A few years back, in a run of sneaker purchases, I found a great pair of New Balance 576 sneakers, made in the UK, that I paid probably way too much for but just had to have. Since, I have had a minor obsession with New Balance and their UK editions, and in research and conversations with Jux contributor Helen Soteriou, found out NB makes their shoes at a factory in Flimby, Cumbria, UK. Helen took the opportunity to go visit the factory last week, and we found a great team of people putting together sneakers for the Europeam market.
From the New Balance site, we learned that "New Balance, which employs over 210 people at its site in Flimby, Cumbria, and produces over 28,000 pairs of shoes a week, with 90% of all footwear sold going to European markets... The recent construction of a new 21,500 square foot warehouse enables production to be increased. The UK factory is a real success story, continuing to grow as demand increases. However, there are some things that stay the same – many of the associates! New Balance Europe works hard to keep its associates, and many of those associates have been with NB since 1982 when the first NB manufacturing facility in the UK opened its doors. New Balance Europe (UK) hopes to continue to experience favourable growth in the domestic manufacturing arena, and plans to continue to provide stable employment for the people of Maryport and the surrounding towns."
All photography by Helen Soteriou. Text by evan pricco.