Archive for the 'New Balance' Category


Customize Your Own New Balance shoes

Customize Your Own New Balance Shoes

New Balance are the only athletic shoes still made in the USA. New Balance has numerous models of shoes (not all made in the USA) but have allowed that you could customize the colors of several models (990, 998 and 574) to your liking.

In honor of Independence day, I have designed some of the shoes for the Fourth of July.

Red White and Blue Model 998

Red White and Blue Model 990

Or you can customize the 998

RWBOr the model 574

New Balance Model 574

New Balance Model 574

But. you don’t have to be patriotic. You can customize it with your favorite team colors:

Orange and Black SF Giants

Orange and Black- San Francisco Giants.

One more item, you can have writing placed on the tongues, however, I do not believe that New Balance will allow you to use a trademarked logo. You can spell out their names, or put on Made in USA or your name, etc.

Golden State Warriors colors 998

Golden State Warriors colors 998 model

It is fun to design your own shoe. Give it a shot. Go to the New Balance website and have fun.


New Balance Bespoke Sneakers Made in USA

New Made in USA

New Balance Shoes have a fantastic selection of high end, high quality sneakers. What? High end sneakers? Aren’t all sneakers made in China or Vietnam? I am serious. For the past couple of years, New Balance has been making a limited amount of high end sneakers in the United States. They have teamed up with the Chicago leather company called Horween.

These sneakers are head turning and sell out very quickly. A manager of a New Balance tells me that some Chinese citizens travel to the United States and buy tons of these New Balance sneakers and smuggle them back to China because: 1) they are gorgeous, 2) they are Made in The USA, which makes them a collectors item, and 3) they can sell them in China for twice the amount.

The price of these bespoke New Balance sneakers are quite expensive. But again, they are not your every-day-kick-around-sneakers. These are made to last a lifetime. So, treat them like the special jewels that they are.

Where to Find the Bespoke sneakers?

The best place to find the New Balance Bespoke sneakers can be found on the New Balance website. The problem with the New Balance website is that they do not adequately highlight the Bespoke or Retro Shoes. Also, it is very hard to find the “Bespoke Section” of shoes, because it does not exist. The New Balance website is set up more like a Shoe Mart and not a high end website that highlights the latest high end sneakers that will make your mouth drool.

There is a website that does do justice to the High End New Balance shoes. And it is called Leather Soul which is a seller of leather shoes with stores in Honolulu, Hawaii and Hollywood, California. Following their link will show you its entries on the New Balance Shoes over the past year.

Models of the Bespoke and Retro New Balance Sneakers

I have highlighted some of the nicer bespoken and retro New Balance shoe models. I have also provided the appropriate link to each of the models (under the photo of the shoes) which  directs you to the New Balance website for the models – so you don’t get lost within the New Balance website.

1400 Bespoke Crooners

1400 Bespoke Crooners

1400 Bespoke Crooners – Men’s 1400 – Classic, – New Balance – US – 2

A smooth silhouette fit for a night out, the 1400 Bespoke Crooners men’s sneaker is proudly crafted in the USA using Chicago-sourced Horween® leather.

1300 Explore by Sea

1300 Explore by Sea

Link: 1300 Explore by Sea

1700 Explore by Sea

1700 Explore by Sea

Link: 1700 Explore by Sea

997 Distinct Retro Ski - these are actually from the retro line and do not use Horween Leather

997 Distinct Retro Ski – these are actually from the retro line using touches of Horween Leather

Link: 997 Distinct Retro Ski

998 Explore By Sea

998 Explore By Sea

Link: 998 Explore By Sea

990 Distinct Hamptons

990 Distinct Hamptons

Link: 990 Distinct Hamptons

997 Distinct USA

997 Distinct USA

Link: 997 Distinct USA

998 Horween Leather - Burgundy - introduced in late 2014

998 Horween Leather – Burgundy – introduced in late 2014

Link: Horween Leather – Burgundy


New Balance had been the only shoe manufacturer that still makes athletic shoes Made in the USA. You may argue that P.F. Flyers also makes sneakers in the USA, but P.F. Flyers are owned by New Balance. High end sneakers are the latest fashion trend, kind of like high end Tequlia. Even P.F. Flyers have a high end sneaker.

P F Flyers Leather - in conjunction with Tanner Leathers

P F Flyers Leather – in conjunction with Tanner Leathers

The high end New Balance sneakers have some great models, however, their marketing of them is very substandard. I am not sure how you will know when the latest edition comes out unless you subscribe to Leather Soul that I mentioned earlier.

In case, you do not like any models seen on the New Balance website, it turns out that you can customize you own shoe, many different color combinations and several different models to choose from. Go to New Balance, com and go to “Customize”.

Happy shoe hunting.


Military recruits still not using American-made sneakers

Military recruits still not using American-made sneakers | Deseret News.

BOSTON — New Balance thinks the U.S. military is dragging its feet.

The Approved New Balance 950V2 model shoe just waiting for the military to deliver them to recruits

The Approved New Balance 950V2 model shoe just waiting for the military to deliver them to recruits

Last April, the Department of Defense announced military recruits would start using athletic shoes 100 percent made and manufactured in America, in recognition of a law Congress passed in 1941 requiring the department give preference to American-made goods.

Over a year after the announcement, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have still not purchased a single sneaker that meets the exacting standards of the 1941 law, known as the Berry Amendment.

Matthew LeBretton, New Balance’s vice president of public affairs, is convinced the delays are deliberate “payback” for companies like New Balance that have been vocally lobbying for the change for years.

“We’ve pushed and pushed to the point where we’re at now, and we’re still encountering tremendous resistance,” he said. “They’re not used to being pushed that way and I think that’s engendered this animosity.”

Mark Wright, a spokesman for the Department of Defense, said the department is simply continuing to test Berry-compliant sneakers.

“We’ve moved right along since the new policy went into effect last year,” he said. “I don’t think this is being slow-rolled at all. We’re trying to respond to the needs of our forces.”

To date, one variant of Boston-based New Balance’s proposed 950v2 sneaker has passed the military’s testing, after a previous version failed last year. Two other styles of the same shoe — covering the different foot and gait types that the military requires shoe companies offer — are still being tested.

No other shoe brand appears to be going through the testing; Saucony, another Massachusetts-based footwear company, said it’s developing a sneaker that eventually could be considered for military use.

Matthew Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, doesn’t believe there’s anything nefarious going on, despite New Balance’s concerns.

“The military is a bureaucracy like any other agency in the federal government,” he said, stressing that his association is remaining “neutral” in the fight because some of its members benefit from the policy change while others don’t. “Things just take time.”

Others see the delays as concerning.

Juanita Duggan, president and CEO for the American Apparel and Footwear Association, said in a recent letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter that the “sluggish and drawn-out process” is preventing domestic shoemakers from hiring and retaining U.S. workers for their factories.

U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, a Massachusetts Democrat whose district includes one of New Balance’s five American factories, says the Defense Department needs to step up.

“There have been signs of movement in the approval process, but it is time for (the department) to make more significant progress and reconcile what they perceive as challenges to moving forward,” she said.

New Balance and Saucony suggest part of the problem lies in an inefficient testing regimen.

Wright said the process involves an inquiry to assure that all shoe components are sourced, made and assembled in the U.S., followed by a “wear test” that lasts roughly 90 days in which soldiers put them through the paces and then fill out a report on how they felt.

“We know it won’t change overnight,” said David Costello, a spokesman for Wolverine Worldwide, Saucony’s parent company. “The wheels of government tend to move slowly.”

Frank Kendall, an Under Secretary of Defense, said in a March letter to Tsongas that the tests are being done one shoe type at a time because of a limited number of testers. He expects evaluations of New Balance’s three shoe variants to be done by September.

LeBretton said the testing is the most protracted the company, which is already the sole provider of sneakers for the Navy, has ever been involved in.

The U.S. Coast Guard, he notes, has already moved to comply with the Berry Amendment even though it doesn’t fall under the Pentagon’s revised policy.

The Coast Guard, which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, recently tapped New Balance, which it had a previous contract with, to provide thousands of American-made sneakers for its recruits.

“It’s mind-boggling,” LeBretton said. “It certainly highlights that there is this institutional slowdown” at the Pentagon.

Wright, of the Department of Defense, stresses the military is committed to honoring the “spirit” of the Berry Amendment even as it maintains sneakers are technically not part of a soldier’s officially issued uniform and shouldn’t be subject to the rule.

Currently, most recruits are given a one-time voucher to purchase sneakers at military supply stores that have met certain standards. Among the brands offered recruits are Asics, Brooks and New Balance.

New Balance and its supporters maintain the Berry Amendment should still apply, whether or not the military “issues” the sneakers or gives recruits a stipend to purchase them. “The bottom line is that the law is the law and the military needs to follow the law,” LeBretton said.

At New Balance’s factory in Boston, plant manager Tim Luke said the company remains at the ready.

It’s already invested in new equipment and training and begun ramping up production of “tens of thousands” of pairs of its Berry-compliant model.

“There’s a huge pride factor in this. We recognize where these shoes are going to go,” Luke said during a recent factory tour. “By now, we have the process completely defined and refined so when the chance finally comes, we’re ready to go.”

This story has been corrected to show that American Apparel and Footwear Association president and CEO Juanita Duggan made comments concerning the military’s sneaker policy, not company spokeswoman Catherine Michael.


Editor’s Note: It is great that the U.S. military has vowed to go back to using U.S. manufactured shoes. The question for the slowness: is it because there is a giant bureaucracy that  can’t get its act together or is it because the great bureaucracy has an ax to grind and making New Balance going through testing that previous shoes never had to go through? Presently the military is letting the recruits wear non-tested Nikes Made in China or Vietnam through a loophole in the 1914 law. As you read the next article, maybe there is something to the military having an ax to grind:

Why won’t Pentagon buy this made-in-America sneaker? – Lowell Sun Online.

LAWRENCE — Why do U.S. military recruits still run around with Nike sneakers made in China on their feet?

That’s what some U.S. sneaker manufacturers and U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas are wondering more than a year after the Pentagon announced it would change its policy and provide recruits with American-made footwear.

The Pentagon spends tens of millions of dollars a year on footwear for military recruits and soldiers, with most of the money going to manufacturers who make the goods in Vietnam, China and elsewhere

Officials at New Balance, which has a sales and production plant in Lawrence, were euphoric when the “Made in America” policy change was announced in April 2014, hoping to benefit from being one of a few U.

The New Balance 950v2 will be seen on new recruits all around U.S. military camps COURTESY NEW BALANCESun staff photos can be ordered by

The New Balance 950v2 will be seen on new recruits all around U.S. military camps eventually. photo COURTESY NEW BALANCESun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

S. manufacturers who produce 100 percent American-made sneakers. There was talk of new revenue, new jobs and new marketing.

But the high optimism has given way to a letdown, as U.S. military bureaucrats seemingly devise ways to either stall, delay or kill the prospects of any U.S. footwear maker from breaking a foreign stranglehold on the Pentagon’s sneaker procurement system.

Tsongas, who championed the legislative effort over several years as a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, is also concerned about the lack of progress. She sought the policy change to boost local and national footwear manufacturing, saying it would supply the military with the “best equipment possible” from U.S. trained workers.

“It’s time for the Department of Defense to move forward with this,” Tsongas said last week in an interview. “I’m continuing to stay on top of this and monitor this situation very closely.

“This is to support American manufacturing, and I would love to see New Balance in our own backyard benefit from it,” added Tsongas, who represents the 3rd District, which includes Lawrence and Lowell.

A New Balance employee, sporting a "Made in the USA" logo on her T-shirt, gathers materials while making footwear at the company’s Lawrence

A New Balance employee, sporting a “Made in the USA” logo on her T-shirt, gathers materials while making footwear at the company’s Lawrence factory. SUN / Ryan McBrideSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

Pentagon obstructionism?

According to New Balance officials, the process to get American shoes to the military has been dragging because of a “bureaucratic quagmire within the Department of Defense.” The Pentagon has been testing and evaluating the shoes at an East Coast training site.

“The Department of Defense has made it very difficult for domestic retailers to sell shoes to them. They’ve put up every roadblock, including with the testing of the shoes,” said Matt LeBretton, director of public affairs for New Balance. “It’s really crazy to take this long. We’re ready. We’ve been ready for years.”

“But we’re moving closer and closer with each day,” LeBretton added. “We’re not in a position to sell yet, but we’re getting there.

Employees work in the New Balance factory in Lawrence on Tuesday.SUN / RYAN MCBRIDESun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

Employees work in the New Balance factory in Lawrence on Tuesday. SUN / RYAN MCBRIDESun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

Pentagon honors loophole

Congress passed the Berry Amendment in 1941 to ensure that American soldiers trained and operated, to the greatest extent possible, with American-made uniforms and equipment. However, since fiscal 2002, Tsongas said the Defense Department has circumvented this policy by issuing cash allowances to new recruits for training shoes that are not required to be Berry Amendment-compliant.

She emphasized it was costing American manufacturing jobs and inhibiting U.S. military members from training in high-quality American footwear.

Military officials had previously told Congress the law couldn’t apply to running shoes for new recruits because a suitable product manufactured totally in America didn’t exist in the marketplace.

Maria Vicens, manager of the New Balance plant in Lawrence, talks about the facility and their commitment to producing American-made shoes for the military

Maria Vicens, manager of the New Balance plant in Lawrence, talks about the facility and their commitment to producing American-made shoes for the military on Tuesday. See a video at SUN / RYAN MCBRIDESun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

But that is no longer the case. New Balance and at least one other footwear manufacturing company — Michigan-based Wolverine Worldwide — can provide a 100 percent Berry Amendment-compliant athletic shoe.

As a result, in 2014, Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox announced that the Defense Department would change its policy and provide military recruits with American-made footwear.

New Balance’s frustration

Since the announcement, the military has been taking its sweet time to implement the change, according to LeBretton of New Balance.

“They were upset being told they now have to follow this. They are used to doing what they want to do, when they want to do it,” LeBretton said.

An electronic board states the plant’s production goal and its actual performance. Here, workers are exceeding the goal.Sun staff photos can be

An electronic board states the plant’s production goal and its actual performance. Here, workers are exceeding the goal.Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

 “So when the policy changed, they decided to make us go through this long testing process that didn’t exist in the past.”

The New Balance “stability” military shoe has been approved, but the other two styles of New Balance military shoes are still in the testing review process, he said.

According to Mark Wright, a Defense Department spokesman, the testing is necessary for the shoes to meet the military durability standard. Shoes are at various stages of testing, and if they pass the qualifications, then they will be eligible for the recruits, he said.

“For these shoes to pass the wearability and durability tests is really the big challenge for shoe manufacturers,” Wright said.

New Balance officials also believe military exchanges — retail stores that provide military recruits with equipment and merchandise — have been obstructing the process.

The way the exchange works: The shoe manufacturer sells wholesale to the exchange, which then marks up the cost of the shoe for the recruits; the recruits then receive an allowance from the Defense Department for a pair of shoes.

The exchange’s profit margin will drop with American-made shoes because they cost more than foreign-made shoes, LeBretton said.

“Our shoes will be within the same allowance and the exchange will still make a profit, but there will be a margin drop for the institutional buyers in the Defense Department,” he said. “We are receiving an incredible amount of push-back because of that difference in margin. They’ve grown to expect a large profit margin.

“At the end of the day, this is not about making money for us,” he added. “The Berry law seems pretty clear to us, and it’s a matter of principle to see this play out.”

However, a spokesman for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service stressed the exchanges have not impeded the process. Chris Ward, a public relations specialist, said the Defense Department continues to test the shoes to ensure the recruits are safe.

“There’s been no holdup on our end,” Ward said. “Everyone’s waiting for the testing to be complete, and then this can move forward.”

When asked about the profit margins going down with American-made shoes, Ward said the exchanges have not explored that because the testing is still going on.

A ray of hope?

The whole process has been a “waiting game” for Caitlin Campbell, public affairs manager at New Balance, but she’s optimistic that New Balance will be able to send its military shoes to recruits soon.

“A lot of teamwork has gone into the development of this,” Campbell said. “We can’t wait to get it out there.”

The New Balance 950v2 military shoe was inspired by the shoe the company produces for a 100-mile race in Colorado. Campbell said the military shoe is designed for the rigor of military training, so it’s a stiffer shoe and more durable than a typical running shoe.

Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter and Tout @rsobeyLSun.


New Balance Bringing “Made In USA” To Four Cities With Special Tour

New Balance Bringing “Made In USA” To Four Cities With Special Tour –

New Balance Bringing “Made In USA” to Four Cities With Special Tour

From Sneaker News by Zack Sclemmer June 10, 2015

New Balance the only shoe manufacturer that still makes shoes “Made in USA” takes its show on the road.

New Balance hits the road to promote their Made in USA sneakers this summer, touring various music and arts festivals around the country with ‘New Balance Made in USA Experience Tour’ pop-up booth. Emphasizing the American made high-quality and superb craftsmanship of their sneakers, the exhibition features product displays of Made in USA styles including the 993, 997 and 2040, a “NB Maker” Customization area, display from New Balance collector Richie Roxas (@newbalance365), and a local artist to each stop printing customized tour posters.

The event will visit the following cities this summer:
Manchester, TN / Bonnaroo / June 11-14
Manayunk, PA / Manayunk Arts Festival / June 20-21
Washington, DC / DC BBQ Battle / June 27-28
Milwaukee, WI / Summerfest / July 2-5

 Thanks to The Alliance for American Manufacturing for highlighting this article. By the way, the above shirt is also made in the USA.

Favorite U.S. Store #9 – New Balance Outlet

Believe It! There are tennis shoes made in the USA (by New Balance). I have, therefore, named New Balance  as one of my favorite stores because they produce one thing that no other shoe company does in the United States..and that is produce athletic shoes that are manufactured in the United States. Although their U.S. total production is 25% of their total, they still fulfill a giant niche. I had known they produced many great running shoes, and I had previously seen some of their walking and training shoes being made in the US. But not until now did I find out that they made tennis shoes. The model # MC656WN.

New Balance Tennis Shoes
Made in the USA

The New Balance Story

New Balance was created in 1906 by an Englishman, William Riley in Boston, Massachusetts. It was originally called New Balance Arch Support Company. Riley was inspired by a chicken foot, its three toed foot helped the chicken keep perfect balance. From this, he developed the flexible arch support. His purpose was to relieve laborer’s foot pain and help them stay on their feet.

The First Towards Innovation

New Balance developed the first running shoe in 1938. In 1941, NB customized baseball shoes for the Boston Braves. NB was the first shoe company to offer shoes in different widths in 1960.

Major Change

In 1972, entrepreneur, Jim Davis, bought the company, just before the start of the Boston Marathon. At that time, New Balance was a very small company. It employed 6 people and made only 30 pair of shoes per day. Davis greatly enhanced New Balance through design improvements in the shoes, improving production and advertising. NB shoes have always been considered top of the line in performance, stability, comfort and prevention of injuries. Soon, New Balance became one of the leading running shoe manufacturers in the world.

Other Innovations

1995, New Balance introduces the first cross training shoe. Two years later, NB develops the first walking shoe. During the 1990’s there was a great outsourcing of shoe manufacturers, however, New Balance, continued to manufacture in the United States. NB continues to produce footwear for all 5 branches of the Armed Services. Customization: If you would like to customize your shoes through New Balance, you can choose your colors, mix and match as well as embroideries.


New Balance is still headquartered in Boston, (actually, Brighton) Massachusetts. It employs 5,000 U.S. workers. It operates five factories: Boston, MA; Lawrence, MA; Norridgewock, Maine; Norway, Maine; and Skowhegan, Maine. Plus, it has a factory in Flimby, England which manufactures about 30% of its shoes to the European market. New Balance does have factories in China, Vietnam and Taiwan as well.

New Balance, also, makes apparel (socks, running shirts, running shorts), probably <2% is made in the US. NB also owns: Aravon, Brine, Cobb Hill, Dunham, PF Flyers, and Warrior Shoes. I do not believe any of these brands are made in the USA, however.

Hats off to Rob Demartini, CEO, and New Balance for continuing to make athletic shoes in the United States. Look for the American flag displayed on the shoe box. Unlike certain clothing chains, “Made in USA” New Balance shoes can be found at the outlets.


If you believe in the Made in the USA movement, as you visit the store, ask if the article was made in the US, and request that they add more US made items. Better yet, write to their corporate office. With enough response, corporate will tell their buyers to look for more US made items at the trade shows, which means more selection for the consumers, and more jobs for Americans to make these items. You don’t need an Economics specialist to tell you this – that this movement will strengthen our three decades of outsourcing and seriously injured economy.

(I have a problem with Economists in general – first, they are not scientists; Second, they do not deal with logic. Third, they love certain mathematical formulas which don’t mean anything. Fourth, they only like to talk within themselves and many times corrupt data when it doesn’t meet their theory – they can do this, because they are not scientists and do not follow a scientific code of ethics. In sum, economists are practicing a type of religion and they want to convert you – so far they have done a pretty good job. How many economists think that bringing back jobs to the US will help the economy of the US? Sadly, not that many. It’s because they love outsourcing, they love that China is doing so well, they love that the Chinese government is greatly helping out the private and public sector, but at the same time do not want the same thing (government help) for the United States. Is it a conspiracy? Or is it they think the “World is flat”. I think it is the latter. “Outsourcing floats all boats” is their “World is flat”.)

December 2019
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