New Balance Athletic Shoe Co. regained some momentum in 2010, with worldwide revenues climbing 7.9% to $1.78 billion from $1.65 billion in 2009. Figures include estimated sales by joint ventures and distributors, and cover its wide range of brands that include New Balance, Dunham, PF Flyers, Aravon, Warrior Lacrosse and Brine. New Balance has not yet broken out domestic sales for the year.

Releases also show the company adjusted its worldwide employee count to “more than 3,900” in 2010 from “more than 4,000” in 2009.

The 2010 revenue increase follows fairly flat to meager gains over the last few years. Revenues of $1.65 billion in 2009 compared to $1.64 billion in 2008, $1.63 billion in 2007, and $1.55 billion in 2006, with some of those gains coming from acquisitions.

In a busy media week for the athletic footwear company, New Balance signed on to become the official footwear and apparel sponsor of the Boston Red Sox. An illuminated sign featuring its logo on an HD videoboard was unveiled in Fenway Park's right field at the Red Sox opening-day on Friday.

In other New Balance news, company President and CEO Rob DeMartini was recognized as the country's Most Playful CEO by Playworks, a nonprofit that supports learning through play and physical activity. Playworks said in a statement, “DeMartini is personally involved in the company's commitment to get people moving, and a clear supporter of New Balance's community service initiatives. He is a runner, cyclist, skier and community advocate, and from road races to company bike builds, actively participates in New Balance's events around play, sport, community service and physical activity. He also serves as vice chair on board of directors for KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization that empowers communities to build playgrounds.”

Finally, New Balance ranked first in the athletic footwear category in the 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend Value Retail Brand of the Year study. Based on a survey of 25,099 U.S. consumers in January, New Balance earned a score of 67.7; followed by Sperry Top-Sider, 66.2; Nike, 65.5; Asics, 65.0; Dexter Shoes, 64.6; Adidas, 63.1; and Reebok, 60.9. The industry average was 60.2. Other brands scored were Airwalk, Converse, K-Swiss, Keds, Puma, Saucony, Skechers and Stride Rite.