New Balance claims that its products are “proof that U.S. manufacturing can and does work”. Given the obvious need for U.S. manufacturers to create products that are eco- as well as economically-friendly, the company has made good on its claim by creating a new line of eco-friendly shoes: The New Balance 70, to be included in the company’s line of outdoor apparel. Now runners who are also sustainability enthusiasts can hit the pavement in style and integrity.
The shoes’ upper materials are constructed of (75 percent) environmentally friendly materials, including recycled polyester (for the laces, webbing, tongue, and saddle); synthetics containing minimum solvents (used in the shoes’ tips and foxing); rice husker (used in the outsole), which reduces the amount of rubber and petroleum used; and water- (instead of solvent-) based adhesives (used in the upper and sole units). In addition, the shoes are constructed and manufactured using eco-friendly processes and packaged without paper stuffing or wrapping. Even the shoes’ design and construction processes are tailored toward waste reduction: the upper’s minimal layering minimizes material usage, and the shoes are constructed using as much of the original cutting material as possible.
New Balance created the shoes as part of its corporate-wide sustainability initiative, which targets its products, manufacturing, and facilities. It is likely that the company was also motivated, at least in part, to keep up with other shoe manufacturers that have recently crafted eco-friendly products.
If the New Balance 70s are as long-lasting as the company’s other products tend to be (one consumer reported that his New Balances lasted from his first year of high school all the way through college), runners can enjoy numerous fringe benefits of the product. They will not have to toss their shoes as often, thereby reducing landfill waste and saving money. And, since New Balance products are American made, purchasers will be contributing to the nation’s economy and supporting the much-needed push for sustainable manufacturing. Through their simple purchasing power, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy and protect the great outdoors.