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Built from the Ground Up
New Balance Athletics planted its roots when British emigrant William J. Riley found his home in Boston, Massachusetts. Better known by the simplified New Balance name, the company began its journey in footwear by selling arch supports along the East Coast. In the 1930s, Riley enlisted the help of salesman Arthur Hall to help sell his patented product and discovered that they were a hit with people who stood for long periods of time, like policemen and firefighters. The business changed hands several times over the next few decades with few changes, until 1960, when New Balance introduced the Trackster. The brand’s first running shoe marked a turning point for the company with its innovative ripple sole making waves in the track scene. But it wasn’t until the ’70s that New Balance would skyrocket to international fame.
Built for Any Foot
The 1976 New Balance M320 was a groundbreaker, crowned by Runner’s World as the #1 training shoe of the year. The M320 helped pave the way for New Balance’s presence in the running world, a category they had a special leg up in. Contrary to most footwear brands, New Balance manufactures shoes in a massive range of sizes and widths, making them one of the most versatile footwear brands on the planet. Accommodating all kinds of feet has been their specialty since the early days, helping them penetrate valuable markets all over the globe.
Top Notch Quality
New Balance has held themselves to a high standard of quality since their humble beginnings more than a century ago. Their process starts with the selection of fine suede, nubuck, leather, and mesh for the basic materials in each shoe, and is finished in one of many New Balance factories scattered throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and other parts of the world. The shoes made in these factories are beautiful, and most importantly, products of fair trade. Employees who make the shoes are treated responsibly and paid accordingly. Since the ’70s, sneakerheads have taken special notice of this, buying New Balance when they want a rugged, well-made shoe to last through several years of wear and tear. Today, New Balance sneakers are typified by popular models including the 999, 574, 990, and technologies like ABSORB, ENCAP, and Fresh Foam, all of which are preferred casual footwear consumers, as well as the most hardcore collectors. Before the turn of the century, New Balance had found a particularly strong footing in England, and their sneakers began to sell like hot cakes. Soon enough, the United Kingdom was the destination for New Balance, effectively adopting the American brand and making it one of the most important companies in their footwear culture, a fixture which still stands to this day.