New Balance has made quite a name for itself as a manufacturer of high-quality running shoes, putting out more than twenty-eight thousand pairs of shoes every week. The company’s early-twentieth-century origins are actually more medical than athletic: William J. Riley, an Englishman in Massachusetts, began making well fitting shoes for people with orthopaedic problems. He made shoes with comfort arch supports and soon teamed up with an expert orthopaedic-footwear salesman to expand his business, mainly targeting those who worked on their feet and urgently needed better shoes.
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In its time, New Balance has set many standards in the shoe trade, from developing running spikes in the 1930s and ripple-soled, multi-width running shoes in the 1960s, to equipping marathon winners the world over, among them Khalid Khannouchi, who established a new world record marathon time in 1999.
Despite this outstanding success in the athletics world, New Balance has not lost sight of its orthopaedic beginnings, and makes a point of manufacturing its shoes in a range of widths and lengths, so that every customer can find a pair that fits just right. The company recognises that nothing hampers a runner’s performance more than an ill-fitting pair of trainers. The New Balance Suspension System has become a standard feature of New Balance shoes, providing the very best support for the feet.
New Balance shoes have a whole lot of footwear technology packed into them. The soles are made of solid shock-dispersing rubber, and encourage a smooth roll from the heel right to the toe as you run, while the foot is supported by a cushioning arch and protected by mesh uppers. The shoes are surprisingly lightweight considering all the components that go into making them, and the overall aim is that you are able to run freely and naturally without having to give your shoes a second thought.
While the majority of running shoes have synthetic mesh uppers, New Balance manufactures a number of lines in suede or a mixture of suede and mesh. These shoes are often worn as casual everyday trainer shoes due to their fashionable look, but they have all the hallmarks of New Balance’s most hi-tech running shoes: shock absorption, foot cushioning, and a scientifically inspired design.
The differences in size and gait between men and women mean that New Balance has developed shoes with individual needs in mind. They also have a range of children’s shoes, including sports shoes and velcro-fastened leather trainers in a variety of bright colours. In keeping with the company’s origins and philosophy, New Balance is very committed to training young feet to develop healthily and naturally.