Welcome to The Corner, a blog series about things we love, written by people we love. The first episode: New Balance by Ginatonic. Gina is a sneakerhead from Stuttgart and the mastermind behind sneakersandlipstick. Check out her page, follow her on Instagram (@ginat0nic) and read her story about New Balance below!
Founded in 1906, New Balance is one of the oldest manufacturers of sporting goods worldwide and back then, everything started with just one product: Insoles for the hard working blue collar population. Towards the end of the 1930s, they began to produce their first running shoe with an edition of 30 pieces a day. Those have been increased by now quite a bit, of course. With the jogging hype during the 1970s came success, thugh their classic models have now been literally outpaced by their modern running technologies, Fresh Foam being one of them. Today, New Balance is loved in the sneaker scene for their classic, casual cuts and color ways, that perfectly fit daily life.
Made in USA & Made in England
Best known are the New Balance "Made in USA" and "Made in England" releases, manufactured in Boston and Flimby, respectively. Their supreme fabrics and worksmanship have found a huge following amongst sneaker collectors over the years. Through countless collaborations with sneaker stores around the world, New Balance managed to foster their position in the scene, even beneath mammoth sportswear companies like Adidas and Nike.
A thing you might have noticed about New Balance: The naming of their models. They all carry three or four digit numbers that can get a bit confusing at times. Fans know every single one of them right off the top off their dome, but for all of you that aren't into New Balance as much as some of us are, this blog is gonna help you sort through the numbers game, especially since a lot of late 1980s models look very much alike.
New Balance 574
One of those models is the 574, celebrating its 30th birthday this year. For some NB fans, the 574 was the gateway to the world of sneakers. With the 574, you will get an all around talent for a decent price, available in endless different colorways and fabrics. It is pretty much impossible to not find a 574 that will suit your taste. If that should occur, regardless, you can always get your own custom made 574 through New Balance's NB1 customizing portal. With its simplistic design and great comfort, the 574 is the perfect daily routine sneaker.
New Balance 576 & 577
Close relatives are the 576 and 577 models. With an uptick in quality and design, they are a bit more progressive than the 574 and have subsequently been featured as "Made in England" releases quite often. They are usually made of leather and their shapes are a tad more elegant and a little bit more sleek. With Stone Island and Size? collaborations on their cards, the 577 is just as big in the sneaker scene as the 576, with its multiple Hanon and Footpatrol collaborations.
New Balance 997 & 998
One of the most acclaimed retros by New Balance are the 99-series, especially the 997 and 998. The former is only being manufactured in the USA and serves up one of the freshest retro footwear designs out there. The optics of the 997 are close to those of the 996, but it boasts are more stable midsole and is reinforced with synthetic pieces.
The 998 model is known for its more unobstrusive "N" logos, high end velour leather and mesh, as well as the trademark ABZORB-midsole. Known for their slew of collaborations, New Balance has hooked up the 997 with a few of its best ones, namely with Bostons finest sneakerstore, Concepts. The 997 "Luxury Goods" in a banging orange, or the mint and rose coloured "New York" and "Rose" colorways are well known commodities amongst sneakerheads across the globe.
New Balance 1500
Last but not least, a younger, yet insanely famous, retro model by New Balance - the 1500. Manufactured in Flimby near the Scottish border, the 1500 features a more narrow cut than the 576, for example. The 1500, though, stands out, as at his inception, it was the first running sneaker by New Balance that retailed for more than 100 British Pounds. Nowadays, that would be a pretty normal price tag on a sneaker, in 1993 however, this was a big deal. The current price stands at around 170 Euros and they are well worth it.
Today, the US Brand is mainly cherished for their quality and devotion to craftsmanship. Buying a New Balance sneaker, you just know that you will get your moneys worth and that is worth a lot nowadays. New Balance are always on the lookout for exciting new collaborations, color ways and iterations of existing models. Even the all new models, like the 247, breathe New Balance design history form every direction. The times of New Balance being a competition centered brand have somewhat faded, though their shoes will forever a firm place on the shelves and feet of sneaker collectors, parents and everybody else looking for an attractive mix of design, comfort and quality.