It's all about New Balance
Who should I blame first? Joe Fresh, Bodega, Stray Rats, Casablanca, or maybe Aime Leon Dore? I mean, the list can go on.
Image via @nolis
Trying to get my hands on a pair of the Joe Fresh “Anatomy of a Heart” was like trying to get a PS5 for retail. I remember when he first posted them on his IG, I literally froze. The colors, the story, that shoe was a MUST have. When I got to Chicago, the line was literally wrapped around the block. It was a wrap, that shoe wasn’t gonna happen. But it let me know one thing: that the New Balance hype train had left the station.
Now don’t get me wrong, there have been some fire New Balance collaborations over the years, and let’s not forget the resurgence of the dad shoe and the creation of the 327. But we aren’t talking about that right now. Right now I want to talk about some of the kicks that slapped us in the face last year, and for the sake of time I’m going to focus on three.
Aime Leon Dore
Starting in 2014, Teddy Santis wanted to create a clothing brand that combined simple yet powerful design and from there Aime Leon Dore was born. In 1999, Teddy collaborated with NB to create a 997, which was fire. But in 2020 ALD created both the 827 and the 550. One of the many reasons I fell in love with both of these shoes is the fact that Santis chose two silhouettes that hadn’t been used in years, and more specifically, the 550 which first debuted in 1989. Now when the 827 dropped I caught a FAT L meaning that I didn’t get a delivery from UPS, so when the release for the 550 was coming up I knew it was a must-cop. Fortunately, The Sneaker Gods smiled upon me and I was able to get my hands on a pair! By fusing his love for New York City, urban nostalgia and simple yet classic design, Aime Leon Dore and New Balance took a piece of my heart.
Paris fashion powerhouse Casablanca does an outstanding job of putting together elegance with modern sportswear, so it was only right they did a collab with New Balance. Interestingly enough they chose the 327 silhouette, a newer shoe but one that takes inspo from the 70’s. The “Idealiste” was a fresh shoe and what made it even more intriguing is that it came in two different colors, one more muted and the other bright and fun. Although I caught another L, I got a small taste of happiness in seeing some of my favorite Sneakerhead chicks rocking them with good fits.
Miami-based streetwear brand Stray Rats made a name for themselves by designing record covers, flyers and rocker tees. Starting back in 2010, originator Julian Consuegra merged his love for music and skateboarding into fashion. Now if there’s one thing about New Balance, it’s that they choose to collaborate with brands that have a strong message, and that was definitely the case for Stray Rats. In Spring 2020 they collaborated on a sneaker design using the 827 as its canvas. The “Sewer Stomper” came in a brown and slime green colorway, giving them a real sewer-type feel. Seeing these kicks pop up all over my IG feed after taking my L really hit a nerve.
Even though we had a lot of low moments in 2020, I gotta say in the sneaker world, we had a lot of high moments. We had some really great sneaker drops and a lot of those drops came from New Balance. By aligning themselves with brands that have their hands on the pulse of fashion, New Balance started the decade off right and in my opinion will continue for decades to come.
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