New Balance was started in 1906 by William Riley under the original name, New Balance Arch Support Company. Riley intention was to create arch supports and shoe accessories to enhance the comfort of working men and women who spent the majority of their days standing up. New Balance did not make its first shoe, the "Trackster," until 1960. It was the first shoe in the world to come in different width sizes. New Balance continued to be an essentially unknown shoe company until 1972, when current chairman, Jim Davis, purchased the company on the very day of the 72 Boston Marathon for $100,000.More
Seeming to know a thing or two of the societal and culture tendencies of the area, Davis purchased New Balance at the beginning of a decade that saw an enormous expansion in the popularity and appeal of running in the Northeast.
In 1975, New Balance shoes were worn by the Boston Marathon winner, Tom Fleming. He wore the new 320 model. Seven years later, sales reached $60 million, and by 1991, they topped $100 million. In 2004, New Balance became a key sponsor of Major League Lacrosse and acquired the lacrosse-related companies Brine and Warrior. Over the years, New Balance, for the most part, has remained true to its "Endorsed By No One" theme (although it did make a pair of basketball shoes for James Worthy) and has continued to insist on producing the majority of its shoes in the U.S., even though this means higher worker costs.
In recent years, New Balance has expanded its reach though the acquisition of various sports-related companies. It owns Dunham, maker of outdoor and work footwear for men; PF Flyers, an active lifestyle footwear company; Aravon, purveyor of comfort performance footwear for women; Warrior Sports, maker of lacrosse and hockey equipment and apparel; and Brine, a soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and volleyball-related company.
New Balance employs 4,180 associates globally and sells its products in 120 countries. New Balance has grown total worldwide sales each year since 1991. In 2007, it did $1.63 billion in sales versus $1.55 billion the year before, both vast improvements upon the $100 million it managed in 1991. New Balance operates five factories in the U.S. and, in stark contrast to the practices of its main competitors, 70 percent of its shoes are made in the U.S.