New Balance: Definitions for the Clothing & Footwear Industry

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New Balance is a brand of shoe produced by the company New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.

History

In 1906, William J. Riley, a 33 year old English immigrant, began manufacturing arch supports and other accessories in Boston, Massachusetts which were designed to improve shoe fit. In 1934, Riley became partners with his top salesman, Arthur Hall, who had found his sales niche by marketing his products to policemen and people with jobs which required them to spend a lot of time standing. In 1956, Hall sold the business to his daughter and her husband, Eleanor and Paul Kidd. Eleanor and Paul continued to sell mainly arch supports until 1961 when they designed and manufactured the Trackster, the world's first running shoe made with a ripple sole. In another first, the shoe also came in varying widths. The Trackster became the shoe of choice for running coaches and fitness directors, and thus New Balance's reputation for manufacturing innovative and specialized footwear in multiple widths grew. In 1972, Jim Davis, the current CEO of New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., bought the company on the day of the Boston Marathon. Back then, the company consisted of just six people who were making 30 pairs of shoes a day. Jim's wife Anne joined the company in 1978 with a focus on expanding New Balance into a global company. Today, 30% of the shoes sold in the European market are manufactured at the New Balance facility in England.

Current Company Profile

Today (early 2006), New Balance employs about 2,000 people worldwide, including 1,200 manufacturing associates in five U.S. plants which are located in Boston and Lawrence, Massachusetts, Norridgewock, Skowhegan and Norway, Maine. Annual revenue for the company hit the $1 billion mark in 2000. New Balance is still a privately held company and it has remained committed to its original strengths, including width-sizing, U.S. manufacturing and grassroots promotions. A large part of New Balance's marketing strategy is based on their support of athletics. The company sponsors the LaSalle Banks Chicago Marathon, the New Balance Maine Distance Festival, the Lilac Bloomsday Run, the New Balance Games and the Great Cow Harbor 10K. New Balance has become a national sponsor of the Susan G. Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure of Breast Cancer. It is also a generous contributor to various charities in Boston and other cities in which New Balance facilities are located.

Shoes

The main appeal of the New Balance shoe is the varying widths in which they are made. New Balance shoes are offered in up to six different widths - from a narrow 2A to a wide 6E in sizes 5 to 20 for adults, 6 to 8.5 for small children and 2 to 8 for infants. Having multiple widths available in many sizes is a hallmark of the product line. Since New Balance shoes are designed to be worn for athletic purposes, other features have been integrated as well. ABZORB is a shock attenuating, cushioning addition to many styles and categories of shoe. The Rollbar'stability System consists of a graphite plate and is designed to keep the foot in a neutral plane during the gait cycle. Stability Web is a lightweight web-like structure used to maintain stability and midfoot support. The Walking Strike Path, designed specifically for walking shoes, follows the pressure path that occurs during the gait cycle. The N-ergy S.C. System is the newest technology from New Balance. It is made to provide maximum heel cushioning and medial and lateral stability. New Balance carries shoes for both men and women, specifically designed for different sports, including walking, running, cross-training, tennis, basketball, golf, football, cheering and track and field. The brand also carries apparel and equipment for these various sports.

Fashion Industry


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