New Balance is having a rough time lately. When the brand’s Vice President of Public Affairs, Matt LeBretton, made an inelegantly worded statement that seemed to show support for the future Trump administration on a single issue—the Trans-Pacific Partnership—the quote went viral and sent a shockwave through the footwear community. Milquetoast attempts to quell the outrage by New Balance did little to mitigate the issue, peaking when a Neo-Nazi publication proudly named New Balance the official sneakers of white people.
The reaction on a personal level from sneakerheads has been loud and severe, with some even burning their New Balances publicly on Twitter. Is that the right move? No. Rage can be expressed constructively and there are plenty of people who could use shoes you’re not going to wear. But the feelings are understandable.
The question that new balance 574 running comes to one’s mind staring at the smoldering waste of their socially tainted sneakers is: What do I wear now? Well, if the brand has any say about it, Reebok wants to lace you up.