A Look Inside New Balance’s UK Flimby Factory

Highsnobiety recently took a trip to the famed New Balance factory based in Flimby, UK.

“While the New Balance imprint is rooted firmly in the Boston area, founder William J. Riley traces his family’s heritage directly to England, a country that constitutes an important chapter in the New Balance story. A two hours drive north of Manchester lies a quaint village named Flimby, the unsuspecting seat of New Balance’s Made-in-England range. Churning out around 28,000 pairs of shoes on a weekly basis, the factory floor was abuzz during our latest visit, as the release date for the New Balance “Real Ale” pack was quickly approaching.” – Highsnobiety

I love a well curated snap-shot of the inner workings of a shoe factory. Highsnob also caught up with New Balance Senior Footwear Designer Mark Godfrey, Senior Footwear Developer Chris Hodgson and Factory Manager Andy Okolowicz to discuss the release of their special ‘Real Ale’ pack and general info about the factory.

How do you see the differences between the U.S. factories and the UK factories?

Andy Okolowicz, Factory Manager: Our factories are very similar actually – in terms of how we manufacture the shoes anyway. I think each factory throughout the New Balance organization has its own footprint, its own look and Flimby, because of its history since 1982, we’ve developed the look of our product and it is very unique to this area. But yeah, in terms of equipment they are very similar. We tend to use softer materials, generally, and a lot of our guys here have a lot of experience working with shoes. Some of them having been making shoes for 40 years so that shows through in the quality. Back in the mid-‘80s there were maybe 80-90,000 people manufacturing footwear in the UK and today they are less than 4,000.

Below you can see some of the beautifully captured images from inside the factory. For the full interview, head here.

 

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Mr. Bailey

Product Designer + Footwear Architect | Founder of @ConceptKicks | www.MrBailey.co.uk

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