A visit to New Balance in Boston
Together with an other European retailers from Germany, Italy, UK and Denmark, Sneaker District was invited by New Balance for the new and upcoming 990v5, which is set to release on the 4th of May. We went to visit the New Balance factory to view the production of the sneaker from start to finish. Besides seeing the production, we also visited HQ and spoke to important people behind the 990v5.
Our group went from the hotel to the New Balance factory. It was located just outside of Boston in an old wood mill factory: the Lawrence Factory tour. Arriving at the location we saw a large old historic building. Still overwhelmed by the historic atmosphere of New Balance, name cards were given to us for access to the factory. To get there, we first had to take a freight elevator to a room for our belongings. Here were also the office spaces where designers work, but also showrooms with new collections. After that we went on the factory floor. Here we received a short introduction about production, cutting fabrics and checking the material. Here, for example, they looked at which piece of suede was good for which piece of the shoe. All pieces of the shoe were made by laser cut.
There are 197 people working in the factory, from office jobs to factory workers on the floor. Around 50 to 60 employees are walking around each day and they are mainly women. Once walking around the factory we saw that the 990v5 was actually in production in blue. Here we have seen that each shoe is stitched together by hand so that we can establish that it is really Hand Made in the USA.
On the second day we went to the New Balance headquarters in Boston. Approaching the huge building, you could see that this area was meant to be for designers. Once in the building the first thing you could see was a well designed structure showing all of New Balance’s history in sports. After being introduced to Samantha Rober ,a PR agent at the Boston office, we headed our way to the design offices. Of course before we entered the offices we could see a wall with shoe designs displayed, coming from the first 990 to other models till approximately 2017. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to shoot any content at the design offices because of future products and collaborations. What we can tell you is that there are a lot of nice things coming up! Everywhere you looked in the building you could see New Balance branding and campaigns that were showing the love for the city and the upcoming Boston Marathon. After the headquarters visit we took a look at the training ground of the Boston Bruins, Boston’s ice hockey team. Even here New Balance has a leading role. This was just a preview of a day of sports.
Leaving the office we had a quick visit to their store. The products were well displayed and has a friendly environment.
Checking out from the office area, we went to the Boston Red Sox home opener. While we were on our way it’s quite good to see that a lot of Boston residents wear New Balance, some what unexpected to be fair. Being at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox their stadium, you could see the New Balance influence all around you.
We left Boston with gratitude towards New Balance.
It was a great experience and great to see how a brand lives within the people working for them and throughout the city.
The New Balance 990v5 is set to release on the 4th of May.
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