Last weekend I was fortunate enough to run a Reach the Beach Relay on behalf of New Balance. I was part of their blogger team a few years ago and you can read about that experience here, here, here, here and here. While I was super excited to run the race again, I was just as excited to visit the New Balance Factory again. Maybe I’m a nerd, but I just love how inspirational it is to visit where baby new balance sneakers are born. The factory is also super inspirational, there are motivational quotes everywhere, walls of innovation, and you can tell every single employee is proud to work at New Balance–in fact, they will tell you so themselves. New Balance is hands down my favorite athletic outfitter and they have a level of integrity that is unparalleled in the industry.
Snoopies in sneakers. I die.
We got to see how the New Balance 990 is made. It’s so shocking to see just how much work goes into making 1 sneaker.
To make one sneaker it takes:
- 35 people
- 2.5-3 hours
- 50+ individual steps
Every step is 100% guided by a person. A person makes sure that the holes to lace your shoes are punched in the exact right place. It’s truly incredible. As a side note, New Balance makes 100% more of their shoes in the USA than any other major shoe brand.
Here are just a few of the steps that goes into make the NB990…
After the factory tour we got to see some of the new things coming out of the innovation lab! New Balance is using 3D printing to test out products in amazing ways. By 3D printing the soles of shoes, athletes and consumers can test shoes much faster and New Balance can make adjustments overnight.
Check out some of these 3D printed shoes…
I took these babies out for a job….just kidding, these were made for an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Pretty cool.
Then we went to the smash lab where machines put shoes through the ringer to test stability, flexibility, durability and much more.
Then Carrie got to see her stride in real time using a complex configurations of cameras and sensors on her shoes.
Shoes, shoes and more glorious shoes.
And here’s the all star team:
After the tour, I went to the factory store to pick up gifts for the hubs, plus a few things for myself. I bought him a pair of his favorite NB sneakers, and he had them on so fast, I didn’t even get to take a picture. If you live in Boston, I’d definitely recommend taking a trip out to the factory store in Lawrence, MA for some great deals!
Next up, you’ll hear about my 2nd RTB experience. It was the New Hampshire course, which was very different from the MA course. It was colder, hillier, longer (yes, really), but also much more scenic, IMO! Stay tuned.