In 1906, William Riley got the inspiration for improving arch support in sneakers by studying the shape of a chicken's foot. He founded the New Balance Arch Support Company to manufacture insoles with three support points. Over the next several years, Riley grew the business and brought on new partners with sales expertise--including Arthur Hall, who came up with the idea to market the brand to consumers whose jobs required them to spend most of the day on their feet. Hall eventually sold his share in New Balance to his daughter Eleanor and her husband. Under their ownership, the brand began manufacturing its first running shoes, which became popular among the track teams at major universities across the country.
In 1972, Jim Davis bought the company--which still only had six employees almost 75 years after it was founded--and began to grow it on a global scale. Davis helped the brand branch out into different types of footwear, and he also led New Balance as it ventured into manufacturing apparel. Today, the company operates several factories on the East Coast and one in England. It sells its products to consumers in more than 120 countries across the globe. Innovation continues to be at the heart of everything the brand does, and it is committed to creating products that give wearers better fit and performance.
Shoes (and particularly sneakers) continue to be the most popular products manufactured by New Balance. In kids' sizes, you can find options like running shoes, lifestyle shoes, cross-training shoes, and sports shoes. Products are available in infant sizes (2-10), pre-school sizes (10.5-3) and grade school sizes (3.5-7) for both boys and girls. Kids' shoes feature a wide array of fun colors and designs to perfectly complement the support that they provide. Other products for kids include socks, shoelaces, backpacks, duffle bags, headbands, wristbands, and more.
When it comes to women's sizes, shoes are divided into categories based on the specific sports and activities for which they are designed. Options include running, training, walking, hiking, tennis, softball, and golf. Other shoes are more general and include lifestyle sneakers, casual slip-ons, and sandals. You can find several women's apparel options for casual wear and active wear. Popular tops include tanks, t-shirts, graphic tees, jerseys, thermals, hoodies, and athletic jackets. Running shorts, skorts, tights, capris, and yoga pants are also available to improve athletic performance. Accessories for women include sports bras, socks, sunglasses, bags, hats, gloves, braces, and more. You can also find New Balance insoles that harken back to the company's origins.
Though it took New Balance several decades to really venture out and begin growing on a massive scale, it has gradually become one of the top names in athletic shoes for people of all ages. Whether you are shopping for your tot's first pair of sneakers or are outfitting yourself for your favorite sport, it's easy to find shoes that complement practically every lifestyle. The brand's shoes aren't cheap, but they are built to last--and the company has more than a century of history behind it to back up its reputation. We give New Balance 4.5 stars out of 5.
- Established 1906
- Athletic shoes and apparel
- Sold at:
- Major retailers, specialty shoe stores, online
- Types of items:
- Running shoes, walking shoes, lifestyle sneakers, cross-trainers, sports shoes, socks, bags, backpacks, headbands, wristbands, tees, tanks, jerseys, sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets, activewear, shorts, leggings, tights, capris, yoga pants, braces, insoles
- Related brands:
- Dunham, PF Flyers, Warrior, Aravon, Brine