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Friday, October 17, 2008

New Balance Ups It's Ad Spend

BOSTON - New Balance said it has hired independent Mother in New York as its lead global agency for creative and media on its lifestyle advertising, though Omnicom Group's BBDO -- brought aboard last year following a review -- continues to handle the brand's athletic performance efforts.

Omnicom's PHD will still handle media buying and planning on the performance work. The company in Boston has upped spending of late, with a measured-media outlay of $20 million through July 2008 after spending $15 million on ads all of last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

In a related move, New Balance has hired two creative directors, Savania Davies-Keiller and Roberto Crivello, founders and designers at fashion brand DDC Lab, as in-house cds. Their mission is to set the overall creative direction for the sneaker brand's lifestyle category moving forward, the company said.

The pair worked on designs for New Balance sneakers this fall, and they will now help create products for global distribution using innovative fabrics and technologies.

Joe Casagrande, gm, New Balance Lifestyle, said: "The amplified role of two talented creative directors, complemented by the innovation and insight Mother brings to the table, helps position New Balance as a brand that is serious about having a significant presence in the global lifestyle market." -By David Gianatasio

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Creating the Perfect Shoe

LAWRENCE — When Pedro Rodriguez goes for a jog, don't blame him if he feels a little like a guinea pig in some kind of space-age science experiment.

As high-speed cameras take high-definition video images of him running, sensors attached to his legs detect what his knees and thigh muscles are doing. Another one near his heel sends messages to a computer about what's going on with his calf and foot muscles.

At the same time, a pad in the bottom of his sneaker records the temperature inside the shoe and keeps track of the amount of pressure he exerts on the soles of his feet.

"We are trying to create the perfect shoe," says Sean Murphy, the engineering manager at the New Balance facility on Union Street in Lawrence. "This information tells us what's happening with the joints, and it tells us if the shoe is doing what it's designed to do."

Earlier this month, New Balance put the finishing touches on a $2 million sports research and development lab that uses the latest technology in biomechanics to decipher just what happens to a person, and the shoe that person is wearing, when running, shooting hoops, playing tennis or taking on just about any other sport.

The 3,000-square-foot, high-ceilinged lab in the basement of New Balance's manufacturing center has a 30-by-30-foot basketball court, complete with backboard, a modified treadmill and a 120-foot long track for runners to sprint on in front of video cameras. Set into the polished wood floor, which looks a bit like the parquet at the Garden, is a thick glass plate that measures the impact of the shoe on the ground. A camera below the glass captures images of the sole.
Meanwhile, a small room at the back of the main lab, called the "smash lab," contains equipment used to more or less pulverize the shoes to see how long they can last before breaking down and causing runner injuries.

Usually, the company has about 10,000 pairs of shoes being wear-tested, and the tests take about six weeks to conduct.

With the machinery in the smash lab, Murphy says, "We can see what happens to the shoe in a lifetime of wear in two and a half days. In R&D, time is cost."

While the hardware is good at putting the shoes through the paces, it is the software — both human and computer — that does the bulk of the work, notes Trampas TenBroek, manager of sports research and advanced products at New Balance.

"Setting up the lab and getting the information isn't that hard," he says, "but processing the data, that takes time and experience."

TenBroek boots up his computer, and an image of Rodriguez running across the glass "force plate" pops up on the screen. He said the video is important, because the human eye can't move quickly enough to see exactly what is happening to a shoe when it's in motion. By putting the video into slow motion, the viewer can see how the shoe compresses on impact, and recovers its shape as the foot is lifted off the ground.

As valuable as the video is, he says the more important information comes in the form of numbers. He pulls up another screen on the computer that depicts data streaming from the sensors in the shoes and on the runner.

Thousands of numbers stream down the screen, and to the untrained eye, they're a blur. But to TenBroek and Rodriguez, PhD. candidates from UMass-Amherst who were brought to Lawrence to run the lab, that's where the magic lies.

Interpreted correctly, the numbers tell the engineers about the knee angle, for example, or the force in the hip as the runner strides by. The also tell the temperature inside the shoe, which can have an impact on the long-term performance of the foam in the sole.

TenBroek says such tests are followed up by surveys that ask the athletes if the shoes are comfortable. No matter how much time and effort goes into making a shoe, if it's not comfortable for the runner, it won't sell.

"We look at it from a lot of different levels," Murphy says. "We relate it to what the customers say. Is it working for the athlete?"

Murphy, who oversees the lab, says because the athletic shoe market is so competitive, companies like New Balance must do whatever they can to ensure they have quality products.
The engineers who design the shoes can use the information gleaned from the lab to improve both the way they are made and the materials they are made with.

Murphy says the company will begin reaching out to area running clubs and local college athletes to conduct "wear-test" programs.

"We'll bring them here, put on the sensors, and run some tests," he says. "Does it work on elite guys? Mid-pack runners? How about back-of-the-pack?"

By Bill Kirk
bkirk@eagletribune.com

Monday, June 30, 2008

Shape Magazine 2008 Shoe Review

Shape Tested the best new sneakers. "From the trails of Portland to the gyms of New York City, out testers put hundreds of shoes through their paces - and these 13 came out on top." - By Sarah Bowen Shea.

Kudos goes to the New Balance 1062 (our price $119.99)(link). Neutral runners appreciated the "comfy" cushioning of this shoe, while long-distance racers loved the "ridged" laces that stay tied no matter what.

www.shape.com

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Balance 1224 Arrives 08/15/05

The New Balance 1224 will arrive in stores on 08/15/08. Here is a 4+ minute video describing all of the technical features the shoe will have. The suggested retail price is $139.99, but we will try to work that down a bit. Stay tuned and we will annouce the arrival.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Health Magazine Site 768 Best in Class

Press Releases
Health Magazine Cites 768 Best in Class
BOSTON, May 27, 2008 - New Balance announced today that Health magazine
has named the New Balance 768 women's running shoe a "2008 America's
Healthiest Fitness Award" winner for best running shoe in the Footwear
category.
The 768 receives "top marks for cushioning, durability and flexibility for
runners with low arches," said the editors of Health.
The 768 is a moderate stability trainer designed with innovative New
Balance technology including ABZORB® cushioning in the heel and forefoot, a TS2 medial post for smooth stability and a Stability Web for lightweight
midfoot support. A PHANTOM LINER™ keeps feet cool and comfortable and
NLOCK® provides superior fit, support and security. This combination of
New Balance technology provides runners with the optimal blend of
cushioning and stability. As with as all in-line New Balance shoes, the
768 is available in multiple widths.
"We are extremely proud that the 768 has been chosen for this award by
Health," says Eric Vassall, product manager, running at New Balance. "The
New Balance running team works diligently to provide technical and
innovative shoes to meet the needs of runners of all abilities. We are
thrilled to be recognized for this effort."
The entire review is available in Health's June issue (on newsstands May
27, 2008), or by visiting http://www.health.com. The 768 is available now in
participating retail stores.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Balance To Launch Girly-Girl Sneaker Line

by Sarah Mahoney, Tuesday, Dec 18, 2007 5:00 AM ET
ADD NEW BALANCE TO THE list of shoe marketers looking to branch out beyond performance shoes: The Boston-based company will launch NB Inside, a women's line of fashion sneakers next fall.

New Balance says its new line is key to its plans to reach $3 billion in sales by 2012. Executives say that over time they hope the new collection, with shoes priced around $125, will account for 25% of company sales.

The new strategy makes plenty of sense. New Balance, which also owns PF Flyers and Dunhams, is a brand best-known for its performance shoes, especially running, walking, and cross-training--all fairly stagnant categories of late. But the fashion category, or women's low-performance category, is tearing it up: NPD Group says that in the 12-month period ending in October, sales of women's low-performance athletic footwear increased 31.4% over the same 12-month period the prior year.

"This is the hottest segment in athletic footwear," says Matt Powell, senior research analyst for The SportsOneSource Group. "Right now, it's the second-largest selling category, behind running shoes." Skechers, with about 30% market share, continues to be the leader, he says, with Puma and Nike also top sellers.

Sales in the category are so strong, in fact, "that we've really broken the paradigm in athletic shoe marketing," he says. "For the last 30 years, it's always been about a sports-specific shoe. Maybe one year it was running shoes, and another year it was basketball. But this year, for the first time, it's not about a specific category." FULL STORY

Monday, December 17, 2007

The 768's are here!

The 760 series has a new model, the 768. This stability shoe has very good arch and midfoot support utilizing New Balance's TS2 technolgy. A soft heel strike and toe off the New Balance 768 is truely a runners' delight.

Please view the video below for detail descriptions of all the technolgies the New Balance 768 has to offer.

To see the Men's 768 click here
To see the Women's 768 click here

Friday, December 14, 2007

All American Football League Strikes Deal with New Balance

All American Football League Strikes Deal with New Balance to Provide On-Field Apparel
Deal Marks New Professional Football League's First Corporate Sponsorship

ATLANTA, GA – The All American Football League (AAFL) announced today that they have finalized the League's first corporate sponsorship deal with New Balance. New Balance will provide the new professional football league with footwear, on-field apparel and products for the League and its six teams.

The three-year $1.43M sponsorship agreement will commence November 27, 2007, and will include exclusive rights to produce, promote, sell and market all AAFL licensed on-field apparel, signage and advertising.

"We are committed to quality and development, and our partnership with the AAFL is an ideal next step for our team sports division," said Neil Brooks, New Balance Team Sports Specialist. "We look to the future constantly, and are thrilled about expanding our brand with the AAFL, its teams and its players."

The New Balance team sports division has been operating for four years, and the company's growth over the past few years has significantly out-paced that of the industry. Worldwide sales have grown from $221 million in 1992 to $1.55 billion in 2006.

"We could not be more excited to partner with one of the world's most dynamic and quality footwear and apparel companies," said Keenan Davis, VP of League Operations & COO of the AAFL. "New Balance is a leading brand in the sports world, and there is great synergy between our brands in terms of the dramatic growth potential that can be achieved through our partnership."

The All American Football League will play 10 games, beginning in April 2008. The spring schedule is designed to satisfy fans who hunger for quality football between the NFL and college seasons. The League's teams are located in avid college football markets representing Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas.
http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/NewBalDealPR.php

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Balance aquires Vital Apparel Group

In a push to grow its small sports apparel business, New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. announced the acquisition yesterday of a New York clothing company that will immediately double its sales.
The Boston athletic shoe maker bought Vital Apparel Group, of Huntington Station, N.Y., for an undisclosed price.

The acquisition is the first by New Balance since Rob DeMartini became chief executive in April and was charged with making the $1.55 billion company a $3 billion one by 2012.

New Balance is focusing on apparel - targeting runners, competitive high school and college athletes, and fitness enthusiasts.
Until now, its clothing sales accounted for “well south” of 10 percent of its overall sales, DeMartini said.

Apparel sales for companies such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok, meantime, typically account for at least one-third of their overall sales.
“It probably puts us fourth today,” DeMartini said. “Reebok is a little difficult to estimate because such a big part of their business is the NFL license. We may be as big as them in the non-license area.”

Vital Apparel Group comprises Vital Apparel, a women’s active brand; Vital Accessories, which has the license for Soffe accessories; and the Vital Performance division, which includes InSport, a running apparel and military-issue brand.

Vital also produces Aspire, a Sports Authority private-label brand.
“They’ll continue to do what they’re doing and use their experience and familiarity with a couple of key channels, particularly sporting goods, to help lead development of the New Balance brand,” DeMartini said.

In June, Vital signed a licensing agreement to develop branded apparel for the New Balance-owned Warrior brand.

Vital’s operations will continue to be based in New York. Its approximately 100 employees will be retained.

Vital president Kerry Kligerman will become executive vice president of New Balance’s apparel division, which will remain headquartered in Lawrence.

By Donna Goodison
www.bostonherald.com

Monday, December 10, 2007

COO COO FOR COCONUT

There’s something a bit nutty going on with the latest running apparel from New Balance – coconutty that is.

New Balance is the first to bring a fabric process that uses carbon from coconut shells to running gear. Called CoCoNa, the natural technology infuses polyester fabric with activated carbon to enhance evaporative cooling, odor resistance and UV protection.
If it weren’t for a tag on the jacket letting the buyer know about CoCoNa technology, you’d never know the jackets and tops had anything extra. They feel soft and lightweight.
New Balance uses the fabric for two styles that are available for both men and women in several color choices.. The CoCoNa Run Jacket ($70) has two secure side seem pockets and is a great shell to go over base layers.

The CoCoNa Run Zip Top ($65) has the added warmth of Thermal Lite fabric. There are no seems on the jacket – thus eliminating sources of chaffing – and a good fit is helped by a smooth-finish collar and wrist binding.

For men, there’s also the CoCoNa Reversable ($70) that has no natural side seems and is, surprise, reversible.

Of course, the holiday season for a runner would not be complete without New Balance running shoes.

For trail runners, the New Balance 790 ($75) is ultra lightweight and durable. In addition to an outsole that’s perfect for traction on the trails, the 790 features a Rock Stop plate that protects the foot again rocks and other trail hazards.

For traditional running, the New Balance 740 ($80) is comfortable and lightweight. A synthetic and mesh upper keeps the shoe light and breezy while an N-Durance rubber outsole gives runners many miles befor they need to replace the sneakers.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/gift_guide/women/view.bg?articleid=1049872

Friday, December 7, 2007

Watch out for Counterfeit Shoes

Posted on the Consumer Reports Website, showing side by side real vs counterfeit items a pair of New Balance Shoes.

"This is one of the best counterfeits I've ever seen," said Ed Haddad, a vice president at New Balance. The real shoe has more marks identifying it as New Balance, including embedded data decipherable only with a special reader. Its insole is vented and the shoe's bottom is more intricate. The "N" on the fake looks sewn on as an afterthought.
LINK

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Abate To Receive Early Christmas Present From New Balance

If you already think New Balance is a great company because of the running shoes they make, here's another reason to love the Massachusetts-based firm. This week, New Balance said it was going to give Frank Abate of Westerly all the free shoes and running gear he needs as he works toward his goal of running in the 2009 Boston Marathon.

As you might recall from two October stories in The Day, the 32-year-old Abate has cerebral palsy but runs road races as well as teaches and coaches in the Westerly school system. He wears gloves when he runs because he often falls and he dedicates his races to two of the most influential people in his life, his late father and grandfather.

Because of the way Abate runs — alternately swinging his legs forward and landing with his feet splayed out — he wears out his pairs of New Balance shoes a lot faster than the rest of us. Affording them is not always easy.

Amy Vreeland, New Balance's corporate communications manager, said Friday that after reading the stories, she was not inspired by Abate's determination but by how he inspires others and how the community supports him.

In an e-mail to me last week, Vreeland said New Balance was “honored” to help Abate. When I told her I wanted to give New Balance some credit for helping him out, she downplayed her company's role.

“This is an easy thing for us to do. The tough part is what he does,” she said. “He's the hero of the story here and all the people who support him. We're just a small part of it.'
New Balance sponsors a team of elite runners in the Chicago Marathon. More importantly, it has been an 18-year partner with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure program to eradicate breast cancer. It's the national sponsor for the Komen road race series and donates up to $1 million to the organization from sales of Lace Up For the Cure apparel and shoes.
It also supports a program called Girls on the Run that encourages pre-teen girls to develop healthy lifestyles through running. This includes paying for operation and management costs, sponsoring the national Girls on the Run 5K race series, and providing running shoes to 500 needy girls every year.

“Here and there we help out where we can, Vreeland said. “Obviously (Abate's) story touched us.”

She said New Balance understands what it takes to be a runner even without having to overcome the obstacles Abate does.

“And he shouldn't have to worry about his shoes,” she said.
Vreeland said people like Abate inspire others to try something that they don't think they can do.

“We're looking forward to reading about him setting new PRs,” she said.
Speaking of PRs, Abate recorded his 5K best a few weeks ago at the Westerly Elks race by running 54:24.

He'll probably set another PR running out to the street to meet the UPS guy when he shows up with that first big box of New Balance stuff.
Merry Christmas, Frank.

Full Story Here
Story by Joe Wajtas - Published 12/2/2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

New Balance 790 Reviews


The New Balance 790 was reviewed by quite a few sites. The reviews sited the shoes light weight, and true feel attributes. The New Balance 790 is a neutral cushioned shoe with Abzorb in the heel and forefoot.

Click Here to see the Men's Version
Click Here to see the Woman's Version

Running Times - www.runningtimes.com
This racing flat for the trail is feather light (8 svelte ounces) and performs as you’d want for such a low-to-the-ground speedster. That also means that the 790 should be used sparingly, for shorter-distance races or fartlek workouts on tamer trails and by efficient trail runners. As a minimalist shoe, the 790 hits the mark, with full feel for the trail, including every pebble or rut: like a spikeless track shoe, despite the Rock Stop TPU plate and Acteva midsole. The outsole tread pattern provided noticeable purchase on firmer surfaces but its lack of cleavage didn’t cut it in the mud or slop. Our testers questioned the durability of the outsole but sung the 790’s praise when it came to the comfortable and secure fit of the upper, whose styling also received high marks.

Outside Online - http://outside.away.com/index.html
Designers got out their knives—very sharp ones at that—and stripped the 790 down for speed: It's a full five ounces lighter than some shoes here. Not surprisingly, the featherweight design didn't impress any testers in the cushioning or armor departments, and it's probably not the best choice for long base-building runs. But when you need to get someplace in a hurry—finish line, anyone?—this is like a racing flat for trails. It's also a great shoe if you don't need a lot of support, and run on mostly level, soft terrain like duff- or grass-covered paths. "By far my favorite shoe for fast running," said one tester. "It moves quickly without inhibiting your stride." 8 oz; www.nbannapolis.com

National Geographic Adventure Magazine - http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/
The women's feathery New Balance 790 ($75; www.nbannapolis.com) feels like a slipper in spite of its full-length protective plate, and hot-weather runners will love the highly vented upper. Note: The low-profile tread and lean padding make it best for loamy trails.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Aquarium gets New Balance gift

By the Boston Globe Business Team
November 2, 07 01:17 PM


The New England Aquarium said that it has received a $3 million gift from the New Balance Foundation.

The foundation is funded by New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., a Boston-based company that makes athletic footwear and apparel.

The gift will be used to help build the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center and to develop programs that use seals and sea lions to promote childhood fitness, said the aquarium, which added that it expects the mammal center to open in the spring of 2009.

"The New Balance Foundation is committed to encouraging childhood fitness and activity, and there is no better way to connect children to nature and the outdoors than through animals," Anne Davis, managing trustee of the New Balance Foundation, said in a statement.
(By Chris Reidy, Globe staff)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Balance 858 "Best Update"

Runner's World Magazine has named the 858 from New Balance the "Best Update" for the Dec 07 Shoe Guide. Please enjoy the video below. If you would like to see the 858 please visit the links below.

Men's MR858ST
Women's WR858ST

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Balance 1223


Runner's World Magazine winner for best update fall 07' ,The New Balance 1223.


"The 1223 comes with better cushioning than its predecessor, thanks to a soft layer of foam over the midsole and a section of durable foam in the heel. Our tests showed the 1223 is lighter and more flexible than the 1222, so we've moved it from motion-control to the stability category. Make no mistake, though, the 1223 still has plenty of support. We recommend this shoe for average to bigger runners with low arches looking for a good combination of support and cushioning."



Click Here to see the Men's Version

Click Here to see the Women's Version

Christmas Sale (discount code)

Now through 12/15/07 you can use discount code 122507 during check out to recieve a 10% discount on your entire order. This discount also includes Free Shipping. Only at www.nbannapolis.com.