In its inception in the turn of the 20th century, New Balance began life in America crafting arch supports after being founded by a British emigrant called William Riley. Riley created his first running shoe for a Boston based running club in the 1920’s. Word spread about how well these shoes performed and within a couple of decades, New Balance was creating custom made shoes for a variety of sports. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that they turned their hand to creating multiple styles of footwear with various widths but is now seen as a worldwide force in the world of footwear. The New Balance organisation also includes the companies Dunham, PF Flyers, Aravaon, Warrior and Brine.
From those humble beginnings of creating arch supports, New Balance are now seen as a global player in producing footwear and apparel for the everyday athlete amongst us. Their research and testing process have led them to produce an ever popular range of footwear, manufactured to fit all widths and sizes to strive to help all athletes to perform at a higher standard. Through their production process at their five factories in USA and one in UK, New Balance have maintained their core set of values to this day and strive through teamwork to bring us some of the best performing footwear possible.
New Balance now adheres to their own statement: ‘The more a brand shouts the less you listen’. It seems to be a company principal to keep the advertising and brand profile somewhat under the radar. They like the consumer to track down the brand, find out what it stands for and where it has came from and hopefully enter into the New Balance philosophy. Once you buy into New Balance, the likelihood is that you will buy from the brand again once you experience the comfort and style that they offer.
Why Is New Balance So Called?
In today’s market, choosing a brand name for a new company can sometimes be a laborious task with branding companies demanding what they like to come up with a concept that will work. New Balance had no such problems, with their founder William Riley coming up with the brand name inadvertently when spending time in a chicken yard. He observed the perfect balance of a chicken’s three claws and was inspired when crafting his custom arch supports. He wanted to create a product that would offer ‘new balance’ to his customers.
The New Balance Numbering System
New Balance trainers are identifiable by their product code. This is a process which has not changed since its early introduction by a man named Arthur Heckler. Rather than name each individual style of shoes, he decided upon numbering them to place an emphasis on the company philosophy rather than on one individual pair of trainers. This process has carried over into the 21st century with the latest styles with new technological advancements and designs given new model numbers.
Popular Styles of New Balance Trainers
If we concentrate purely on the Heritage footwear that Aphrodite stock opposed to the performance trainers, there are a variety of popular styles. The slim fitting New Balance 420 and New Balance 620 appeal to a younger demographic with them being popular with teenagers to customers in their mid-20’s. If you are looking for a wider fitting shoe at a mid range price point, the New Balance 574 is a comfortable running shoe made generally popular with the mid 20 year olds upwards. There are a range of New Balance fans that follow the brand for their ‘Made In UK’ trainers such as the New Balance 576. Because of the limited nature of trainers made in the UK in todays market, New Balance have somewhat of a niche part of the designer footwear market with their selection of home made trainers.
You can see the difference in fits between the 574 and 620 in the image below. If you would like any further information about specific sizing, please contact us.
Made in UK Footwear
Three decades ago New Balance opened its first and only UK manufacturing facility. At this time the competition were beginning to dilute their production in the UK, outsourcing the manufacturing to foreign companies in search of cheaper labour. It would have been easy to join the trend in search for a cheaper production process but New Balance stuck with their philosophy of employing a team of British workers to locally produce shoes to sell to the European markets.
The factory based in Flimby, Cumbria now employs over 200 people that work painstakingly to produce 28,000 pairs of shoes a week with the vast majority being sold into Europe. This proves a major selling point for New Balance with a lot of the competition producing their products overseas. Popular styles such as the New Balance 577 and New Balance 576 are Made In UK trainers which is reflected in their price point, being slightly more expensive than the similar looking 574 for example. Connoisseurs of sneakers are quick to seek out the Made in UK trainers, happy enough to pay the extra money for something as unique as these.
Take a look at the video further down the page to get an insight into the workings of the factory and get a feel for how much work and detail goes into each pair.
Celebrities Wearing New Balance
Celebrities are notorious for being very selected about what brands they wear. Whether it be for fashion or function, the rich and famous of the World tend to be seen in brands will earn them some credibility in the fashion magazines and websites. New Balance have repeatedly been seen on the feet of some of the biggest names in Hollywood. This list includes famous names such as Ben Affleck, Orlando Bloom, Pharrell Williams and Elijah Wood. A variety of these can be seen on the Coolspotters New Balance page.
New Balance Made In UK Video
The following video is from the New Balance Europe Youtube Channel and showcases the manufacturing process that goes into creating a pair of New Balance Made In UK trainers at their factory in Flimby. It is fascinating to see how these trainers are crafted and also offers an insight into the historical story behind New Balance. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did and would love your comments below.
Browse this seasons full range of New Balance Trainers