New Balance Sneakers

New Balance’s history starts in 1906 when an English immigrant opened the “Balance Arch Support Company”. Originally creating only accessories to improve shoe fit, they soon found a more profitable niche: people with jobs that required them to spend much time standing up like policemen, nurses or postmen. So they went ahead and delivered some of the most comfortable shoes at the time.

Switching ownership to Eleanor and Paul Kidd in 1956 and due to requests from various athletes, New Balance turned running sneakers manufacturing into their core business and in 1961 they released “Trackster”, the first running shoe to feature a ripped sole and also the first to come in a variety of widths.

New Balance Sneakers

New Balance Sneakers

To this day, New Balance is the company the releases sneakers in the widest range of sizes and widths. Trackster went on to become the most popular running sneaker of the decade.

With only a few employees, NB could not afford big marketing campaigns, but when Jim Davis purchased the company in 1972, things changed. Four years later, New Balance 320 was rated the number one sneaker and the company managed to catch the wave and lead the whole running craze of the seventies.

New Balance is one of the few apparel companies that doesn’t give names to its shoes, choosing to assign them a 2, 3 or 4 digit number instead. Every time a shoe is redesigned, the number gets up by one. This sets the focus on the company’s philosophy and not on any individual model. So far, nobody’s figured out if there’s a logic behind each labeling or if the numbers are completely random.

Made in USA New Balance Sneakers

Unlike competitors Nike, Adidas and Reebok who’ve outsourced the whole manufacturing process to third world countries, New Balance chose to use mostly domestic, highly qualified work force to ensure better quality of their products. They own five factories in the US and one in England.

Here’s the official statement from New Balance Inc.:

“We believe most consumers think “Made in USA” means that real manufacturing jobs were provided to U.S. workers in order to make that product. The shoes produced in our U.S. factories are made by U.S. workers using both U.S. and imported materials.”

“Where the level of domestic value is at least 70%, we have labeled the shoe “Made in USA.” Where it falls below that level, we have qualified it as containing both domestic and imported materials. This determination is based in part on a survey of consumers conducted by the FTC.”

Over the years, the company grew by making numerous acquisitions and now it’s products are sold under brands like New Balance, Dunham, PF Flyers, Aravon and Warrior Lacrosse.

Click here to find a wide selection New Balance sneakers.

Read my reviews of some of the best known New Balance models:

New Balance 574
New Balance 576
New Balance 587
New Balance 701
New Balance 991
New Balance 992

mar l lebo November 9, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I have worn NB for many years and would settle for no other. My new pair, bought about 4 mos ago are a different story. The tongue of the left shoe will not stay in place. Regardless of how tight I tye the shoe it goes back and forth and my foot slides as a result. I do get my sneakers at a reoutable store and they size me everytime. I would just like a recommendation from you on what I might do to make them feel better. Being 72 I need to be able to walk as normal as possible. Thank you for your time and trouble.

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