|Type||Privately held company|
|Founded||1906 as New Balance Arch Support Company|
|Headquarters||Boston, Massachusetts, USA|
|Key people||William J. Riley, founder
Jim Davis, Chairman
Robert T. DeMartini, CEO & President
John Withee, Exec. Vice President and CFO
|Products||Athletic shoes, shoes, apparel,|
|Revenue||US$1.55 billion (2006) |
|Employees||4,180 worldwide (October 2008)|
New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. (NBAS), best known as simply New Balance, is an American footwear manufacturer based in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America. It was founded in 1906 as the New Balance Arch Support Company. Eschewing expensive advertising campaigns, it has, nevertheless, grown to be one of the largest makers of sports footwear in the world.
New Balance has continued to maintain a manufacturing presence in the United States as well as in the United Kingdom for the European market, where they produce some of their popular models such as the 990 model, in contrast to its competitors in the same market space who do not manufacture in the USA or UK. The result of this is that New Balance shoes tend to be more expensive than those of many other manufacturers. To offset this pricing difference, New Balance claims to differentiate their products with technical features, such as a blend of gel inserts, heel counters, and a greater selection of sizes, particularly for very narrow and/or very wide widths.
In 1905, William J. Riley, a 33-year old British emigrant, founded the New Balance Arch Support Company manufacturing arch supports and other accessories designed to improve shoe fit in the Boston area. His first product, a flexible arch support, was designed with three support points to provide greater balance and comfort in the shoe. It is believed that Riley came up with the name "New Balance" by observing chickens in his yard and demonstrated the way his arch supports worked by keeping a chicken foot on his office desk. He explained to customers that the chicken's three-clawed foot resulted in perfect balance. In 1927, Riley hired Arthur Hall to be a salesman. In 1934, Hall became a business partner and found his niche by marketing to people whose jobs required them to spend much time standing. In 1956, Hall sold the business to his daughter Eleanor and her husband Paul Kidd.
Eleanor and Paul Kidd continued to sell mainly arch supports until 1960, when they designed and manufactured the "Trackster," the world's first running shoe made with a ripple sole. It was also the first running shoe to come in varying widths. The "Trackster" was given a big boost through the YMCA programs in which it became the unofficial shoe. College track teams such as MIT, Tufts University and Boston University adopted the New Balance Trackster for their cross-country teams, soon to be followed by other colleges and private high schools around the country.
Marketing was mostly word-of-mouth or local sports fairs. Sales languished until 1972 when current Chairman Jim Davis bought the company the day of the Boston Marathon. At the time, the company consisted of 6 people making 30 pairs of shoes daily and selling products mostly through mail-order with a few U.S. retailers. Jim committed himself to uphold the company's traditional commitment to individual preferences, customer service and quality products. His future wife Anne, who joined the company in 1978, focused on building a distinct culture for New Balance employees and customers. Their timing was perfect, as the Boston area became a center for the running boom that struck the U.S. in the 1970s. Their product line expanded and sales grew rapidly. The company prospered, and the Davises looked to expand New Balance into a global company. The company is now run by Rob DeMartini. DeMartini's background includes Procter & Gamble and Gillette Shave Company. Today, 30% of the New Balance shoes sold in the European market are manufactured at the New Balance facility in England.
Made in USA (and UK) stance 
New Balance is one of several shoe companies that makes some of their products in the United States. Green America states in the New Balance Responsible Shopper company information page that around one quarter of NB's shoes are made in the United States. New Balance owns six factories in the United States: two in Massachusetts (Boston and Lawrence), three in Maine (Norridgewock, Skowhegan, and Norway), and one in California.
In 1994, New Balance manufactured 70% of its shoes in the United States. In 2006, New Balance stated on its customer help site that "approximately 25% of the New Balance shoes sold in North America are Made in the USA and we will continue domestic manufacturing."  According to Fortune Magazine in 2006, "about 70 percent of its shoes are now made in China and the other 5 percent in Vietnam." 
The New Balance production facility in the United Kingdom has been, since 1982, at Flimby, Cumbria in North West England, where 28,000 pairs of shoes are produced each week.
Toning footwear 
A class action lawsuit against New Balance filed in 2011 alleges that the company's toning footwear touts unproven benefits. In support of its claim of false advertising, it cites a University of Wisconsin–La Crosse research study on Toning Shoes that has been funded and published by the American Council on Exercise.
Researchers reported that there were no “statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation” as a result of wearing the Toning Shoes. There was no statistically significant difference between participants wearing special "Toning shoes" and controls wearing normal sneakers. The researchers concluded that there is "simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.” However, it was noted that “These shoes may be encouraging a fair number of people who probably wouldn’t put on a normal pair of walking shoes and go out and walk." 
New Balance is the apparel partner for the Melbourne Football Club in the Australian Football League. It also has an endorsement deal with Matt Bonner of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs. New Balance also sponsors the Boston Cannons major league lacrosse team (MLL), and the primary sponsor of Boston's bike share system, New Balance Hubway. New Balance sponsored their first tennis player Canadian Milos Raonic starting 2013. New Balance has also debuted a Skateboarding shoe line dubbed, New Balance Numeric, which is to be distributed by Black Box Distribution and features PJ Ladd and Arto Saari as part of their team.
- "Fact Sheet: New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc." (PDF). New Balance. Retrieved 2006-09-23.
- Enduring Performance: The New Balance Story
- Responsible Shopper Profile: New Balance
- New Balance – Domestic Manufacturing
- Hemmerdinger, J. (22 May 2011). "The Bottom Line: Running hard". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- Shoe and Tell: The Quest for American-Made Sneakers
- "USA Manufactured Models", New Balance, FAQ, October 17, 2006
- Parloff, Roger, "Not exactly counterfeit: Foreign contractors make more products than they're supposed to then sell the excess out the back door. New Balance found out just how hard it can be to shut down the 'third shift.', Fortune magazine, April 26, 2006
- "Pashamova v. New Balance". Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- Parcari, Ph.D., John; Mark Anders, John Greany, Ph.D., Stephanie Tepper, M.S., Brian Edmonson, B.S., and Carl Foster, Ph.D. Will Toning Shoes Really Give You A Better Body?. Retrieved 2/5/11.
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