New Balance is a popular American company based out of the Brighton neighborhood in the Boston area that primarily manufactures athletic footwear. They were founded in 1906 and originally known as the New Balance Arch Support Company, and now operate in several countries across the globe. They are most well known for their 990 and 574 models and have long touted that they are proud to be made in the USA, but is that actually true? We dug in and found out.
Verdict: Are New Balance Shoes Made in the USA?
No, not all New Balance shoes are made in America. They claim that “1 out of every 4 pairs of shoes we sell in the USA was made or assembled in American factories, by American workers.” They key phrase there: “made or assembled.” New Balance gets many of their materials overseas, including their outer soles, which are made in China.
Additionally, New Balance is likely fooling you in their marketing. They label products to be Made in the USA when they are only 70% domestic! Here’s the direct quote from their website: “where the domestic value is at least 70%, we label our shoes Made in the USA.” There has been an ongoing legal dispute since the 1990’s with the FTC and New Balance. The FTC has a “all or virtually all” standard when it comes to using the Made in USA label, which it seems New Balance was in violation of.
Here is the statement from their website. Even though they do not make their products 100% in the U.S., it is a plus that they are still supporting American manufacturing with over 7,000 local employees.
Unfortunately, we can’t seem to find any New Balance shoes that are absolutely 100% made in the USA. Here are some popular products that they list in their Made in the USA section on their website:
- New Balance 990v4
- New Balance 1540v2
- New Balance 998
- New Balance 997