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  • Behind the Scenes: Asphaltgold at New Balance Flimby Factory


    New Balance is celebrating the 40th anniversary of sneaker production in England this year. For almost half a century, sneakers (and to some extent athletic shoes) have been made in the UK, with European labor standards and fair conditions. To celebrate the anniversary, New Balance invited us together with the team from sneaker.de invited us to Flimby. This gave us the opportunity to see for ourselves that the production facility in the north of England is simply something special.

    After a short night we went to Frankfurt airport on Tuesday morning, from there we took the plane to Manchester. Flimby is located so close to the English-Scottish border that it was obvious to fly directly over Glasgow. In Manchester, the production team joined us and we took off straight for Flimby - another two hours drive on the left side.

    It's not hard to describe the town of Flimby, as it is rather tiny (1,700 inhabitants, many more sheep). Besides the New Balance Factory, from which you have a beautiful view of windmills and the sea, there is an electricity plant and, if we are honest, not much else. Nevertheless, when you arrive in Flimby, you immediately feel the special charm of the local production and the friendliness of the people.

    -> New Balance *Made in England* at Asphaltgold

    After a short welcome in the offices of Flimby, we went directly to the "holy halls", where nowadays more than 10,000 sneakers are handmade per week, about 350,000 per year. No comparison to the large production facilities overseas, but still insane when you take a closer look at the number.

    What you should know about New Balance Flimby: the production conditions are good, the wages are fair, the employees* have a 4.5-day week and you always get the feeling that they are really proud of what they do here. For every New Balance fan, it's an amazing experience to look behind the scenes.

    During a short tour through the hall, the content production already started in order to preserve as many impressions as possible not only for us, but also for our community - but more about that shortly. Every single step of the production process was scrutinized and enthusiastically observed. From cutting the leather, which is done semi-automatically (with the help of lasers), to various cutting and stitching processes, to assembling the individual parts and finally the final gluing process, in which the midsole and upper construction are glued together. Finally, there was the quality control, the final check, where B-goods are sorted out - an eye for detail is absolutely necessary! By the way, when we were on site, the 1500s from the *40th Anniversary* Pack were just being made.

    -> New Balance *Made in England* at Asphaltgold

    After the tour, the next highlight followed: in the (admittedly relatively small) Flimby archive, all the sneakernerds and New Balance heads in the group were able to talk shop at length and exchange anecdotes about one release or another with Joe from New Balance. Madness, which special pieces are kept in the small room. A myth that could not be completely cleared up: did a part of the archive burn down a few years ago, or did a large part of the shoes get lost on the way to an exhibition? We'll probably never solve that.

    Day 1 ended (and this is a tradition when New Balance is in Flimby with guests) at the local pub for the traditional pub quiz. UK 70s TV trivia fans ahead, we give up.

    Day Two and, as you might have guessed, our trip and associated content production was all about the M1500 in the *40th Anniversary* colorway. New Balance provided us with original materials from Flimby that we used to produce Neck Pouches. Each bag comes with Suede & Leather, which is also used in Flimby to produce sneakers, each bag is hand sewn in Germany. Just to announce, 40 bags have been produced. These will be included with the first 40 orders of the M1500UKF. While stocks last! PS: you can guess which shoe was originally produced from the leather!

    With the two models we first went to the almost iconic Flimby train station, where the first part of the shoot took place - of course, a view of the sea is standard. Second location was then in dream weather the beach. The weather could hardly have been better, the north of England definitely showed itself from its best side. Shots in the box. In town, we connected easily with the locals, who were always enthusiastic about the great interest of international store teams and retailers in their little town of Flimby and willingly offered their front yards as shooting locations. Thx mate, all in the can.

    Long day, then it was straight back to Manchester, where we narrowly missed the U18 final of the English FA Cup, as our hotel was in the immediate vicinity of Old Trafford Stadium. Impressive in any case and a nice ending. Not much more happened then - in the morning, again before 05:30, the alarm clock rang and it went back to Germany.

    Many thanks to New Balance for the opportunity to go to Flimby and get these insights. And many thanks to sneaker.de for accompanying us on the content side!

    Release: October 13th, 00:00 (CEST) at Asphaltgold - Bags while stocks last!

    -> New Balance M1500UKF *Made in England* *A love letter to Flimby*
    at Asphaltgold

    Also check out our YouTube channel for ourEditorial Video with exclusive "Behind The Scenes" impressions from the Flimby Factory.

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