New Balance Athletics runs on its everyman (and everywoman) appeal. Besides making and selling men's and women's shoes for running, cross training, basketball, tennis, hiking, and golf, the company offers fitness apparel and kids' shoes and owns leather boot and shoe maker Dunham. Other brands include Aravon shoes for women; PF Flyers lifestyle shoes; and Brine and Warrior Sports lacrosse, field equipment, and apparel. It sells its footwear in its own stores and those of specialty retailers. Founded in 1906 as New Balance Arch Company to make arch supports, it's known for its selection of shoe widths. The company dropped "Shoe" from its name in 2015 to reflect its broader range of products.
About 25% of New Balance's US footwear shipments are produced at five New England facilities located in Boston and Lawrence, Massachusetts; and in Norridgewock, Norway, and Skowhegan, Maine. The athletic shoemaker also manufactures footwear in Flimby, UK.
With 5,000-plus associates around the globe, New Balance sells gear in some 120 countries.
In addition to the company's namesake and Dunham brands, New Balance's products portfolio includes PF Flyers footwear, Aravon shoes for comfort performance, Warrior hockey wear, and Brine, a leader in soccer, field hockey, volleyball, and lacrosse. New Balance also makes apparel and accessories through licensing deals with the likes of J. Crew, Moretz Sports, Eyewear Designs, Fitness Quest, and Hickory Brands.
New Balance rang up $3.7 billion in worldwide sales in 2015. The company ranks 114 on list of America's Largest Private Companies compiled by Forbes.
Unlike its rivals, the footwear firm shuns celebrity endorsers. By spotlighting lesser-known athletes, New Balance claims to emphasize substance over style. The approach attracts Boomer jock clients who are less fickle than the teens chased by its rivals. While the company typically does not enlist the help of high-profile celebrities, New Balance regularly sponsors races, teams, youth sports, and track and field events. Breaking with tradition and upping its style quotient, the company has enlisted supermodel Heidi Klum to launch the Heidi Klum for NB Collection of footwear and athletic apparel.
The company is stepping up efforts to expand beyond the US. It plans to open its first UK store -- on London's Oxford Street -- by 2017. And in 2015 New Balance bought acquired Gartner Sports, an Italian sportswear manufacturer and its exclusive Italian distributor for 20 years, as a part of its expansion plan in Europe.
New Balance is run by chairman Jim Davis, who bought the company on the day of the 1972 Boston Marathon.