Hitoshi Mimura is a Japanese legend in shoemaking and his detailed “13 Measurements” system of documenting the foot of an athlete has inspired the creation of countless performance footwear for athletes around the world. After working independently over the last few years M. Lab has signed an exclusive arrangement with New Balance.
This places the brand squarely in the arena of performance at a time where “performance running” is not selling as well as it did in the past according to various footwear analysts. I explained in another post that the title of performance running is mislabeled. The line between performance and casual has blurred so much that to attempt to isolate performance as one particular shoe or style can lead to a lack of correct data in regard to footwear sales.
New Balance is making this move because performance becomes casual over time, and creating the best performance footwear is vital to maintaining the growth New Balance experienced with the introduction of several successful silhouettes this year. If you don’t understand the importance of this think of it as Nike losing Tinker Hatfield to New Balance.
“This exciting initiative with Mr. Mimura is another significant step towards New Balance becoming the world’s best running brand. The knowledge and passion Mr. Mimura brings, as a performance footwear craftsman, aligns perfectly with New Balance. Together we will bring footwear to the marketplace that enables runners to reach their highest potential and compete at their fastest level, “ said Tom Carleo New Balance Vice President of Running.”
It is said that Hitoshi’s, “anatomically minded shoes fit like a glove and are feather-light, an extension of (and, many of his clients would argue, an improvement upon) the runner’s body.” (Gizmodo) New Balance has ranked behind Brooks and Saucony in performance running and it’s clear they plan to take on the creations of Nike and their VaporX, and adidas and BOOST, with a more streamlined more natural running shoe created by the greatest performance cobbler in the world. This should be interesting.