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Ready to take a ‘sole trip’

Joe Unger to visit New Balance factory

Joe Unger, owner of Unger’s Shoes in downtown Ironton, knows a lot about shoes and soon he’ll know even more.

“It’s like someone from Bob Clyse going to Detroit and getting to make a car,” he said. “It’s definitely a feather in our cap.”

The feather is Unger’s upcoming all-expenses-paid four-day trip to the New Balance shoe factory in Portland, Maine. Unger will experience the entire shoe-making process and ultimately make his own pair.

“I get to keep the pair of shoes I make,” he said. “Everyone who works in my store is well-versed in New Balance shoes and this will only accelerate our knowledge of the product.”

Unger was invited to the factory in Maine by New Balance because of his store’s exemplary participation in NBRx, the shoe company’s prescription footwear line, as well as for meeting other criteria such as ideal fittings, low number of returns, timely payments and having a certain sales volume.

“By being a NBRx dealer,” Unger said, “we carry more sizes and widths and the shoes are made from better materials. They are just superior shoes.”

New Balance is the only athletic shoe made in the United States and Unger is anxious to see raw materials morphed into shoes.

“I will get a grasp of the entire workings of a shoe and see how shoes are formed,” he said. “We will be better able to recommend a particular shoe for people’s particular foot problems.”

Unger’ Shoes is an NBRx-certified fitting specialist retailer. As far as he knows he is the first in the Tri-State to attend NBRx in Portland, he said.

“It’s really an honor to be recognized,” he said. “It’s good for Ironton that I get to do this.”