Yesterday, New Balance Vice President of Public Affairs Matt LeBretton told Wall Street Journal reporter Sara Germano that the company was happy with the election of Donald Trump. "The Obama administration turned a deaf ear to us," LeBretton said, "and, frankly, with President-Elect Trump, we feel things are going to move in the right direction."
In protest, some New Balance owners set fire to their once-loved sneakers, posting pictures and videos on social media.
New Balance opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Trump promised to roll back if elected, as did Hillary Clinton.
TPP is a trade deal made under the Obama administration that lowered tariffs (taxes on imports and exports) and other costs associated with the import and export of materials and goods between the U.S. and partner nations, including Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, and Australia. Such a deal greatly benefits their competitors like Nike and Adidas, which make a large portion of their products overseas and thus stand to save a lot more money than New Balance, which makes 70 percent of their products in America and recently invested in new equipment that would allow them to cut out foreign manufacturing all together.
In an interview with NPR in April, LeBretton said New Balance kept their initial quiet in the hopes of securing a government contract to make running shoes for the military. The military is required to buy uniforms and boots made in the U.S., but they don't hold sneakers to the same standard because of the difficulty of finding running shoes that are 100 percent made in the USA.
Earlier today, New Balance responded to the backlash by posting the following message on social media: