New Balance found itself in the middle of social media controversy and threats of boycotts on Wednesday night after a pro-Trump comment from its VP of public affairs went viral. On Thursday morning, the brand reached out to Sole Collector with a statement explaining its position on the president-elect.
"As the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance has a unique perspective on trade and trade policy in that we want to make more shoes in the United States, not less," the statement reads. "New Balance publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump prior to election day that focused on American manufacturing job creation and we continue to support them today."
As noted by Sole Collector's initial piece on New Balance's pro-Trump comment, the brand is backing him on the topic of trade and has not made any moves suggesting it supports his presidency as a whole. New Balance's VP of public affairs, Matt LeBretton, underlined this in a conversation with Buzzfeed on the matter.
"The statement is correct in the context of trade, not talking about large geo-political anything, but in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement," LeBretton said.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade deal that both New Balance and Trump oppose.
New Balance's pro-Trump comment sparked plenty of anger on Twitter, with users posting photos of themselves trashing their NB sneakers in protest.
UPDATE 11/10: New Balance has tweeted a message that, while not directly referencing the controversy around its Trump remarks, appears to allude to them. Read the message below.