An obituary to New Balance, the ‘official shoe of white people’
They endorsed Trump, Neo-Nazis love them and let’s be honest – they’re not that nice
It’s been a long time coming, but it’s now safe to say New Balance are officially dead. The final nail in the coffin was last weekend, when neo-Nazi blogger Andrew Anglin declared them the “Official Shoes of White People.”
“I’m a Nike guy. Or rather, I was,” he said on The Daily Stormer, his site which promotes anti-Semitic, white supremacist behaviour. “It’s time to get on-board with New Balance now. Their brave act has just made them the official brand of the Trump Revolution.”
The “brave act” he’s referring to was from the week before, when the brand publicly endorsed Donald Trump less than 24 hours after his election. Matthew LeBretton, New Balance’s Vice President of public affairs, told the Wall Street Journal it would benefit their sales: “The Obama administration turned a deaf ear to us and frankly, with President-elect Trump, we feel things are going to move in the right direction.”
A move in the right direction?!
For obvious reasons, people weren’t happy. Videos emerged online of people setting their New Balance’s alight, chucking them in the bin or flushing them down the toilet in protest.
Within hours, the companies reputation had gone past the point of repair and they released a statement backtracking. Apparently, their support is not for the racist, misogynistic and generally shit things Trump has said, but for his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its negative effect on American industry. But unfortunately for New Balance, this didn’t make much difference to anyone:
"new balance" even sounds like a slogan for white supremacists
— jomny sun (@jonnysun) November 16, 2016
I hate to break it to the Neo-Nazis but New Balance has always been the Official Shoes of White People. https://t.co/NY3Mji6kK6
— Jerry Bird (@BostonJerry) November 15, 2016
It’d be easy to blame the demise of the brand’s reputation on their new racist facade, but in reality, things hadn’t been looking good for a while. Sure, they’ve had their fleeting moments. They’ve had a few nice designs and got some shoutouts from people like Raekwon and A Tribe Called Quest, but they’ve never really been at the forefront of the trainer revolution. No matter how many rap songs they’ve featured in (literally just two), or how many photographs of them you see posted in The Basement, it’s hard to shake the fact that they’ve never actually been that special. They’re not as diverse as Adidas, not as classic as Asics and never had as many special editions as Nike did. They’re the shoe your dad wears, or your mate Alan with the beard who wears a flannel shirt and works in tech.
A scene from the 2011 film Crazy, Stupid, Love sums up New Balance pretty well. Style guru Ryan Gosling tells Steve Carrell he “should never wear New Balance sneakers, ever,” unless he’s either part Steve Jobs or part of a fraternity. He also threw Carrell’s trainers off the balcony, which is what you should do with yours, if you haven’t burnt them already.