New Balance is an American sportswear company based in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1906 by English-born William J. Riley, the brand is known for its comfortable, high-quality products.
Over the past 114 years, the North American institution has manufactured its shoes in both the U.S. (Massachusetts, Maine) and U.K. (England). Since its origins as a company specializing in arch supports, the company has enjoyed widespread popularity among running enthusiasts, which began with the New Balance Trackster, the first-ever running shoe with rippled soles (1961), and continued well into the subsequent decades thanks to the New Balance 320 (1976); New Balance 990 (1982); and New Balance 1500 (1993), among others. (President Bill Clinton famously wore the pair during his presidency, which led to high sales of the model.)
Several of the brand's most popular silhouettes are rooted in performance-needs, but they've also gained popularity within the lifestyle space. Special collaborations with Concepts, Ronnie Fieg and Aimé Leon Dore have helped it gain footing within highly sought-after sneaker collections.
Recent years have seen the Boston-based manufacturer's widespread popularity sky-rocket thanks to the “dad shoe” trend. The Steve Jobs-approved New Balance 992 from 2006 experienced its first retro run since 2010. New propositions like the New Balance 327, which debuted April 2020 in collaboration with Casablanca have quickly garnered praise for their equal-parts heritage and modern designs.
Elsewhere, NBA Champion Kawhi Leonard, who signed to the brand in 2018, has brought the company further attention, especially in the performance-basketball space. Leonard's own signature shoe – the New Balance KAWHI – launched Fall 2020.
Away from sportswear, the North American company has supported Covid-19 relief efforts with general-use face masks and footwear for healthcare workers.