Sneaker giant New Balance has been named in a new lawsuit for false claims against its “USA Made” marketing.
The case, filed in Massachusetts court, alleges that up to 30% “of each individual basketball would be made up of parts imported or produced using foreign labor.” Since some of its footwear manufacturing takes place outside the United States, the complainants argue that New Balance’s sneakers do not meet the legally established definition of “Made in USA”, which requires that the products marketed as “made in America” or “made in the United States” must be made “all or substantially” in the United States.
The soles of New Balance shoes are said not to be produced in the United States, but made in China, and some claim that the sole is the heart of a sneaker.
New Balance clarifies its Made in USA position “by including a fine print disclaimer in parts of its website and on the underside of its packaging,” the record says, which says “contain a national value of 70% or more “. According to the complainants, this is insufficient because “a reasonable consumer would not expect the fine print on the underside of the package or hidden in various places on a website to contain language inconsistent with representations that sneakers were “made in the United States”. ”
In a statement to Footwear News, New Balance said, “New Balance is proud of its long-standing commitment to domestic manufacturing, it’s an important part of our heritage and our culture. Our four New England-based factories currently employ approximately 1,000 Americans who work on the production of our athletic shoes. Our brand’s success has been built and supported by our unwavering belief that things matter and the expertise of the men and women who work in our factories.
On the record, the plaintiffs say they would not have purchased the sneakers if they knew they were produced entirely in the United States. They further state that they were tricked into paying a higher price for products that they believed were made entirely in the United States.
The case is Matthew Cristostomo et al, v. New Balance Athletics, Inc., 1: 21-cv-12095 (D. Mass.)