NEW BALANCE RUNNING: BORN IN BOSTON
New Balance was born in Boston, founded by William Riley, an immigrant from England, in 1906. Riley created the company when he was inspired by a chicken foot; not many companies can tout that as their inspiration!
Read on to learn more about the amazing history of the iconic New Balance US brand.
NEW BALANCE: ARCH SUPPORTS TO RUNNING SHOES
The year is 1906 and William Riley is sitting in his backyard watching some chickens. If this were today, he’d probably have a urban coop and a latte in his hand, but back then we can only imagine what was his beverage of choice.
As New Balance lore goes, the three-toed chicken foot and the way it supported the body was an inspiration for Riley to create a three-toed arch supports which he deemed would give the human foot ‘New Balance.’
At the time a pair of New Balance arch supports sold for the same price as a new pair of shoes – a hefty investment. They were picked up by firefighters and policemen and their reputation of a high quality product was secured.
Of course, New Balance had to make it through the Great Depression like everyone else and so it wasn’t until 1938 they expanded their product mix and moved into the shoe business. Built upon their reputation for quality products, the business took off and the first version of the quality ‘athletic’ shoe was born.
THE FAMOUS ‘N’ OF NEW BALANCE
Enter the 1970s and the running phenomenon explodes in the US. The famous letter ‘N’ was born on the New Balance shoe and the conscious decision to ‘name’ their shoes with numbers over model names.
The ‘320’ was the shoe that stamped New Balance’s reputation in the running world.
It was suede, it was blue, and it was awesome.
SUPPORTING AMERICAN MANUFATUCTURING
Time has moved on and New Balance still remains the last major American athletic shoe company that still makes a portion of its shoes in the US. Approximately 20% are still made in New England (well, 70% of the shoe is made in the US). Manufacturing is a challenge, and New Balance is respected for making a commitment to US manufacturing as part of its company mission.
Domestic manufacturing is a fundamental part of the New Balance brand identity and commitment to responsible leadership. In addition for the European market, they still continue to build shoes in the North of England, a tradition that has continued since the early parts of the last century.
NEW BALANCE: ENDORSED BY NO-ONE (NO LONGER)
New Balance famously did not sponsor professional athletes for a great portion of its history – a path that consolidated their ‘we’re endorsed by no one’ tagline in marketing campaigns to emphasize that New Balance running shoes were for every kind of athlete.
However, time moves on and today New Balance supports an amazing array of athletes from classic track and field runners to basketball, soccer, even cricket and most recently cycling.
Women track and field stars are well supported by New Balance both on and off the track. Follow some of the track and field stars sponsored by New Balance such as Olympians Jenny Simpson, Emma Coburn and Brenda Martinez. Their stories as as impressive as the running shoes they race in.
NEW BALANCE DESIGNS