did not continue to produce or use sneakers.

25th Anniversary Sneakers (separate post)

Stripe Patterns

The sneakers come in three different stripe patterns.

#1 – the most vertical
#2 – slightly more angled
#3 – the most angled

Picture of three sneakers, each one with a different stripe pattern. One at the top, three at the bottom.

Some factories, like P, appear to have produced all three patterns. Others did not. For example, all the OK sneakers I have use pattern #1.

Stripe Colours

The first sneakers came in only two colours, blue and pink.

In 1985 they started producing additional colours.  For example, the stripes on the All-Stars Kids sneakers often matched the colour of the uniform, so colours like red, green, black, and navy blue show up. I believe that most of these shoes were produced by the FD and IC factories. At the same time, both coloured and white striped shoes were produced for Sports Collection outfits (CY and FD) and by the UT factory. Do you have UT shoes with coloured stripes? I have only seen white.

Some colours were produced in varying shades. I believe this was caused by factory variation and changes over time. For example, the PMI factory seems to have very distinct pink and blue colours.

Three sneakers, each one with blue stripes, but all of various shades of blue. The top is lighter, the bottom is navy blue.

In some cases, the same factory produced different shades of colour. For example, these two P shoes are varying shades of pink.

The Rainbow

Here are all the colours, and their variations, that I have owned. I know that I am missing yellow and hot pink.

Update: Brown stripes came with the Padre’s baseball outfit. Special thanks to Margaret Granato and Jennifer Pelfrey.

Picture that shows all the colours I am currently aware of. Black, purple, red, green, pink, blue and white.

Numbers

Some of the shoes have numbers near the factory code. I think these numbers are related to moulds, but I really don’t know. What I do know, is that there are lots of numbers and a matching pair does not have to have matching numbers. One shoe can be 1 and the other 4. Numbers are most often found in shoes produced by the Taiwanese and P factories.

Which outfits came with Sneakers?

Sneaker Descriptions by Factory

Disclaimer: The following observations have been made based on my collection. I welcome any information and will not hesitate to make revisions as needed.

OK Shoes
– They are thin and flexible with a tongue that is the same size as the opening.
– The text is raised, comes in two font sizes, and is sometimes blurred.
– They tend to discolour and become sticky more than others.
– They only appear to use stripe pattern 1.

P Shoes
– They tend to stay very white, and the stitching is very prominent.
– The tongue is smaller than the opening.
– The text is raised and very clear. It is generally vertical along the length of the shoe.
Numbers used: 1, 2, 3, 4
Stripe Patterns used: 1, 2, 3

KT Shoes
– They feel like OK shoes but with a very thin top edge. Some are extremely malleable.
– The tongue looks to have been formed as part of the shoe and then cut out.
– Some material is missing, making the tongue smaller than the hole.
– The text is raised.
– The bottom and inside are VERY smooth.
– Some of them have the ‘Jesmar’ shape inside.
Stripe pattern: 1

PMI Shoes (small sample size)
– The feel and stitching are similar to OK shoes, but they tend to say while like P shoes.
– The text is a large, well-spaced PMI that is generally very legible.

IC Shoes
– They are rather hard, with little flexibility.
– Moderately prominent stitching
– The tongue is similar to P shoes.
– The text is raised and very clear. They say MADE IN TAIWAN and have numbers underneath.
Stripe patterns: 2, 3
Numbers: 2, 3, 5

UT Shoes (small sample size)
– They feel and look like IC shoes.
– Text is clear, in a small font.
Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6
Stripes: 2

FD & CY Shoes
– They feel and look like IC shoes.
– Text can be VERY large or rather small.
FD Numbers: 1, 4,3, 6,9, 12
CY Numbers: 3, 4
Stripe Pattern: 2,3

SS factory: They did not produce sneakers.

Post 1985 Tag Codes and Locations

The continuing saga of the clothing tag codes . . . what happened in 1986? Why are West Hartford, Amsterdam and Gloversville so important?

By going through and comparing the appearance of clothing tags, I discovered that something interesting happened in 1986 and early 1987.

The original theory about the numbers used in the clothing tag codes was that the first digit of the codes from 500 onward indicated which year the outfit came out.  Jump to: What’s With the Numbers?

E.g. 501 came out in 1985
       630 came out in 1986
       720 came out in 1987

A Question . . .

This works most of the time, but some things did not fit the pattern. For example, half of the Talker outfits are 690s, and the rest are 700-710. If the original theory held, they should all be in the 700s as Talking Kids came out in 1987. Another example is the 670s – 680s BBB series. BBB kids came out in 1986; why would they put out a second set of clothing almost immediately? As it turns out, they didn’t!

In 1986, Coleco seems to stop rigidly adhering to the original rule that they had in 1985. They still used it, but not all the time. I do not know why, but the change corresponds to some kind of upheaval in the Coleco Company itself.

Possible Answer . . .

At some point in 1985 or 1986 they started producing tags which printed the location of the Coleco Company in the US. The first tags said West Hartford, CT. Then sometime in 1986, the address changed to Amsterdam, NY. By sometime in 1987, they stopped using the CT tags entirely.

If your tag says CT, the outfit is most likely older than one which says Amsterdam, NY. They were likely made in the same place, but the tags were changed. It’s interesting to note that it was around this time that the company’s major financial problems started to become public. It is also interesting to note that some 500s Series outfits have West Hartford, CT tags so they must have been produced into 1986 although, they started production in 1985.

Then in 1989, the company address on clothing tags changed again, from Amsterdam, NY, to Gloversville, NY.

Clothing tag from outfit 9-167A, OK factory. Copyright date 1988 and located in Gloversville, NY.

Coleco had owned buildings in both locations for decades. (Coleco – The Official Book.pdf, p. 33) I theorize that as company assets were closed to save money, the main offices and official registered location of the company was moved from place to place.

1986 and Onward

1986+ clothing codes are all over the place. There were some 1987, and 1988 series that follow the original theory (E.g. Splashing kids, Toddlers). However, it was no longer used consistently. More and more outfits show up with ‘odd’ codes.

In some cases, they put 1987 outfits in the 600s (Example A), in some cases they chose a different hundred for the series (e.g. 400s) (Example B), in other cases, they created an entirely new matrix (Example C), and for still others, they didn’t use a code at all ( Example D)!

Another Question

Where are the 1989 outfits? There are no 900s outfits, so how were they coded? I had a theory, but I had no evidence for it. Now I do. To find out, continue to Part 2: The Code Addition

The Perfect Mismatch (Mtaching Pt. 2)

Generally the doll factory and the outfit factory match, these are the exceptions.

(A Match Made In . . . .the Factory: Matching Part 1)

The consistency with which the doll tag and the outfit tag factories matched changed starting in 1985. Many continued to match, but not all. Here are the ‘situations’ in which you might find a match that doesn’t match!

Situation 1:

From 1986 to 1988 (ish), the most common situation resulted from an overabundance of specialty outfits that were not selling (high $) and a lot of pieces coming from foreign factories that had shut down. In this situation, you might get an OK kid, in a P factory twin outfit, in a single kid box. (Ref. #5, Issue 4, p. 5) Or maybe, a set of P dolls, in IJ animal costume sleepers (Ref #3, p.104), in a twin box. Or even a pair of Jesmar dolls, in PMI World Traveler outfits, in a twin box!

Some of these outfits were made by factories that did not produce kids, only packaged outfits that were never intended to be sold on kids.

Situation 2:

A similar situation happened with outfits originally designed for specific kinds of kids. For example, occasionally you will find Cornsilk and Talker outfits on regular kids from 1987 onward. This doesn’t occur as often as situation one, but it does happen. This situation could also be the result of in-store outfit switching.

Situation 3:

IC kids were made in Taiwan and, according to their side tags, which are numbered IC to IC7, there may have been at least eight factories. However, there are NO clothes with IC# on them. However, several Taiwanese factories did produce clothing: AX, CY, FD, HP, WW, HRS.

I have evidence that IC kids came wearing IC, AX, and other Taiwan factory clothing. The same has been discovered about the UT factory. Although UT kids could come with UT clothes, they also came dressed in AX and WW clothing. (Jump to: AX and the UT Kids)

In addition, IC kids came wearing specialty line outfits that were made at other Taiwanese factories (HRS, CY, FD), so their tags would not match. For example, Western Wear and All Star kids. (Ref #5, Issue 3, p. 5)

Situation 4:

Hong Kong Tags. Some Hong Kong Kids had no factory indicated on their tag. In this case, for MIB kids, it can be assumed that if the kid is OK, the outfit is OK. However, if the outfit is not original to the kid, it is either P, OK or KT. (Ref#3, p. 28) My personal experience with HK outfits leads me to believe they will be either OK or P, as the tags themselves more closely resemble OK and P tags, rather than KT tags.
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Situation 5:

Twin outfits are all P factory. However, some were put on OK kids. In this case, the tags would not match.

Situation 6:

There is evidence that ‘Made in USA’ outfits did come on boxed kids. There are no ‘Made in USA’ kids, so the tag cannot match in this situation.

Situation 7:

It appears that some SS factory outfits came on MIB regular-sized kids. As the SS factory did not make any regular-sized dolls, there will be a mismatch between the kid and the outfit. I’ve confirmed this on one OK factory HK doll.


For more information on clothing codes, jump to: What are Clothing Tag Codes
For information on how to locate clothing tags, jump to: Where are clothing tags located?

PTP: Packaged Outfits: Questions and (Some) Answers

Many outfits were sold packaged separately, some that came on the dolls and some that didn’t. When were they produced and what outfits were they?

Packaged Outfit: an outfit that was sold separately in its own box, without a doll.

Early Coleco Packaged Outfits

Coleco marketed four different packaged clothing lines.

Line 1

The first was produced in 1983 and was never sold on the kids. It was called the Casual Wear Line and included at least eight outfits.

Line 2

The second line was small, with only three outfits, and was produced in 1984. I call it the 1984 Knit Series. It was produced by the EX factory.

Line 3

The third came out in late 1983 I think, or early 1984. The contents are all 1983 series outfits. Although outfits from many factories were packaged, the CC factory only produced clothing for packaged outfits. If iti’s a CC outfit, it didn’t come on a doll.

Line 4

The fourth ‘line’ consists of the specialty outfits that were produced in 1985 and later. Some of these outfits were intended only for sale as packaged outfits but were sold on dolls eventually. Eg. Sports Collection. Others were only packaged when Coleco found itself with an overabundance of outfits. Eg. Twin outfits, World Traveller Outfits. Although these outfits were not officially promoted as a ‘line’, they all came out around the same time.

Transitional Coleco Outfits

In 1989/90 Coleco started producing a number of outfits that were only sold in packages. These make them hard to find as they were not sold for long and were only available separately from the kids.

The Outfits line included outfits in the following code series: 120s, 130s, 400s (that I am aware of to this point), and transitional Hasbro outfits. Some of these outfits were also produced by Hasbro and do not have recognizable tag codes.

The COLECO Deluxe Outfits line includes outfits in the 140s series along with other new pieces.

However, there was a concurrent HASBRO line.

Transitional Hasbro Outfits 

Hasbro must have found themselves with an overabundance of Designer Line (DL) outfits, as the Deluxe Outfits that they packaged (on virtually the same packaging as Coleco) consisted of entirely DL outfits. Currently, I have evidence for the use of the 170s and 180s series of DL outfits, not the 150s series.

Hasbro then produced three packaged outfit lines independent of Coleco. This most likely occurred from 1989 to 1990+. As they are not numbered in the ‘traditional sense  I cannot slot them into the clothing record I am creating. However, they are interesting, nonetheless. They are:

Splash and See Surprise Pouches.

During the transitional years, Hasbro also produced a type of packaged outfit that included a ‘gimmick’. As many of the outfits used were already in production, it may be that they were trying to get rid of extra stock. This is not clear.

The Splash and See Surprise packages contain an outfit and a small pouch with a surprise in it. When you wet the pouch it would melt away and your surprise was revealed. During a 2020 Facebook group discussion, it was noted that these pouches were included with kids as well. (Ref. FB discussion, Jodi (Punki Patch), Feb. 7, 2020) The surprise items included sunglasses, hair barrettes, hair combs, or outfit pieces. Some of the clothing came from the 150s clothing line produced by Coleco in 1989 and some only have Hasbro tags.

Foreign Packaged Outfits

Some of the foreign factories produced packaged outfits as well.

If you have any packaged outfits that you can ‘unpackage’ safely, or that have already been ‘unpackaged’, I would love to get pictures of the outfit and its tags! I have many information holes that need filling.

Clothing Tags: With a code or without?

Not all clothing tags were made equal. Some have codes, some don’t. Which do? Which don’t?

Although MOST Coleco clothing has a code on the tag, not all of them do.

The 1983 outfits have a variety of tags! Each factory had a slightly different look to its tags and some factories changed the look often. After 1985 the tags become more consistent in look and information but there were still variations by factory and over time.

In a previous post, What are Clothing Tag Codes, I noted that some factory codes were put on with stickers so that they were washed off (P, PMI, some IC), some were written on and illegible, and some were stamped on badly. Although these tags are rather rare, they can be annoying. Hopefully, somewhere, you will find the same outfit with a code!

Unfortunately, in some cases, they never put the code on to start with!

The 1983-84 Mess

Some factories like CC, KT, IJ, and PMI always have a code on the tag (if it hasn’t washed off).

Some factories, like the OK and P factories, were generally pretty good with putting codes on their tags, but there are some failures.

For example, early P and OK Hong Kong tagged outfits were hit and miss, and some of the later regular tags did not have codes (pictures below).

Some Taiwanese factories, like IC and AX, put the codes on a few tags.

Some never put a code on their tags. (e.g. UT, HP, EX, SW, CY, FD, WW, USA)

I have also seen tags where they appear to be trying to fix a mistake, or they had run out of a tag. They’ll substitute a different one and then make the correction with a pen or a marker!

Specialty Outfits

Many of the specialty outfits don’t have codes. For example:


Some specialty lines had their own specialty codes.

  • Twin outfits use T1, T2, and T3 to indicate style change, and letters to indicate colour. (TBC in another post.)
  • The Circus kids outfits duplicate the numbers 100 to 105. There are two versions of each costume, A and B.

Later Tags (1985+)

Most tags from 1985 and later have codes. These tags include any numbers 100 and above.

Foreign Factories

From the foreign factories that produced between 1984 and 1985, only Jesmar outfits have tags. (Jump to: Jesmar Tags and Clothing)

After Coleco

As far as I am aware, none of the later companies that produced Cabbage Patch Kids put any kind of code on their tags. At least, not something I know or understand.

For more information . . .

The number/letter codes, jump to: What are Clothing Tag Codes
Where to find clothing tags, jump to: Where are clothing tags located
Information on the numbers in a clothing tag code, jump to: What’s With the Numbers? and Tag Codes Continued: A 2nd Theory
Matching clothing to kids, jump to: A match made in . . . . the factory (Pt. 1)