To celebrate New Balance’s 100 year anniversary, the brand at the forefront of running shoe design has produced three limited edition trainers to honour three of its longest serving employees. Audrey Stewart, Ian Byers and Victor Dixon have been crafting New Balance footwear between them for over 70 years at the UK factory in Flimby, near the Lake District. The three have been bestowed with the title of ‘Flimby Heroes’ and their portraits will feature on the new designs.
Paying tribute to New Balance’s vintage running past, the three chosen styles, the 1500, the 670 and the 577 have been reintroduced in their original grey/navy colourways resulting in a distinctive retro look. The limited edition footwear will be distributed to fewer than 150 outlets worldwide and only 1906 (the year that New Balance was conceived) pairs will be produced in each style. Available in-store from 1 October 2006, the footwear and packaging celebrate the personalities of Audrey, Ian and Victor.
New Balance adopted an ‘Endorsed by No One’ philosophy in the late 1980s, preferring to invest in research, design and domestic manufacturing rather than paying celebrities to don their product. In typical New Balance style the brand is paying homage to the real heroes, its employees, and recognising that they have been instrumental to the success of the brand.
The longest serving Flimby Hero, Audrey Stewart has been working in the stitching department of the factory for almost 25 years and in the course of a regular day at work met Prince Charles as part of a Royal visit. She said: "I’ve been handling and making New Balance shoes for a quarter of a century. I never dreamt I would actually appear on them. It’s a great honour to be involved in the centenary celebrations in this way."
Ian Byers started at New Balance in 1982 and has been honing his skills as ‘toe and side laster’ ever since. Whilst Victor Dixon, whose finest moment was crafting Bryan Robson’s football boots, has been with the company since 1982.
Alistair Cameron, General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa said: "We wanted to celebrate our centenary year in a traditional New Balance way. As well as honouring domestic manufacturing the Flimby Heroes highlight how valuable our employees are to us - they are the celebrities of the brand itself!"
(Read it from Dean Chalkley)
New Balance Centenary M577 Audrey Stewart
New Balance Centenary M670 Victor Dixon
New Balance Centenary M1500 Ian Byers