New Balance: 15 Things You Didn’t Know (Part 1)

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New Balance was built around the belief that quality is more important than fame, and comfortable footwear should be accessible to everyone. Here are 15 things you probably didn’t know about the American-made athletic company!

Number Fifteen: New Balance Was Founded by a British Man

New Balance was established in 1906 in Massachusetts by William J. Riley, a British immigrant. The company gained rapid success around the Boston area. Riley sold the business to his daughter and son-in-law, Eleanor and Paul, in 1954.

Number Fourteen: It Started as an Orthopedic Business

William J. Riley’s aim was to provide quality, flexible arch support insoles and prescription shoes for people with foot problems. He named his business ‘New balance Arch Support Company’. The original owner never sold any sneakers.

Number Thirteen: Their Inspiration Came from Chickens

Riley’s original arch support concept was inspired by chickens’ claws and how these animals balance themselves on them. The businessman used to have a chicken on his desk to study its movements at all times. That is how he came up with the idea of an insole with three support points.

Number Twelve: The World’s First High Performance Running Shoe

Seven years after taking over the company, Eleanor and Paul decided to add a special bonus to the insole company: they created the world’s very first professional running sneakers, the “Trackster”. Both insoles and sneakers were sold at the store until the couple decided to sell their company 10 years later.

Number Eleven: World’s First 3D-Printed High Performance Running Shoe

54 years after the Trackster was released, New Balance announced they would be launching the first high performance running shoe printed with a printed midsole. The shoe will be presented in April this year in their main headquarters, in Boston.

Number Ten: The “N” Was Only Introduced in the ‘70s

The “N” logo makes New Balance sneakers stand out from any other pair of running shoes out there. The letter didn’t make an appearance until the mid ‘70s, when the 320 and 620 models were launched. That specific aesthetic decision put the shoe brand on the map and skyrocketed their sales nationwide.

Number Nine: Bill Clinton Was a Fan

Former U.S. President Bill Clint was often caught on camera jogging around the White House in New Balance kicks. The 1500 was his model of choice. Asics and Saucony completed his sneaker collection.

Number Eight: Policemen and Firefighters Were Their First Customers

New Balance didn’t have any stores for the first few decades since its opening. Arthur Hall, Riley’s business partner, used to travel to police stations and firehouses to sell their products. The business partners figured policemen and firefighters needed comfortable shoes to stand on all day long. Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!

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