What shoes did the Jesmar factory produce and how can you identify them?
Disclaimer: My research into Jesmar clothing is only an addendum to my research into Coleco clothing. As such, I do not have access to a significant amount of information. This is a compilation of what I know about Jesmar shoes, based on the resources to which I have access. Shoes produced by the other foreign factories are not covered here as I have even less access to them, and I cannot provide sufficient information for identification.
Jesmar produced their own versions of all four types of original Coleco footwear: lace-ups, Mary Janes, sneakers, and knit booties. However, there are distinctive characteristics that allow Jesmar shoes to be differentiated from Coleco shoes.
NOTE: Shoes that say ” Made in Hong Kong” on the bottom are also theorized to be Jesmar shoes, but others think they’re aftermarket. For more information on these shoes, visit These aren’t CPK shoes?!
Version 1: These shoes have a VERY prominent edge around the sole of the shoe; it’s almost square. The vinyl tends to be very malleable, and they have extremely prominent embossed stitching. They have the flower shape on the front (Mark 3). Inside, in the heel, they often have the extra mould material (Mark 2 above).
Version 2: These shoes are made of much harder, smoother, almost glossy vinyl. They have absolutely no lip or edge at the sole, and the pattern is debossed. They have a diamond shape on the front (Mark 3). Inside, in the heel, they often have Mark 1 from above.
Comparison – Coleco vs. Version 2 vs. Version 1
There are some excellent aftermarket replicas that look a lot like Jesmar lace-ups. For details, visit These aren’t CPK shoes?!
Jesmar Mary Jane shoes are generally very smooth with almost glossy vinyl. The front section is pointier than regular Coleco shoes. Although there is no edge/rim at the sole, if they have not been trimmed well, there can be a sort of edge created by extra vinyl material.
Comparison – Coleco vs. Jesmar
There appear to be two different versions of the sneakers, again a difference in the malleability of the vinyl. However, the pattern and shape do not appear to be distinctly different.
Jesmar sneakers have a slightly different shape then Coleco, and it is very well defined. They are also pointier than Coleco shoes.
Jesmar produced white, blue, and pink striped sneakers. Some pink stripes can fade over time into a peach colour. (Facebook Conversation; April 7, 2021)
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).
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.
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.
The sneakers come in three different stripe patterns.
#1 – the most vertical #2 – slightly more angled #3 – the most angled
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.
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.
In some cases, the same factory produced different shades of colour. For example, these two P shoes are varying shades of pink.
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.
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.
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
Recently, a collector showed me a pair of shoes with writing on the inside that they had never seen, and honestly, neither had I!
Inside each shoe is PRC enclosed in a rectangle. The IC and Taiwan that would normally be there are only faintly visible like they’ve been rubbed out. For some reason, they changed the shoe mould. Why?
There have been two theories put forward.
It stands for Professional Regulation Committee. They believe that this label was put on the first 50 to 100 examples of the product to denote that they are samples. (FB Conversation, Feb. 9, 2021)
This may be what PNC stands for, but I’m really not sure. I could only find references to this body in relation to legal areas in Ontario, the US, and the Philippines. None of the legal areas they deal with specifically relate to physical product samples themselves. Also, no other CPK product has this label on it that I am aware of, even though MANY different ‘specialty dolls’ were produced by Coleco. Finally, these sneakers had been out for years before these shoes came out. The only difference might be the colour of the stripe.
2. The PNC stands for the Peoples Republic of China.
The history of Taiwan is long and complex. During the 1980s, Taiwan was being held under Martial Law by the KMT government. However, in 1987, martial law was lifted, and governance started moving toward democracy. However, there was a segment of the population who wanted to unify with China, both before and after martial law was lifted. (Source) I’m not sure this is a reasonable theory either. Unless someone with these political leanings got control of one of the clothing factories for a time, I have no idea why they would change the shoe moulds like this.
Based on the scarcity of these shoes, I theorize that they were only produced at one of the Taiwanese factories, likely for a short time. As they appear to have come primarily on All-Stars Kids, that would mean they were produced sometime from mid-1984 to 1985. All-Star Kids were primarily produced by IC factories.
Do you have a theory? Or maybe some evidence to put toward one of the current theories? I’d love to hear about it!
Special thanks to Dixie McLaughlin, Patty-Fisher Sheahan, and Christie Mounce Racine for their assistance with this topic.