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New Balance

Is New Balance a sustainable and ethical shoe brand?

New Balance is a trainers and shoes brand, selling mostly sports shoes and trainers. New Balance has been ethically rated and researched by The Good Shopping Guide and is ranked on our Shoes & Trainers: Ethical Comparison Ratings TableThe Good Shopping Guide research team evaluates any brand and its parent company for over 15 ethical and sustainability criteria, relating to the Environment, Animals and People.

Unfortunately, New Balance has not yet met our Ethical Benchmark, and so is not yet eligible for Ethical Accreditation by The Good Shopping Guide. However, we encourage all brands to keep improving their ethics, sustainability and CSR policies.

Read more about the ethical issues that the Shoes and Trainers industry faces in our comprehensive editorial on the sector.

About New Balance

One of the largest manufacturers of sports gear and footwear in the world is New Balance Athletics, Inc. (NB), also known as just “New Balance.” The worldwide firm, with its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts, was established in 1906 as the New Balance Arch Support Company.

For the European market, New Balance maintains production facilities in the United States and the United Kingdom, where it makes several of its well-known models. With technical features such as blended gel inserts, heel counters, and a wider range of sizes, especially for extremely narrow or very broad widths, New Balance promises to distinguish its goods from the competition. The business is privately held, and its 2021 revenue was $4.4 billion.

Is New Balance sustainable and does it make environmentally-friendly shoes?

In our ethical criteria for Environmental Reporting, New Balance has a high Ethical Rating, as on its Sustainability page, New Balance lists all of its goals in areas including carbon emissions, waste, and renewable electricity.

However, New Balance does not score well for its lack of shoes made with Sustainable Materials; hardly any products were found to contain compostable, recyclable, repairable or recycled materials.

Another Environmental criticism comes from the group Zero Waste France. This environmental advocacy group filed a case for “deceptive marketing practices” against adidas and New Balance before the Strasbourg and Parisian courts. The companies were charged with making only “facade commitments” regarding their environmental policies. In practice, the group claims that the equipment manufacturers change “almost nothing to their production model” but communicate “shamelessly and disproportionately on [environmental] pledges”. The group criticises “a tremendous ambiguity covering a diversity of realities (…) and a lack of information about the product’s end of life.” The environmental group demand that justice needs to stop the pandemic of greenwashing, now.

Does New Balance use kangaroo skins in its trainers?

Yes, New Balance still uses kangaroo leather in its shoes and trainers; Vegans or consumers concerned about Animal Welfare may want to avoid this brand. Additionally, there are very few Vegan shoe products made by New Balance. This brand makes a huge number of different products, and in such a wide range, we expect more Vegan shoes. (Please note: New Balance’s shoes are called ‘Vegan Friendly’, and are not certified Vegan by any independent body.)

Does New Balance have a satisfactory Code of Conduct?

New Balance has a robust Code of Conduct, which helps to protect the rights of workers at all stages of a brand’s supply chain, and allows brands to be held accountable by unions, watch groups, consumers and investors.

How can New Balance improve its Ethical Ratings on the Shoes & Trainers: Ethical Comparison Ratings Table?

New Balance should address and stop its Political Donations (see the Open Secrets website for more information on this). New Balance should also invest seriously in improving the environmental impact of manufacturing its shoes, and stop greenwashing, which misleads consumers and investors.

New Balance could still apply for Ethical Accreditation; in the process of this, the brand would open itself up to even further investigation by The Good Shopping Guide and would receive sustainability and ethical advice and consultancy on how to improve its Ethical Rating.

If your shoes and trainers brand values ethics and sustainability, why not check out The Good Shopping Guide‘s Ethical Accreditation? Increase customer and investor confidence and stand out from the greenwash.

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Nuclear Power


  • Sustainable Materials


  • Fossil Fuels



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegan Options



  • Armaments


  • Code of Conduct


  • Political Donations


  • Ethical Trading Schemes


  • Human Rights



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Other Criticisms


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