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10 November 2016

What do you do when your shoes publicly endorse President-Elect Trump?

New Balance wearers are binning and burning their shoes, following the trainer brand’s endorsement of Donald Trump’s presidency.

By Amelia Tait

On my feet, I am wearing fascist shoes. When I put them on this morning, I wasn’t aware this was the case – but by 10am my trainers began supporting Donald Trump. Not out loud, I’m sure you understand, but in spirit. You see, their manufacturer – the yesterday extremely trendy but today universally hated New Balance – have seemingly backed President-Elect Donald J. Trump.

The company’s vice president of public affairs, Matt LeBretton, spoke out about his approval of the Trump victory yesterday. “The Obama administration turned a deaf ear to us and frankly with President-Elect Trump we feel things are going to move in the right direction,” he told a Wall Street Journal reporter.

BORING BIT. What LeBretton is referring to is Trump’s stance against the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) – which aims to foster trade between nations, something that would negatively affect New Balance, which is aiming to make more and more of its shoes within the United States.

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But none of these subtleties matter, because to many New Balance wearers, the act of supporting Trump is enough.

So what do you do when your shoes endorse a fascist? The answer is already apparent on social media. You set fire to them, throw them in the toilet, and – in one particularly notable example – cast them into the darkness via an open window.

I, myself, to the bewilderment of my colleagues, threw my white and gold offerings across the room. A moment later, I picked them up and put them back on – I do need shoes – but the sentiment is much the same.

It is as yet unclear how this statement, disseminated by a single tweet, will affect the company’s sales. Though a pair of red New Balance have sat in my online shopping cart for a month, I can no longer, in clear conscience, purchase them.

But what if I accidentally buy alternative fascist footwear? There once was a time when “left” and “right” shoes only indicated onto which foot you should slip your outerwear. Not anymore. In order to avoid purchasing shoes that betray the political principles you hold dear, we here at the New Statesman have created a handy chart.

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