Social media backlash against New Balance after company welcomes Trump's stance on trade

The American shoe company has voiced strong opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Social media backlash against New Balance after company welcomes Trump's stance on trade

Picture by Gregory Bull AP/Press Association Images

Videos of New Balance shoes being destroyed or binned went viral on social media following what appeared to be a misunderstanding over the company's 'support' for Donald Trump. 

The online controversy arose when Wall Street Journal reporter Sara Germano tweeted a statement from the company, following on from a Nike comment about Trump's pledge to end the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal:

New Balance - who make their shoes in the US - has previously voiced opposition to the deal (which has been finalised but not yet implemented), in contrast to Nike who welcomed it.

Nike make their shoes abroad and would likely benefit from fewer cross-border restrictions. 

Strong opposition to the deal led to both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton pledging to end it.

However, the New Balance comment and subsequent reports on it provoked a strong reaction on social media, leading to videos and pictures of New Balance shoes being binned and even burned:

New Balance's vice president of public affairs Matt LeBretton told Buzzfeed: “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 [...] Everything I’ve said is in the context of trade.”

In another statement to Sole Collector, the company clarified: "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.

"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."