#TheStreetScene: Why New Balance holds the future to the sneaker industry

The brand that is surprisingly taking over the streetwear market

Let’s be honest here, New Balance are absolutely killing it. The year of 2020 has been very good to New Balance, growing from a standard sportswear company to one of fashion’s most in-demand brands. Through several collaborations with massive names such as Ronnie Fieg, Norse Projects, Aimé Leon Dore and many more, New Balance aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.

A New Balance runner

Founded in 1906 in Boston, U.S., New Balance is currently one of the world’s major footwear brands and have had a long-standing history of providing trainers with their iconic arch support soles. Founder William Riley began manufacturing arch supports to provide added comfort to trainers, with the brand originally named New Balance Arch Support Company. The product featured three support points in order to provide as much balance to the user as possible, therefore the name of the brand. The arch supports were so successful that the business took off instantly, but there was room to grow. Riley hired his friend Arthur Hall to help him sell the products in the early 1930’s, before then then selling the business to Hall’s daughter Eleanor and her husband Paul Kidd in 1956. The Kidd’s carried on selling their iconic arch supports, but in the 60’s decided that there was even more room to expand, by designing running shoes. Several U.S. college “track” teams took on their new release of trainers, which set a trend for other schools and colleges to follow in their footsteps. Their first set of running trainers were going viral throughout the U.S. education system; it was a massive success, even though this was just the start for the business.

A detailed illustration of Riley’s arch support

Throughout the past couple of decades, New Balance has grown from selling arch supports which can be placed inside of your own footwear, to making their own signature styles. They have gone from a small business to a global conglomerate. Launching their own apparel side of the company as they decided to venture in to the fashion side of things, due to the success of Nike and Adidas doing the same, New Balance struck major deals with leading names in the sports industry, such as Liverpool Football Club and the New York Mets baseball team. In early 2020, New Balance announced a sponsorship deal of multi-years with the NBA. The growth of the brand has gone from strength to strength over the past couple of decades as they are going in to different markets to attract a range of customers.

New Balance as Liverpool’s official shirt sponsor and manufacturer

New Balance have been at the forefront of sneaker trends throughout the past year, especially due to the massive interest in the “chunky trainer” or “dad shoe” trend. It was massive throughout 2019 and their success has carried on in to the new decade, and the brand have taken full advantage of the trainer industry through exclusive releases and collaborations; pairs of trainers that are extremely “hyped” up by the streetwear community. That being said, with exclusive releases comes a lot of money, and this is where New Balance are thriving. Collaborating with big names within the fashion industry, with a personal favourite being with Aimé Leon Dore, providing several different multi-coloured takes on the New Balance chunky 827 runner style. These styles sold out instantly, originally being sold for £150, and now being sold on the re-sell market for around double the retail price. By tapping in to this “hyped” sneaker market, New Balance are showing that they can compete with high-fashion brands, whilst also making the standard running trainer for everyone to wear daily; and a lot of brands can’t compete with what New Balance are currently doing at the moment.

An advert for the New Balance x Aimé Leon Dore collaboration

With the 327 New Balance style just being released a couple weeks ago, they have been flying off of the shelves at an affordable price range of £70, coming in a variety of colours. Next on the release radar, New Balance are looking to implement London in to its next biggest release, with the “MADE IN UK 1500” set to be dropping soon. This limited style takes inspiration from British culture in the 80’s, as it is honouring 40 years of the Virgin Money London Marathon, with this trainer made from premium materials. Coming in a colourway featuring a mix of grey, black, white and red on the outer part of the shoe, with the acronym ‘LDN’ stitched on the side, this is surely going to be one of the biggest releases in New Balance’s history.

The MADE IN UK 1500 New Balance style

New Balance have a very exciting decade ahead of them if they carry on in the way in which they are currently going.

Written by Matthew Nicoll for #TheStreetScene