New Balance: brief history of the footbed that became a Sneaker

That’s why the New Balance is one of the most comfortable shoes ever.

The history of New Balance begins in 1906 in Boston, when an English immigrant named William J. Riley opens his small factory of supports and insoles for the feet, focusing its target to all those workers forced to stand several hours a day, such as policemen and firefighters.

Riley’s insoles are structured to support the arch of the foot at three main points, to improve the comfort and fit of the shoe; the name is invented in a completely bizarre way: Riley was watching chickens going back and forth in his yard, noting the perfect balance of their movement.

New Balance‘s insoles quickly made their way, and Riley extended the range with several products, all related to the well-being of the foot.

We will have to wait a good 30 years, during the second half of the 50s, to see the birth of the first New Balance sneakers and what will be the real fortune of the brand.

In 1956 the company was sold to Eleanor and Paul Kidd, respectively the daughter and son-in-law of Arthur Hall, a former salesman turned partner. It was the couple to launch the model ‘Trackster‘: the first athletic shoe with a wavy sole, purchased by colleges in the Greater Boston area for their teams of various sports, including running.


Word of the Trackster‘s comfort and durability made the rounds at various American colleges, and they were gradually adopted by nearly every athletic team across the country.

In the 70’s the brand becomes a reference point of scapre for athletes and running enthusiasts, leaving behind the production of insoles, support that still uses today, but incorporated into the shoes.

From the late 50s to the present day, NB has remained with the conviction that the most important part of the company is not the advertising campaigns, but the word of mouth among people who praise the fit and comfort: a value that customers love above all else.

Today New Balance has become a global sports and lifestyle brand, only in 2015 it entered the global soccer market.

Nearly 30% of the items are produced in the Filmby, England factory and it is one of the very few companies in the world that still manufactures in the United States, specifically in Main and Massachusetts.