New Balance was founded as New Balance Arch Support Company in 1906 by William J. Riley. An Irish immigrant, Riley resided in Boston, Massachusetts. It is believed that Riley was inspired to produce his first product after watching chickens strut around his backyard. Fascinated by how the chickens balanced so perfectly on their three-pronged feet, Riley designed a flexible arch support with three support points.
In 1927, Riley hired a salesman named Arthur Hall, who eventually became a partner in New Balance Arch Support Company in 1934. At this point, New Balance was yet to produce a sneaker, and Hall focused his business on selling arch supports to workers whose jobs required them to stand up for long periods of time. Hall eventually sold New Balance Arch Support Company to his daughter, Eleanor, and her husband, Paul Kidd in 1956.