Aiming to Be the World No.1 in Terms of Use at Tournaments and Sales



New Balance, the US athletic footwear and fitness apparel manufacturer is bolstering its business in running shoes. The company has been investing great effort into attracting and locking in runners by strengthening cooperation with race sponsors, and particularly with shoes, the company will aim to become No. 1 in the world both in terms of use at leading marathon tournaments and sales through speciality stores by 2020. Moving forward, the company will not only implement measures aimed at communities of runners, it will also launch a service for making customised midsoles using a 3D printer. Moreover, a smart watch specially developed for use during running will go on sale in November.


Head of Global Running Marketing Jeff McAdams

Head of Global Running Marketing Jeff McAdams


“New Balance began its business in the field of running shoes, and it means everything to the brand,” says Jeff McAdams, Head of Global Running Marketing. “The current rate of use of New Balance running shoes, for example in the Tokyo Marathon, is 6th. Sales through speciality stores in the US ranks around 2nd to 4th.” The company is facing many competitors, such as Brooks, Nike, and Asics, but its products are on a growth trajectory, with the leading models massively boosting sales year-on-year in the first half of the fiscal year.


One of the company’s priority measures is to attract and lock-in runners. At the end of last year, it signed a multi-year contract with New York Road Runners (NYRR), the world’s biggest running organisation with around 60,000 members. New Balance will support the running of the New York City Marathon in 2017, which will be sponsored by NYRR. More than 50,000 people will take part in the race.


Moreover, New Balance and NYRR will open a running centre in New York by the end of 2016. The centre will have a floor space of 650 m2 and will provide the necessary facilities for training as well as serving as the hub of running services, among other functions.


The company will also adapt to the needs of the new trend of “social running.” A “New Balance Running Club” will be established in collaboration with Strava (San Francisco), a network providing an app that allows runners to socialise. Through Strava’s platform, New Balance customers will be able to connect with one another online, as well as offline. Starting in autumn/winter of 2016, group running events will be held three times a week at 10 flagship stores throughout the world to encourage the forming of networks.


Efforts will also continue in product development making use of advanced technologies. The focus will be on developing running shoes using 3D printers. The company has just succeeded in making midsoles that are customised to the shape of the feet of the wearer and the differences in pressure applied to different parts of the sole, by solidifying powdered elastic material using a laser beam. Progress is being made to realise mass production of custom-made midsoles.


Furthermore, multi-year contracts have been signed with Intel and Google with the aim of boosting the performance of runners by developing the smart watch, “RUN IQ.” It is planned for release in November. It will enable the tracking of running routes without the need for a smartphone, and allow runners to listen to music while running.