With thousands across the country taking to the streets to protest the outcome of the election - even shutting down the 101 Freeway in L.A. and lighting a papier mache Trump head on fire in front of Los Angeles City Hall - hearing that people are burning their New Balance sneakers in response to a statement by the athletic company comes as little shock.
The controversy began when Wall Street Journal reporter Sara Germano quoted the company's vp public affairs saying that New Balance is excited about President-elect Trump's stance on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a pact championed by the Obama administration that aims to foster trade between nations by slashing tariffs.
"The Obama admin turned a deaf ear to us," reads the quote. The Boston-based company has stated in the past that it believes TPP will hinder its goal of making a sneaker with only American-made materials due to cheaper imports. "Frankly, with President-Elect Trump [sic] we feel things are going to move in the right direction."
New Balance: "The Obama admin turned a deaf ear to us & frankly w/ Pres-Elect Trump we feel things are going to move in the right direction"
- Sara Germano (@germanotes) November 9, 2016
Among the anti-Trump camp, social media users are urging New Balance customers to boycott the brand and burn or trash their sneakers in protest.
@SoleCollector @newbalance pic.twitter.com/6dROPnmYdm
- Jean Ralphio (@MMArtinitus) November 10, 2016
Everyone who can afford to burn shoes, I'd probably burn your #newbalance trainers now https://t.co/AkRotmsYef
- Feral Lass (@SophieAmandaH) November 10, 2016
@newbalance never buying another pair of #newbalance after your distasteful support of @realDonaldTrump #shame on you. #boycottnewbalance pic.twitter.com/RZSNXKOGXl
- hamada (@Jimmy_Two_Timez) November 10, 2016
So #NewBalance have come out in support of Trump.
I shall be burning mine then. Wankers. pic.twitter.com/FDH319wycH- Vix #NotMyPresident (@fannyvonfabulus) November 10, 2016
Vote w/your dollars..tends to be more efficient. #newbalance shoes are for Trump supporters. pic.twitter.com/hYMb3COOtV
- mayraromeroferman (@mayraromeroferm) November 10, 2016
If an athlete said the things #Donaldtrump has said he or she would lose that endorsement but @newbalance endorsed him. #GTFOH #newbalance pic.twitter.com/hZemug9Ekz
- Damien Malone (@damedmalone) November 10, 2016
In response to the negative reactions flooding social media on Thursday morning, New Balance defended their anti-TPP stance, telling High Snobiety that "as the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance has a unique perspective on trade and trade policy in that we want to make more shoes in the United States, not less. New Balance publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump prior to election day that focused on American manufacturing job creation and we continue to support them today."
To its Twitter followers, the company added that "since 1906, we have carved our own path in being passionately committed to making things at our five factories in New England, even when no one else did."
- New Balance (@newbalance) November 10, 2016
While the urge to destroy was still strong among the staunch anti-Trump crowd, a handful of Twitter users had another message for those burning or trashing their sneakers in protest: "All people throwing away their #newbalance should maybe think to give them to people who really need it instead of burning them?" wrote user @Lianodel.
All people throwing away their #newbalance should maybe think to give them to people who really need it instead of burning them?
- Lianodel (@Lianodel) November 10, 2016