New Balance and Disney team up for a new partnership in runDisney shoes

New Balance and Disney launch the special edition of runDisney running shoes inspired by Mickey and Minnie Mouse as part of a new long-term alliance. Photo: New Balance shoes-runDisney

ORLANDO, January 11, 2013 — Co-branding shoes might be the hottest emerging trend in running apparel. In the past year alone, Nike launched USA Track & Field co-branded Air Pegasus+ 29 as the official shoe of the U.S. Olympic Trials and K-Swiss released Stand Up to Cancer co-branded Kwicky Blade-Light shoes as part of their charitable alliance.

Now New Balance and Disney are getting in on the act. Thursday, New Balance and runDisney, Disney’s sports branch, which organizes running races at Disney parks in Florida and California, released limited edition runDisney 860v3 running shoes that evoke Disney’s most iconic characters — Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Minnie’s classic red and white polka dot dress inspired the design for the women’s shoe and Mickey’s black tuxedo look inspired the men’s shoe.

To appeal to the most runners possible, New Balance chose its popular 860v3 model, which is a mild stability shoe, designed specifically for runners looking for a mixture of support and lightweight cushioning.

“We wanted to take the broadest shoe in our line so it can work for more people functionally,” said Josh Rowe, the New Balance marketing manager.

If the initial runDisney shoe is a success, Rowe said New Balance will roll out more Disney branded running shoes, which might include rerunning the current Mickey and Minnie inspired 860v3 sneaker, producing Disney shoes from other models in the New Balance line, or introducing trainers modeled after other Disney characters.

The men’s runDisney shoes by New Balance (pictured) are inspired by Mickey Mouse’s familiar tuxedo. The women’s reflect Minnie Mouse’s red and white polka dot dress. (Photo: runDisney)

“One of the things we hope to figure out is a way to make them race specific,” Rowe said of the seven running weekends in runDisney’s series, which includes events themed around Disney princesses, villains, food festivals, and more. “One option we are looking at is custom sock liners. So if it’s the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, incorporating something Tink related.”

New Balance produced 1,000 shoes for the initial run and will produce more if it proves popular. They are available in women’s sizes 5-12 and men’s sizes 7-13 in standard widths.

“We’ll evaluate after this weekend whether we’ll make more,” Rowe said about initial sales at the Walt Disney World Marathon Health & Fitness Expo from January 10-12.

It’s all part of a long-term, multi-year partnership between Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and New Balance to produce exclusive co-branded footwear and running initiatives. New Balance is now the official athletic shoe of the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, including runDisney races and amateur baseball events at the Sports Complex.

The Sports Complex track & field facility, which annually hosts the Walt Disney World Cross Country Classic, runDisney Kid’s Races, and AAU Track and Field National Championship, is being rechristened with the New Balance name. Eventually, New Balance and Disney will also collaborate to create running trail maps at Walt Disney World and fitness programs for Disney resort guests.

“Our relationship with New Balance complements our company’s efforts to provide healthy options for families during their Disney vacation,” said George Aguel, senior vice president, Disney Corporate Alliances in a press release. 

For now, Disney running fans can snap up the limited edition 860v3 shoes for $125 a pair exclusively at runDisney race expos including the Walt Disney World Marathon Health & Fitness Expo now through January 12, 2013 and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend Expo January 18-19, 2013 at Disneyland in California. In the future, the shoes will also be available at other runDisney race expos, joint New Balance and Disney events, and pop-up shops around the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runner’s weekly lifestyle web show about running. She has completed five marathons, two triathlons and trains with the New York Harriers. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.

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Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is the host of On The Run, a TV and web show from New York Road Runners. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, American Athlete Magazine,,, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and two dozen other outlets including ESPN2, Universal Sports and ABC in New York. She and her work have also received mentions from The New York Times, Runner's World, Fox Sports, Canadian Running, The Baltimore Sun, and PBS among others. She also covered the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for The Washington Times.


A former Newsweek reporter, Karla has won a Fulbright scholarship for American journalists and reporting grants from the Scripps Howard, Carnegie and Knight Foundations. Karla holds degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


When not pounding the pavement as a reporter, Karla is pounding the pavement as a runner. She has completed seven marathons, four triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. She is a writer, editor, and on-camera reporter dedicated to covering the sport of running from a runner’s perspective. Find Karla on, Twitter@KBruning, Facebook and Google+.

Contact Karla Bruning


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