New Balance is performance and comfort. They’re shoes of the people and have received a hype resurgence thanks to the mid-atlantic streetwear scene who have been touting NBs since the early 80’s and simultaneously by design icons and dad fashion heroes like Steve Jobs. But it’s not just a street shoe or a dad shoe - it’s a good sneaker - committed to comfort and honest simplicity.
Founded in 1906, Irish emigrant William J. Riley began New Balance with a revolutionary arch support design. Inspired by his chickens’ three pronged feet, Riley developed a three point design that provided greater balance and comfort. Created for people whose jobs required them to spend a lot of time on their feet, New Balance continued their focus on manufacturing arch supports until 1960 when the company released the “Trackster,” the world’s first running shoe made with a high traction ripple sole. It was also the first running shoe with variable widths and became a favorite amongst collegiate cross country teams and the unofficial shoe of the YMCA.
Though there was a faithful following amongst the small but growing running community, marketing was almost exclusively word of mouth. Until 1972, the company consisted of only six people making thirty pairs a day. The dedication to the culture of this family approach continues to this day and is evidenced through New Balance’s high labor practices, social programs, and charitable connections. They’re one of the only sneaker companies that continues to make many of their popular models in the US.
New Balance continues its trendless pursuit of honest design and because of that will always be the perfect blend of function and fashion.