New Balance is the latest mainstream brand to throw its hat into the skateboard footwear market.
Based out of Boston, Mass., New Balance is strongly positioned in running and other traditional categories, but has not succeeded in their previous attempts to enter the skate market with the hi-top V74 and the V45 low-top sneaker, released in 2010. Their new entry into skateboarding is called New Balance Numeric or NB#.
New Balance, looking for a strong skate company to help ease their way into the market, will be manufactured and distributed by Black Box distribution of Carlsbad, Calif. Owned by professional skateboarder Jamie Thomas, Black Box currently distributes board brands Zero, Slave and Mystery, along with Insight Apparel and Fallen Footwear.
Thomas explained that, "The New Balance/Black Box relationship is a partnership, and New Balance Numeric will be a full line of skate footwear along with a marketing campaign to support the initiative."
Design and creative direction of the product have been delegated to Westlife Distribution, who currently produce licensed New Balance snowboard boots. Based in Los Angeles, Calif., Westlife Distribution holds the exclusive licenses for New Balance, Dickies, Paul Frank, their own technical snowboard and ski apparel brand 686 and their recent purchase of Matix Clothing.
Known for comfort and fit, it is anticipated that the new line of NB# footwear will be performance driven and draw from athletic inspired, classic New Balance styling.
No word on the skate team or marketing strategies, but the rollout continues when New Balance Numeric debuts in a few weeks at January's Long Beach Agenda trade show. The product line will launch in July, 2013 at specialty skate retailers and action sports accounts in the U.S. and Canada.
To stay up to date on the brand's progression go to newbalancenumeric.com.