For over a hundred years now, since its origins in Boston, Massachusetts, New Balance has invested in the development of the some of the finest sports footwear and employed skilled craftsmen to create said running shoes, that are pretty much unrivalled in the world of sport.
New Balance is the only global athletics footwear brand to manufacture in the UK. The New Balance factory, located in, in that ‘sporting macca’, Flimby, Cumbria, employs more than 230 people and produces approximately 1.4million pairs of shoes each year !!!
The brand was started by British immigrant, William.J.Riley back in 1906, who stated to make arch supports and prescription footwear to alleviate foot pain for people with problem feet, ahhh music to my ears. Im 1938, he designed and manufactured the first New Balance running shoe for a local running club, in Boston. Made of lightweight kangaroo leather and a crepe-sole, Riley sold six pairs to the club for $7, what a bargain ! Riley’s commitment to helping people through improved shoe fit has been the foundation of New Balance ever since. In 2006, to celebrate its centenary it produced three limited edition trainers to honour three of its longest serving employees at the Flimby factory – Audrey Stewart, Ian Byers and Victor Dixon, what an accolade.
Some of New Balance’s best selling styles include; THE TRACKSTER, the first running shoe available in multiple widths was introduced in 1960. The Trackster epitomized performance, and for its day, had style.
320, By the mid-70s, running for fitness was becoming an increasingly popular trend, so New Balance designed the 320 – a light, colourful shoe that delivered performance.
620, in 1982, the lightest shoe in the market place and the first to break the $50 price barrier was produced. The 620 paved the way for the success of the 420 and 730 soon after.
801, a rugged all-terrain shoe that captured the imagination of younger athletes, the 801 was designed in 1998 and remains the best-selling series today.
But this month New Balance launches its latest limited edition Made in the UK shoe pack, the ‘Tea Pack’. Taking inspiration from the quintessential English beverage, the ‘Tea Pack’ includes three shoes, each a variation on New Balance’s 576 heritage model, originally launched in the 1980s.
The three classic shoes take three classic teas, English Breakfast, Fresh Peppermint and Earl Grey as its muse. Handmade by the craftsmen at New Balance’s Flimby factory, each shoe is made with colours capturing the flavour, taste and look of each tea. Other unique details such as a string tea bag, containing spare laces for the shoes add a nice little finish touch. Take a look at the film below.