History of New Balance


New Balance has been an American sports apparel and footwear brand since 1906 when it was started in association with New Balance Arch Support Company. Learn all about the beginnings of New Balance, including the brand’s major milestones and some of its most popular and classic shoes.

Who Founded New Balance?

William J. Riley founded the New Balance shoe brand more than 100 years ago. Riley was an Irish immigrant who had moved to the Boston area and wanted to create a shoe that would successfully support the foot instead of simply being protective. He got the idea from the chickens in his backyard. As he watched them walk, he noticed the way their feet landed and how the arch formed because of their three-pronged foot, which resulted in perfect balance as they strutted around the yard.

New Balance Through History

The history of New Balance continued when Riley hired Arthur Hall as a salesman, who personally traveled around to sell the shoes instead of taking an impersonal approach in retail stores. Almost 10 years later, in 1936, Hall became a partner in the company and focused the business on selling shoes that gave arch support.

Two years later, in 1938, New Balance created its first running shoe to support their local running club called the Boston Brown Bag Harriers. From there, the company began to design specialist footwear for many other sports, such as baseball, boxing, and tennis. The small team began to expand as New Balance started to make a name for itself. 

Arthur Hall eventually decided to sell the business to his daughter and her husband, Eleanor and Paul Kidd. They continued to keep the company’s primary focus on selling orthopedic footwear with a growing interest in sports footwear for athletes with specific requirements. It was also towards the end of their time leading the company that it rebranded as the New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. in 1970.

The most recent step in the New Balance history of ownership happened when Jim Davis bought the company from the Kidds in 1972. The company still only had six full-time workers that were striving to make 20 to 30 pairs of shoes each day. Fast forward to the present day, where New Balance has more than 4,000 retail stores globally under the new brand name New Balance Athletics Inc., which was established in 2015.

New Balance Classics

The original New Balance classic is the Trackster, the first running shoe that came in a variety of different widths designed by the Kidds in 1960. It was this shoe that launched them into the sportswear industry. From there, the 320 shoes were launched, the first shoe to feature the famed “N” logo. Another classic is the New Balance 574 casual shoe, available in more than 10 colorways. The 327 is another standout amongst the other New Balance classics.

Shop For New Balance Shoes

Over the last century, New Balance has gone from a simple idea to a multi-million dollar company founded on excellent foot support. Browse the shoes that still make waves in the industry even today and feel supported in every movement.