How New Balance Sneakers Are Made | The Making Of

How New Balance Sneakers Are Made | The Making Of

Fabiana Buontempo: What
do tennis star Coco Gauff, NBA MVP Kawhi Leonard, and Liverpool soccer great
Sadio Mané have in common? They all wear New Balances on
the court and on the field. You don’t have
to be a sneakerhead to know that New Balances weren’t always
considered the “cool shoe.” But somehow, despite
steep competition, New Balance has
entered the conversation. Reportedly, from 2010 to 2018, sales jumped by more than
100%, at a time when athleisure was making the biggest
dent in the shoe market. So why are athletes
across the sports spectrum flocking to New Balance now? The answer lies in the shoes’ soles and the attention to detail
in their manufacturing. I traveled to New Balance’s
Lawrence, Massachusetts, facility to learn what
goes into the process. Manny Gomes, the mechanic
supervisor at the facility, showed me the precision that goes into making the sneakers here. Making a New Balance sneaker
takes 50 to 60 steps, and work is divided
into four stations: the prep station, initial stitching, hand-stitching, and
the assembly station. It’s at the fourth station
where the soles get attached to the rest of the shoe, and
it’s something New Balance has been working on
since the beginning. The company started in 1906
by selling arch supports, which became so
popular among athletes that they asked for sneakers
tailored to their feet. But the company wouldn’t release
its first pair of sneakers until years later. When it did start
selling sneakers, New Balance mostly chose not to rely on celebrity endorsements, as the brand wanted its
sneaker to speak for itself. It went so far as to make its
mantra “Endorsed by No One,” all the while improving the sole and the shoe’s overall comfort. But before the sole is ever added, the work begins at the first station. This is where fabrics are cut into different parts of the shoe. So, how exactly does the
machine for the cutting work? Manny Gomes: This
is the vamp die; it’s gonna cut off the
vamp of the shoe. What the cutter’s gonna do
is they’re going to place it on this webbed material.
They’re going to cut it. They’re gonna flip it
around so they can just try to get their
spacing as tight as possible and work their way down. Fabiana: This station
is where small but mighty details of
the shoe come together, such as sticking on
sizing and model labels. Next is the
initial-stitching station. During this step,
workers use a technique called flat stitching,
which is crucial to making the shoes long-lasting. Individual stitches are
made without crossing or looping the thread. They use this stitching technique because flat stitching
doesn’t leave any raw edges but creates a durable
double row of stitching. This is important because
this is the body of the shoe, where most of the
wear and tear happens. Here, the employee takes
the cut-out pieces of fabric and places them onto
large yellow pallets. They line up the pieces and
close the yellow pallet’s lid to begin the stitching. Once stitching is complete
on a part of the shoe, an employee will send that
part down the assembly line. The famous N gets stitched
onto the shoe during this step. Now it’s time for the
hand-stitching part of the process. The upper portion of the shoe
is almost done at this point. But why hand-stitch in this phase? Turns out, the stitching
in this station is more intricate and requires
the guidance of a human hand. Manny: Stitching is
very complicated. Sometimes we’ll have
a skipped stitch, and what happens is
the operator will stop, give it to the team leader,
team leader will give it to the repair person, they’ll
fix that skipped stitch, put it back in process,
and continue. Fabiana: The final step
is assembling and finishing the sneakers. First, the upper is
pulled onto a shoe last, which performs the job
of a foot in a shoe, and that gives it its final shape. The upper and the sole are
then heated in a little tunnel. From there, they go
into a press machine, which permanently bonds
the two parts together. Speaking of the sole, it’s something of an
engineering marvel. Traditional soles can be
narrow and unsupportive, leading to all kinds
of foot problems, like plantar fasciitis. And if they can’t hold up
to the rigors of a sport, it can be a nightmare
for a sneaker brand. New Balance widens the toe box. That extra room helps
the foot be more stable. Plus, New Balance gives its
sneakers a thick midsole, making them more comfortable
and shock-absorbent. But it’s not one-size-fits-all
when it comes to the soles. The numbers in each New
Balance sneaker name indicate what type of
activity the shoe is for and the type of support it offers. For example, if the
name has a 40 in it, like the New Balance
940 or 1540 shoes, it’s designed to
offer control, stability, and cushioning
perfect for running. Different numbers
mean a different sole. To finish the process, the New Balance sneaker
gets a final inspection, and if all is well, it’s
packed up in its box, soon making its way to a store. Other shoe brands may
still have the upper hand in terms of sales
and cultural cachet, but there’s no doubt that
more athletes and customers are taking notice of New Balance.

100 thoughts on “How New Balance Sneakers Are Made | The Making Of”

  1. Never thought these were a "dad shoe" , owning a pair for about a year these are great lifestyle shoes despite sports wear

  2. I used New Balance running cross country in High School. I still use them for walking and switch back to a pair of Nike shoes.

  3. Warning! Sponsored Content! I had to watch through two ads only to find out the video is also an ad! These ads are getting smarter and harder to block, I only wish they mentioned that in the beginning of the video. Have some integrity!!

  4. This company was dead for like 20 years and it made a comeback with these ugly models having the nerve to sell this 70's technology for $100+ among such sneakers market competition.

  5. Fun fact: the US Marine Corps uses New Balance for all of their recruits—at least they do for the east coast Marine recruits.


  7. No they’re not flocking to the shoes because of the «soles». It’s because of the sponsorship. Any company can make any custom shoe for the athletes. Are you really that naive?

  8. Athletes chose their shoes by contract, so if new balance is offering them more money then Nike is then obviously they'll wear new balance because it's their job. Not because they love the brand so much

  9. The letter N just screams out vicks cream and tacky. It looms ugly. But outside of that theyre better than Nike Because NIKE is no longer making sneakers for athletes and innovating. We've seen them fail and rip apart with NBA players. They are abusing athletes in their training facilities and are not professional. The only good thing they have going are the Jordan brand.

  10. Some guys told me tha New Balance were for Old Asian dads, which was funny. But didn't care cause they are really comfortable especially the 574 since I have wide feet.

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