New Balance’s MADE is the rebranding of their USA/UK production lines. A key aspect of the rebrand is the fusion of their domestic manufacturing expertise with contemporary footwear design, bringing a premium level of craftsmanship to new sneaker silhouettes that are suited for everyday modern life.
The first new footwear release is the MADE 1978 sneaker, which takes inspiration from New Balance’s iconic 990 model that debuted back in 1982 (but started development in 1978) at an unheard-of-at-the-time USD100 price point, pushing the boundaries of what people would pay for a pair of premium sports shoes. New Balance designers re-thought the 990 concept through new technology and construction methods.
Vibram was the original partner used to create the 990 outsole, so New Balance returned to them to design the soles for the 1978. However, a unique aspect this time around is that the entire one-piece injection sole units are manufactured entirely by New Balance themselves.
The MADE 1978 features a three-piece upper and deconstructed leather collar made from premium suedes and leathers. The new soles are also lighter and more durable compared to other ground contact IMEVA sole units.
We were recently invited to Boston – the home of New Balance – to take a look at the manufacturing process behind the 1978. We were taken through their Brighton facility to see how the Vibram designed soles are made and finished by hand before they are shipped a few hours along the highway to their Norridgewock factory to be assembled into complete sneakers.
We have been to New Balance’s USA/UK domestic factories before, so we kind of knew what to expect, however the manufacturing of the soles was a surprise due to the amount of work that goes into creating them. Normally most would think such one-piece soles would be part of an automated process, but they are moulded in pairs and a whole line of workers are required to finish them by hand to ensure they meet both Vibram’s and New Balance’s strict quality control.
Take a look at our pictorial recap of the factory store.
The MADE 1978 will be available from March 18th onwards at New Balance Experience Stores and select stockists across the ASEAN region.