Election 2016

Sneaker protest

People are burning New Balance sneakers because they thought the company endorsed Trump

People are burning their shoes after New Balance praised Trump

There have been many extreme reactions to Donald Trump’s surprise presidential victory. The markets freaked out. People across the U.S. marched in protest. And world leaders expressed their shock.

But one of the strangest responses to Trump becoming president-elect has been people burning their shoes. The reason? New Balance, the U.S. sneaker company, welcomed Trump’s position on trade.

The controversy kicked off when Wall Street Journal reporter Sara Germano tweeted a quote given to her by a New Balance spokesperson:

This was picked up by Sole Collector, a sneaker magazine, which claimed New Balance had become the first sportswear company to publicly endorse Trump:

The company quickly responded with a statement clarifying that their words were taken out of context, and that they only meant to support Trump’s position on the Trans Pacific Partnership deal. New Balance VP of public affairs Matt LeBretton told Buzzfeed: “My statements aren’t political, this is policy related solely to TPP.”

The response to the initial suggestion that the sneaker company backed Trump was pretty intense. Some people simply threw their New Balance trainers in the bin:

While others went one step further and set fire to their shoes:

Others called for a boycott of New Balance:

New Balance competitor Nike is pushing the current administration to sign the TTP deal, promising the return of 10,000 jobs to the U.S.

While Nike makes most of its shoes abroad, and would therefore benefit from the lower tariffs promised by the TPP, New Balance makes it sneakers in Maine and Massachusetts. Most analysts believe Trump will kill the TPP.

The week before the election, Yuengling Beer was among the few companies willing to give Trump their full backing:

The response from many customers, as you may have expected, was not good:

Cover: Romain Fellens/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

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