New Balance has developed and is currently scaling production of a general-use face mask as urgent demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to intensify.
Developed in consultation with local medical and R&D institutions, New Balance produced its first face mask prototype less than a week ago. By mid-April, their goal is to make up to 100,000 units weekly at their Lawrence, MA and Norridgewock, ME factories combined.
They are simultaneously advancing their current face mask design and materials specifications to ideally meet FDA requirements and achieve a product that can be confidently used by frontline medical staff who require those criteria.
Chris Davis, vice president global marketing at New Balance, said: “New Balance is a purpose driven company known for quality, fit and comfort. Knowing the shortage of PPE and after consultation with local medical experts, we embraced the challenge of shifting our production to make facial masks leveraging the same approach that we take with footwear.
“We are fortunate to be able to tap into our dedicated factory associates and partner relationships to create general-use face masks while iterating the design and materials specifications to achieve a product that can be confidently used by frontline medical staff.”
New Balance is approaching distribution through a combination of direct medical facility coordination and communication at the Massachusetts and Maine state levels, where their factories are located, to help them best understand where their current face mask design fits their supply and demand needs This is not a commercial opportunity. New Balance is pursuing break-even pricing and/or donations for the face mask. This initiative has kept many of their associates proudly engaged during this economic and public health crisis while their traditional retail customers are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In parallel, New Balance is also quickly responding to calls for other PPE, including gowns and foot coverings, among other items, with their R&D teams. This includes working toward prototypes and exploring collaborative opportunities that optimize their US-based 3D printing capabilities.
New Balance are proud to combine the industrial R&D expertise and innovative thinking of their associates with their domestic manufacturing resources to work to solve new and extraordinary product challenges, reflecting the brand’s purpose-driven culture and leveraging their skilled American workers in their New England factories.