It started in 1906, when a 33 year-old waiter named William J. Riley decided to build arch supports that relieved the pain suffered by people who spent all day working on their feet. His design fit better, and felt better than anything else on the market, and by 1909 Riley was listed in the Boston business directory under 'shoemaker.'
Nineteen years later Riley designed his first running shoe for the Boston running club known as the Boston Brown Bag Harriers. The success of this shoe spread quickly, and by 1941 New Balance was creating custom-made shoes for running, baseball, basketball, tennis and boxing.
With the introduction of the Trackster in 1960, New Balance began a new direction in shoe manufacturing. The Trackster was the first running shoe available in multiple widths, a feature which would become the standard for New Balance offerings.
Today, New Balance holds onto its history through the numbering system that owes its origins to a man named Arthur Heckler. Instead of naming the different shoe models, Heckler chose to number them because he wanted to place an emphasis on the New Balance philosophy, not any one particular shoe. To this day, that philosophy is upheld as model numbers are advanced to incorporate new technologies and designs.