Born in the USA
So, it is official: New Balance is entering the skateboarding market.
Instead of being distributed from the corporation themselves, such as Nike, Cons and Adidas; New Balance Numeric, shortened to NB#, will be distributed underneath Jamie Thomas’ Black Box roof along with Fallen, Zero, Mystery and Insight. It appears that Fallen will stay independent of NB#, however NB# will be a more athletic aesthetic, drawing on New Balance’s past history of sneakers. Their main selling point, if it can be true, would be that the shoes would be the only brand manufactured in America. The only drawback of NB# being made in America would be the $100.00+ price tag that comes with their other models that are Made in America.
American Chinese made shoes for your Chinese Wood
Now, I have been sitting on this post for a while, as there has not been much rumblings from the Black Box camp about NB#. However, I learned that the NB# line of shoes and apparel WILL be manufactured in China. This means two things will happen: skateboarding will still not see an American made skate shoe and NB# will not have the $100+ price tag. NB#’s reasoning behind manufacturing the shoes in China is that the company does not possess a vulcanized shoe facility in North America. Being under the Black Box roof, I see the shoes being made in the same facilities that makes Fallen.
All I can say is good for them, especially Arto. After Gravis imploded, many speculated where Arto would land. Many wanted to see an Etnies revival, myself included. However, I hope that NB# gives Arto as much freedom as he had with Gravis. He’s a great photographer and would really give the brand great direction and insight.
With yet another corporation coming into the skate market, all I can say is that its wait and see. Some people will embrace it, while other purists will disregard it. Such as it is with Nike, Cons and Adidas.
Coming soon, to a mall near you.