Why People Are Setting Fire to Their New Balances

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New Balance put its performance sneaker–clad foot in its mouth yesterday when one of its representatives appeared to endorse Donald Trump. The footwear fallout sprouted from a comment related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, which as we’ve mentioned before is a complex series of trade agreements between dozens of Pacific countries.

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New Balance, which manufactures partly in the United States, is not in favor of the treaty — an opinion they share with Donald Trump. Yesterday a representative of New Balance told a Wall Street Journal reporter that, in regard to the TPP, things are going to move in the right direction now that Trump is president-elect.

New Balance failed to contextualize this (as they have in the past) by adding that Clinton and Sanders both also opposed the treaty. And the Internet lost it.

As New Balance customers were throwing shoes in the garbage (or lighting them on fire) for social media posts, Buzzfeed got a clarification on the issue from New Balance, which walked the comment back from an endorsement. “My statements aren’t political,” New Balance vice president of public affairs Matt LeBretton told Buzzfeed News. “This is policy related solely to TPP. I’ve spoken on the record to The Boston Globe and other sources about our opposition to Obama’s footwear tax and the TPP.”

While New Balance says this position is about protecting its factory workers in the U.S., all of New Balance’s shoes are not “Made in the U.S.” In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, even the ones that do have a U.S. label are more likely an “assembled-in” product, with pieces being shipped from countries like China.

On the other side of the issue is Nike, which does make the majority of its products overseas. They’re pro TPP, probably because it would make it cheaper to import Nikes to the U.S.

Either way, all this aggression should be worked out in the gym or on a run. Whatever shoes you pick to do that in is your business.

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