Spira Footwear has tapped Jim Tompkins, the former president and COO of New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., for an advisory role to direct the development and expansion of the patented WaveSpring-inspired Spira brand.

In 25 years at New Balance, Tompkins' unique leadership delivered positive results in numerous executive positions, both in the United States and Europe. He served the past nine years as president and COO until stepping down in June 2009. When Tompkins took the helm in December 1999, New Balance employed more than 2,000 people and reported worldwide sales in 1998 of $630 million. Under Tompkins' leadership, New Balance doubled its global workforce and reported worldwide sales in 2008 of $1.63 billion.

Spira founder and chief executive officer Andy Krafsur hired Tomkins to oversee product design, development, sourcing and manufacturing, spearheaded by its state-of-the-art energy return and suspension system — compact wave springs embedded in the midsole — and guide it to compete head-to-head with the industry's dominant multinational corporations.

“We’re very excited to have Jim as part of our team. He is one of the most well liked and respected executives in our industry and provides a unique combination of experience, leadership, passion and integrity,” said Andy Krafsur.

Spira offers Tompkins the rare opportunity to transform a revolutionary, under-the-radar shoe company into an industry powerhouse. 

“The WaveSpring Technology offers a unique opportunity to fine tune cushioning and energy return. With a credible technology and passionate Spira workforce, the potential for explosive growth in place. I am excited to bring my expertise to the brand.”

Tompkins joined New Balance in 1984 as a product manager. He moved to the United Kingdom in 1985 to serve as the sales/marketing manager for New Balance Europe until he returned to the U.S. in 1988 to assume the position of vice president, R&D. Prior to serving as president and COO, he held the position of EVP global operations.