Do you like the idea of free shoes?
If so, you may want to consider becoming a wear tester for New Balance, one of the largest shoe companies in the world.
I have mentioned this option a few times already, particularly in my free clothes and product testing job posts, but I figured it’s time to talk about how the program works in depth and how you can get free shoes directly from the source. It’s not as hard as you think.
So, if you like the idea of free New Balance shoes and helping the company research its most current products, then you may want to consider applying to the program. It only takes a few minutes!
New Balance Product Testing Review
What is the New Balance Testing Program?
The New Balance Wear Test was created to let consumers test products before they even hit the store shelves. It will be up to you to wear the shoes as you normally would and ship them back to let the company study the wear and tear so that they can figure out ways to improve their products. It’s similar to that of the very popular Nike Product Testing program.
In short, you’re helping the company improve its products over the long haul.
While you don’t get to keep the shoes, you could receive a steady supply of shoes to make it almost feel as if you always have a new pair of kicks. Generally, as long as you offer great feedback, adhere to the deadlines and return the shoes, then New Balance will continue to send you products based on this alone.
If you’re interested in the program, I’m going to talk about how you can sign up as well as what’s expected of you if you were to get approved.
Signing Up Requirements
If you want to become a product tester, New Balance states that it’s “easy” and all that’s required from you is to fill out the product test profile.
Before you consider, however, you must abide by the following requirements to be accepted:
- for men, wear sizes 8-14 / for women, 6-12 / for juniors, infant size 3-grade school size 6
- applicants younger than 18 can apply but will need parental consent
- need a valid email address
- must be able to read and write in the English language.
- U.S. resident
- provide feedback by specified deadlines
- can follow directions
- agree to return products upon completion
- adhere to Wear Test terms and condition
As long as you meet these requirements, then you shouldn’t have a problem being added to their database. If you don’t, you can still apply, but just don’t be discouraged if you never get an invite in the future.
When I signed up, I was asked to create an account and confirm my email address to get started. Once I did this, I was then able to sign into my profile to start working on my personal profile.
During the account creation process, New Balance will ask for some personal information, including the following:
- your name
- shoe size/width
- activity level
- phone number
Not only will they ask the following questions, but they will ask you a lot more about the sports you play in depth. For instance, I play basketball casually, but they wanted to know about how often I played, where I played, what positions I played, etc.
Most of the programs, at least from my experience, are often looking for very active athletes so that they can test these shoes to the extreme. They would much rather have someone who’s walking and playing all day rather than someone who sits at a computer desk.
Like the many other product testing panels I have talked about in the past, New Balance does this so that they can learn more about your demographics and send you products that are suitable for you. It takes about 10 minutes to complete, but it’s important that you do so that you have a chance at actually getting a product testing invite.
After you sign up, just let it be known that not everyone gets an invite, and this could be due to a few reasons.
For one, they may already have enough testers who fall into your demographic or they may not be interested in your demographic at all. Regardless, they won’t let you know as you will need to wait for an “invite” to arrive in your inbox. It’s just important to know that the invite may never arrive.
After you successfully sign up and complete your profile in full, you can then access your dashboard, which looks something like this…
On this dashboard, you will be able to check out your active tests, available tests, past tests as well as program details. In the beginning, you won’t see any active tests as you will have to wait for your profile to be reviewed. From my personal experience, it can take weeks before you even receive an invite.
Any time you are invited to a test, it will show up inside the active test section and will then move to the past test once you complete it. And, anytime you do receive an invite, you do have the option to decline for any reason at all. In this case, all of your declined jobs will show under the “declined” tab.
It’s a pretty simple dashboard, and there’s not much to it. Just make sure you save your user name and password because they will ask you sign up to complete your feedback forms, etc in the future when you do receive a product in the mail.
If New Balance likes your profile and feels they have a new prototype that fits your demographic, then they will notify you via email about an upcoming test. It is then up to you to decide if you want to take part in the test or not based on the test description. As mentioned, you do have the choice of declining if you so choose, and it will not hurt you in any way if you do decide to reject the job.
If you do decide to accept the job, then New Balance will send you the shoes/apparel to your doorstep, along with instruction as to what’s expected of you during the testing period. These instructions will tell you what you need to log, how to do it and how long you have to wear the shoes.
Typically, a job will last anywhere from four to six weeks on average, and you will be asked to log in periodically into your account to provide your feedback to the research/developmental team. Just remember that it’s important to submit your information by the deadline to stay in good graces and increase your chances of getting new shoes in the future.
At the end of your testing period, you will then be asked to ship the shoes back to them so that they can test the shoes inside their facility for research/developmental purposes. They will want to simply test the shoes to see how they held up under normal circumstances as well as take your feedback to better improve their products.
At this time, you will also be asked to provide your feedback, letting them know how they can make improvements in the shoes you were wearing during the testing period. They will ask questions in regards to your usage, the fit/comfort, performance, aesthetics, durability and desirability, to name a few. There are no right or wrong answers, and New Balance highly encourages you to be as honest as possible to help improve their products.
After you ship in your shoes and provide your feedback, New Balance will also test you for your feedback. According to the company, you will be graded on how often you use the product as well as how well written your feedback was. If you adhere to the guidelines expected of you and offered well-written feedback, then you have a better chance at landing even more product testing opportunities in the future as well.
The entire process is pretty straight forward. Pay close attention to the initial directions and be sure to log into your dashboard to ensure you’re submitting the feedback when you’re supposed to.
Tips to Know
To ensure you’re following the rules, I wanted to create a section showcasing some tips you should know if you were to be approved for the program.
You must return the shoes
Sadly, you don’t get to keep the shoes since you need to return them at the end of your testing period, but you do get a “new” pair for up to six weeks or so. Remember that if you provide great feedback, the company may continue to send more shoes/apparel in the future.
You can’t share any information online
I know it’s tempting to share your new pair of shoes online, but in doing so, you will be violating the terms and conditions agreement you agreed to when signing up. While it’s tempting, keep everything to yourself to avoid any legal trouble.
Be honest with your feedback
Don’t feel like you have to be positive when offering your feedback. New Balance encourages you to be as honest as possible, even if it means bashing their product. As long as you’re honest, it will, in no way, affect your status with the company.
Be quick in accepting your invites
If you receive an invite, don’t wait as this invite went out to hundreds of others as well. Being responsive and completing any surveys sent your way shows them that you’re responsive enough to receive the products.
You won’t get paid
No, you won’t make a dime, but rather, picture it as a way to test out new shoes and help the company in improving its products.
While you don’t get to keep the shoes forever, the New Balance Product Testing program is a great way to at least test new shoes for a few weeks.
If you love apparel and testing out new things, then at least sign up to see if you can get any invites in the near future. It will only take a few minutes of your time, and who knows? It could be a fun experience. You never know.
As always, feel free to ask questions about the program or even comment on the program if you ever were accepted as a product tester in the comment sections below.
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