New Balance rejects 'shoes for white people' claim by extreme US site

New Balance

New Balance has been forced to state it has "mutual respect for people around the world" after a neo-Nazi website claimed its trainers were now a "white uniform".

The Daily Stormer, a US-focused site, said they would now become "the official shoes of white people".

It's after protests at the firm's apparent praise for Donald Trump's plans for US trade.

Some customers burned or dumped their trainers outside shops.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal vice-president Matt LeBretton said that Barack Obama had "turned a deaf ear" to US business.

"Frankly, with President-elect Trump, we feel things are going to move in the right direction," he added.

That view was then praised by Andrew Anglin, who runs the self-declared "most visited alt-right website".

New Balance says the comments were taken out of context and that the company rejects "bigotry or hate in any form".

"As a 110-year old company with five factories in the US and thousands of employees worldwide from all races, genders, cultures and sexual orientations, New Balance is a values-driven organisation and culture that believes in humanity, integrity, community and mutual respect for people around the world.

"We have been and always will be committed to manufacturing in the United States."

A previous statement released on 10 November promoting "community" and "humanity" caused users on social media to criticise the company further.

New Balance
Image caption New Balance trainers are popular with athletes as well as casually dressed Americans

This latest statement has similarly provoked debate among people whose political views are now affecting their fashion choices.

"Is this the corporate equivalent of "some of my friends are black?" asked one Twitter user.

"You can stand behind trade policies, you can't legitimately stand behind a racist/misogynist bully. You should be embarrassed," said another.

Others supported the company's pro-American stance.

"Don't know why people are getting ****** at your company. It's one of the few shoe manufactures left in the USA," wrote a supporter.

"Never stop buying your shoes just because of your political beliefs. Freedom to choose is what makes our country great," another posted.

One follower offered advice for New Balance - and every other manufacturer on the planet.

"As a brand, in the future stay far away from politics.. worse thing y'all could ever do or invest in."

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