Why New Balance Are Killing 2019
Ask any sneakerhead in the know who has been crushing 2019, and one name should immediately come to mind: New Balance.
New Balance have been the winner of the year so far, dropping many of the best releases. Whether it’s the latest version of the 990, or collaborations with the likes of No Vacancy Inn and Stray Rats, there’s no mistaking it: NB have taken over 2019.
With that in mind, we’re taking a look back at just a few of our many favourites so far.
If the past few months are any indication, NBs will be dominating 2019’s end-of-year best-of lists come December. So, in the meantime, familiarise yourself with what the brand have had to offer with a look back at just a few of our many favourites so far.
New Balance OMN1S
Before he was leading the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title, and taking home the NBA Finals MVP in the process, Kawhi Leonard made waves in 2018 when he elected to forego re-signing with Jordan Brand to become the new face of New Balance’s efforts on the hardwood. It wasn’t until February of 2019, however, when NB finally unveiled Leonard’s new signature kicks, the OMN1S, at NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte. In the months since, NB have expertly managed the hype around the silhouette, with small drops that have been relatively few and far between, even going so far as to release a limited number of Clippers-coloured kicks immediately following the recent news of Kawhi’s free agency move to Los Angeles. The result: in just a few short months, the OMN1S have become the most coveted basketball shoe out there.
New Balance ‘Toronto’ Pack
Speaking of the newly minted Los Angeles Clippers star, Leonard was also the inspiration for what may be the most coveted NB release of the year so far, period: the Raptors-coloured 997 and 990v5. Released shortly after the Raptors took home their first NBA championship, the special pack perfectly applied Toronto’s signature hues onto the old- and new-school favourites as both came clad in black, grey, red and purple with the requisite reflective 3M touches. Naturally, these sold out in a flash, and Kawhi bolted for the City of Angels just a couple of weeks later, making these all the more special.
No Vacancy Inn x New Balance 990v3 ‘Water & WiFi’
The 990v5 may be the new kid in town, but that doesn’t mean that NB have turned their backs on the 990s of old; if anything, the opposite is true. In fact, the 990v3 has continued its triumphant run in 2019 thanks to a number of collaborative makeovers, one of which is the ‘Water & WiFi’ drop from No Vacancy Inn. A nod to modern life’s absolute essentials, the retro runner came decked out in shades of blue to go along with bright red laces, premium suede/leather/mesh construction, and a pale grey outsole. NVI masterminds Tremaine Emory and Acyde even added ‘Water’ and ‘WiFi’ embroidery to the heels of the left and right shoes, respectively.
Stray Rats x New Balance 990v3 ‘Alternate’
When it comes to American-made 990v3s, Stray Rats’ latest collaborative edition of the silhouette is the one that’s currently going head-to-head with the ‘Water & WiFi’ drop for this year’s 990 crown. Simply dubbed the ‘Alternate’, the shoe was a direct follow-up to 2018’s nearly identical collaboration. This time around, however, the Rats crew swapped out the OG’s predominately black look and speckled midsole in favour of a cleaner combination of grey and white. Thankfully, however, the green and purple suede overlays of the original remained intact, and popped even better on the newest design.
Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 997 Pack
NB ‘heads almost universally adore the 997, and this year’s duo from Aimé Leon Dore just might end up going down as a couple of the best 997s to ever see the light of day. Released in super-limited quantities back in April, the kicks paired light grey tones with various hits of purple, blue, pink, yellow and green to the pebbled leather tongue, matching collar, moulded heel counter, and sway bar. The result was a bit like a mullet (all business up front, party in the back), except a whole lot more stylish. Oh, and completing the package: beautiful floral-covered insoles.
AURALEE x New Balance Tokyo Design Studio RC2
If you’re looking for experimental vibes on your NBs, look no further than the brand’s Tokyo Design Studio. Late last year, the new Japanese division of the company debuted with the RC1, which put a contemporary spin on a 1300-like silhouette by employing a knit bootie, premium seam-free overlays, and ENCAP Reveal tooling. This year, they upped the ante with the chunkier Gore-Tex–assisted RC2 and joined forces with fellow countrymen AURALEE for the most unique NB colab of the year – one covered in shades of brown and finished with a milky semi-translucent moulded cage.
Todd Snyder x New Balance 997 ‘LOVE’
American designer Todd Snyder and New Balance have produced a bunch of amazing collaborations together, and this year’s ‘LOVE’ drop may be their best yet. Released in honour of Pride Month 2019, the colourful 997s celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, and put a unique spin on the usual rainbow-coloured Pride drops – opting instead for dusty pastels throughout. The iconic flag’s prototypical hues did, however, decorate the tongue’s embroidered branding while finishing touches came in the form of perforated white leather and 3M reflectivity. Snyder and NB even partnered with NYC’s premier LGBTQ band, the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps, for the reveal.
Header image via New Balance.