step aside nike, new balance is on the block


photo by katelyn nguyen

For decades, athletic brand Nike has dominated the shoe industry. From the Roshes, Airmaxes and the beloved Air Forces, many people have owned and loved at least one pair of Nikes. While the brand will not dissipate anytime soon, “dad shoe” brand New Balance has emerged as the  go-to sneaker label within the last couple of years. With its sporty style and signature “N” logo, the brand has a profound fashion footing.  


The company has been around forever, far longer than footwear industry giant Nike. Originally founded in 1906 by William J. Riley, the main objective of this Boston-based brand was to create footwear focused on quality and comfort. While New Balance is known for innovation in the performance world, its unique silhouettes have been all the rage in sneakerhead communities. Styles including the 574, the 990 v5 and fan-favorite 550s have been seen on many idolized celebrities from Timothée Chalamet to Rihanna to Kendall Jenner. 


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Their collaborative projects have also highly contributed to their success. These high-profile collaborations include Stone Island, Kith, Miu Miu and Aimé Leon Dore. With a retro-inspired design, the New Balance x Aimé Leon Dore 550 sneakers are one of the most-coveted sneakers this year and have a value of up to $600. Each release was highly successful, contributing to an increase in their consumer base. 


The brand also added basketball sneakers to its portfolio. With the signing of NBA superstars in 2019, New Balance has grown its presence in the NBA. According to Footwear News, a lucrative sneaker deal was signed by Zach LaVine, Jamal Murray and their biggest signing,  two-time NBA champion Kawhi Leonard. 


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While celebrity projects have a lot to do with their surge in popularity, New Balance also has a reputation for affordable sneakers. Achieving a trendy look isn’t so out of reach with its price points. Many of the brand’s signature styles retail for around $100, which can be difficult to gauge in this market. Fresh foam technology is used in the majority of the brand’s sneakers, which cushions the foot in order to provide extra comfort for the wearer. New Balance’s fusion of functionality and affordability leaves everyone wanting more. 


“To see the vintage basketball style 550 overtaking Nike’s Air Force 1 as the cool-kid’s everyday sneaker of choice, has been a really refreshing change in attitude,” says streetwear expert Ross Wilson to The Sole Supplier.


There’s no doubt that New Balance’s rise to the sneaker scene is commendable. In terms of quality sneakers, the brand never loses sight of its commitment to craftsmanship. New Balance has made a name for itself through innovation without losing its identity. With that being said, New Balance has become the “it” brand in the streetwear scene and is projected to only grow more. 

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Hi! I’m Catie Pusateri, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.