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PUMA Revives Its Ambitious 1998 Runner

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, PUMA is set to release its cult-favorite runner from 1998, the CELL Endura, later this fall season.

Back in the ’90s, sneakers that showcased the inner-workings of its cushioning technologies were sweeping the international footwear market. It was a blend of bold styling and functional performance that appealed to both athletes and style-driven consumers, sparking what we now refer to as the “lifestyle” sector of the industry. Many brands attempted to tap into this tech, among them was PUMA’s CELL line. With stable cushioning in mind, CELL was built from a blow-molded polyurethane elastomer (TPU) that was configured in a pattern of hexagonal cells. Combinations of these cells allowed PUMA to engineer cushioning that met a variety of running needs.

In 1998, PUMA unveiled the CELL Endura, the “pinnacle” model in the brand’s visible tech runner range. Now, 20 years later, the model has come full circle as ’90s sneakers with athletic yet chunky silhouettes are returning to the forefront of fashion. This modernized Endura stays true to its OG glory, updated only through new materials, new production techniques and a slightly-sleeker shape. Additional details include rubber toe-caps, breathable mesh uppers with suede overlays, PU-coated leather overlays, EVA midsoles, and rubber outsoles.

Source: Hypebeast

Nike Adds All Over Logos To The Air Max 90

While Nike’s Air Max 90 silhouette has thus far been left out of the brand’s upcoming “Just Do It” pack, the Swoosh still has plans to experiment with the implementation of all-over graphics. Much like the “JDI” collection, there will be a black and an orange pair available that come dressed in shimmering patent leather while replicating the sneaker’s Air Max logo all throughout its upper. Both the lettering and the parallelogram-like shape that houses the lettering can be seen all over the shoe, but they do not interact with each other in the manner in which they normally do on a customary pair of 90s. Another changed element on these tonal offerings is their tongues, as the usual Nike branded tag gets replaced with a simpler embroidered Swoosh design.

Peep an official set of images for both Air Max 90s with all-over logos below and expect them to arrive on Fuel at 1/9/2018.

Source: Sneakernews

Nike Air Max Deluxe OG “Sequoia”

Nike’s Air Max Deluxe is gearing up to be the next big 90’s heritage Air Max silhouette, following in the footsteps of other shoes like the Air Max 95 and Air Max 97. There’s seemingly an option to fit all tastes with a wide slate of colorways set to release over the next few months, and official images of a head-turning “Sequoia” pair have now surfaced. The shoe’s neoprene upper is dressed in a combination of olive and white, with bold accents arriving via streaks of bright crimson. A TPU shell and heel cage provide further retro style, and the thick reflective fibers woven into the upper add plenty of low-light flair. The look is completed with a white midsole, black Air Max cushioning unit, and black outsole.

The release date is set to be at 11/08/2018 and you can grab yours from Fuel.

Source: Sneakernews

The Next Wave Of Nike’s Just Do It Pack Is Coming In

Nike’s extensive “Just Do It” pack, inspired by the 30th anniversary of their classic slogan and consisting of both heritage and new silhouettes took the market by storm earlier this summer. Now, the Swoosh brand is preparing for round two, as a second wave of “Just Do It” kicks are set to release in August.

This second go-around is made up of classics like the Air Max 1 and Air Force 1 Lows. The orange, black, and white palate from the first batch of shoes returns, but the color schemes are utilized in different fashions with new prints and alternate takes on the classic slogan appearing. Enjoy !!!

Air Jordan 3 “Pure White”

Few things are more quintessentially summer than a clean pair of white sneakers. With the sun shining and the temperature rising through the summer months you’ve gotta stay cool with your footwear, and Jordan Brand has got you covered this season with the “Pure White” Air Jordan 3s.

A tonal take on the iconic Jordan silhouette, the “Pure White” offers a stately tumbled leather upper, complete with tonal branding and tonal elephant print detailing on the toe and heel. A white midsole adds to the stark look and an icy blue outsole offers a cool summertime contrast. For a final summer touch, the 3’s standard orange hang tag is replaced by a completely clear variant.

Need to get a pair of this extra-fresh 3s for your summer rotation?

Source: Sneakernews

Nike’s Original Air Max 95 Gradient Returns With Solar Red

Solar Red is set to return to the anatomy-inspired Air Max 95 silhouette once again by way of an iteration that utilizes the icon’s OG gradient pattern. Its midfoot racing stripes start with a dark Granite right above its blacked outsole unit and make their way up to a light Dust color as it approaches the sneaker’s mesh throat. Solar Red can be seen inside the sneaker’s see-through Air unit as well as its mini Swoosh branding, instep, and its unique lace stays. Much like the celestial “Chili Red” OG color scheme, this look will become an instant must-have, as the bright presence of red mixed with simplistic darker tones creates contrast that works perfectly with this esteemed silhouette. Enjoy a detailed set of images below and look forward to its arrival at Fuel on July 21th.

Source: Sneakernews

Photo by 43einhalb

Reebok Relaunches This ’90s Runner for the First Time

Return of the Aztrek in OG form.

After 25 long years, Reebok is digging into its stash to bring back the Aztrek runner in its OG form.

Originally introduced as an all-terrain shoe in 1993, the Christian Tresser-designed sneaker’s distinctive traits include its asymmetrical toe design and a Diamond Stud rubber outsole. Light on tech but rather daring for its time in terms of design, the Aztrek also includes Hexalite cushioning underneath its synthetic suede and mesh uppers.

Landing at Fuel next week.

Release Date: 20/7/2018

Source: Sole Collector

Nike Designer Breaks Down the React Element 87

Since debuting, the Nike React Element 87 has gone on to sell-out basically everywhere. A standard bearer for Beaverton’s ground-breaking new React foam technology, the shoe has garnered a strong following off the back of its futuristic aesthetic and eclectic design quirks.

As Nike explains:

Many classic Nike shoes were born from a simple desire: to make running and walking more comfortable. The Nike React Element 87 is one such shoe that also owes its geometric design to data drawn from everyday athletes.

Work on the shoe began by pressure map testing individuals who walk heavily throughout the day. These maps show the points where feet experience the most fatigue from commuting, running errands, and otherwise. Designers then drilled holes into these spots on running shoe soles and repeated the process with Nike React foam for added comfort.

The aforementioned pressure maps played a huge role in the eventual appearance of the shoe, providing the framework for the trademark wavy sole pattern. Nike’s Sportswear Innovation Designer, Darryl Matthews, applied the algorithmic pattern to the outsole. The result: a curvy deboss that communicates movement.

‘After receiving this data, I worked on a two-day sketch,’ says Matthews. ‘The whole process was really a back-to-basics exercise that taught us new ways to make a shoe look and feel great, while also harnessing the power of cutting-edge computation design.’

A hybrid makeup of sorts, the React Element 87 is inspired by original 1983 Nike Internationalist (the tongue, toe, and heel clip) and the translucent textile and asymmetrical tongue of last year’s Zoom Fly SP upper.

‘People are drawn to the shoe because it has layers,’ he says. ‘It’s not a flat shoe, and the way it looks depends on the socks you wear. It’s like when Nike exposed the Airbag, except now we’re able to expose the inside of the shoe, too.

BY: BOON MARK SOUPHANH
Source:SNEAKERFREAKER

Nike’s Grandstand II Pinnacle Gets a French Touch

Nike‘s Grandstand II Pinnacle model has refreshed anew for 2018 in a handful of clean colorways ranging from an “All-Over Logo” to “Strawberries and Cream” versions. The latest edition continues the white color theme with a subtle twist via mini tricolor pull tabs.

The tennis classic features a white leather upper with tonal white embroidered Nike branding at the side and heel, an off-white rubber cupsole and mini blue, white and red tabs, reminiscent of the French flag, at the tongue tab and lateral heel panel.

Source: Hypebeast

Nike Air VaporMax 97 Vintage Coral

Having seen its first iterations early this year, the Nike Air VaporMax 97 Vintage Coral keeps the momentum going. This time, Nike brings back the classic Gold look, but with a twist!

 

Of course, most of us are familiar with that OG Gold version. That glistening upper and clean finish are hard to forget. And yet, the gaudy hue on this sneaker can be a bit much for some sneakerheads. In that light, this Vintage Coral release is a welcome sight.

 

Rather than the boisterous shine we normally see, this colorway dials it back a bit via a more matte finish. The result is a muted take on the iconic Gold scheme. Interestingly, this approach makes it so that the shoe’s base color doesn’t quite make you react in the same way.

 

Of course, you might find yourself more captivated by the progressive design of the VaporMax bottoms. This cushioning set up has become a bit of marketing gold for the brand thanks to its competent functionality and memorable aesthetic.

 

It’s also an appropriate piece of footwear tech to throw on to the Air Max 97. After all, this is the first of the Air Max models to sport a full-length Air bubble. As such, completely unleashing the cushioning here via the VaporMax comes across as a bit poetic.

 

The relatively toned down execution on this release is also handy if you want to throw on some Gold kicks without drawing too many eyes your way. Nonetheless, this unique piece of design will make sure your footwear doesn’t go unnoticed.

 

That midsole is more than a pretty sight as well. Though seemingly unsupported, the exposed bubbles are the latest and greatest in impact protection from the Air Max line. If you’re into it, this could be a solid performance choice for you as well!

 

Available now, don’t miss out on this Women’s exclusive!

 

Nike Air Max 98 SE “Anthracite”

The Swoosh is dedicating some serious time to the 98 this year. The Nike Air Max 98 SE “Anthracite” is a good bit of proof supporting this.

 

Sure, much of Nike’s releases this year will likely be more remembered for their efforts to throw a VaporMax midsole under just about everything. But, it’s a good bet that their decision to bring out more Air Max 98 heat won’t soon be forgotten either.

 

Earlier this year, we mostly saw colorways that focused on the shoe’s potential for bright colors – with, of course, the notable few exceptions.  But, this time around, a classic shoe gets dipped in an equally classic colorway.

 

The nice thing about the Anthracite color scheme is that you can wear it like an All Black sneaker without sacrificing all notions of variety. The Air Max 98 is a unique shoe in that it has too many pieces to its design to ever come across has singular in design. Basically, there’s a lot to love and it’s hard to ignore.

 

For instance, take a look at the upper. The base here is a pretty standard mesh construction. But, it also comes with some suede overlays. Pretty basic right? Well, it’s not quite done until we also include that familiar reflective stripe detail.

 

Thanks to this combo, a mix of Black, White, and Grey still manages to stand out in three different ways. We even get croc-leather detailing via the shoe’s mudguard and eye stays. It’s about as clean an aesthetic as we’ve seen on the AM 98.

 

This Anthracite colorway, like most dark tonal iterations, is ridiculously easy to match your outfits with. You really can’t go wrong. Heck, throw some shorts on with these, it’ll still be weekend-ready.

 

Available now, cop these before everyone else catches on!

Nike Air Max 180 Black/Pink Blast

We take a look at the latest rendition of a retro Nike runner, the Nike Air Max 180 Black/Pink Blast-Wolf Grey.

 

2018 was a good time to hit full steam on the Air Max 180 colorways. This year has been highlighted by a very tangible focus on the chunkier, “dad shoe” aesthetic. As such, the return of the AM 180 is being met thus far with largely positive reviews. Of course, like some other retro runners, it didn’t quite debut to that sort of reaction.

 

As the third Air Max runner to come out of Nike’s design efforts, this was a bit of a yawn-fest. What’s interesting is that not even an Olympics push, centering around the endorsement of one Michael Jeffrey Jordan, was enough to get this shoe selling. It was, if you can believe it, too much of a “dad shoe” for the time it dropped.

 

Nonetheless, what Nike put out was a first in its class. For those of you who are big on VaporMax and love the concept of exposed and unrestrained Air, the AM 180 is the OG. This was the first shoe to feature an Air bubble that made direct contact with the ground.

 

Here, we see the shoe return in a colorway that brings together muted tones as well as a splash of color. The upper sees a Black base throughout the leather and neoprene construction.

 

That splash of color is courtesy of Pink Blast notes via the later Swoosh branding and tongue logo. We also see that same hue on the Air cushioning, bordered by a section of Wolf Grey.

 

Available now, don’t let these slip under your radar!

Jordan Zoom Tenacity 88

The Jordan Zoom Tenacity 88 Black/Varsity Red-Cement Grey-White is yet another piece of Nike’s celebration of the Air Jordan 3.

 

The year has seen a good selection of Air Jordan 3 drops already – with plenty more to come. But, if you’re looking for something a bit sportier to use on your day-to-day, the Tenacity 88 is going to be your best bet.

 

Like most Jordan heads, you wouldn’t be faulted for wanting in on the AJ 3 festivities. Some of the most iconic looks for any sneaker have debuted originally on Jordan’s third signature basketball model.

 

With that being said, it may not be the most ideal sneaker for an intense hour at the gym or a good run at our local park. Well, the Tenacity 88 helps in this department.

 

The upper on this model is in a mix of textile and synthetics, making for a supportive and stretchy upper – minus the price tag that comes with Flyknit. The cushion is also a nice touch of minimalism. A midsole filled with foam comes equipped with the impact protection of a responsive Zoom Air unit. It’s all the cushion you’ll need on those workouts without having to think about being held down by the weight.

 

The traction pattern is quite unique in this model as well. A mixture of rubber pods and circular sections makes for some interestingly sticky traction underfoot. Fortunately, it all comes in a fairly durable rubber build as well.

 

Besides the pragmatism, the main draw here will be the visuals. The colorway is a direct shoutout to the Black Cement Air Jordan 3, released earlier this year. Even for casual sneaker fans, this is easily one of the most recognizable color schemes out there.

 

Available now, don’t miss this opportunity to own a piece of the Air Jordan 3 legacy without sacrificing your funds or workout efficiency!

Nike Flyknit Trainer “Dark Green”

The Nike Flyknit Trainer “Dark Green” is the latest version of a retro model that recently came back to us.

 

From the early days of Flyknit technology, the Trainer model has gone through its fair share of pop culture moments and has returned in truly great form. Thanks to a minimalist construction and quality materials, it’s been an easy sell in many storefronts. Also, it certainly doesn’t hurt to keep churning out so many fire colorways.

 

This latest look at the Flyknit Trainer sees the model take on one of its darkest color schemes yet. Unlike the “Oreo” iteration, there isn’t quite as much contrasting White sections to liven things up.

 

With that being said, this shoe doesn’t come without its own palette of color. The Dark Green hue adorns the majority of the upper, giving off some Olive vibes. A combination of Orange and White find a way to share space on the shoe’s outsole, serving as competent contrasts.

 

The Green isn’t without thematic purpose here. It looks like this colorway is releasing as a sort of “Camo” style iteration. We even see spray Camo on the accompanying lateral Swooshes, bringing together the three main colors of this edition.

 

Of course, this aesthetic should be no surprise considering the timing. With this being Memorial Day weekend, it’s a fitting time to drop these bad boys in this fairly traditional color scheme.

 

With most major brands putting out their own Memorial Day editions of several classic kicks, this is just one of Nike’s many efforts. The Flyknit Trainer is particularly capable of adopting this sort of aesthetic thanks in part to the dynamic Flyknit upper.

 

Whether you’re looking to get a bit patriotic or not, you can’t go wrong with this clean look for the Flyknit Trainer.

A Brief History of the Air Jordan 1

“I can’t wear those, I’ll look like a clown.” Though not quite verbatim, this was Michael Jordan’s initial reaction to the first designs of the Air Jordan 1. The shoe has gone through quite a few ups and downs since its original debut, but it stands as one of the more sought-after releases from Jordan Brand today. As such, we wanted to give you some context on one of the most iconic sneakers of all time. Here’s a brief history of the Air Jordan 1, the one that would start it all.

Now, we all know that the Air Jordan 1 is an item of cultural fascination. You could even go as far as suggesting that it is one of the ten or so most significant items of sneaker history to date. With that being said, the quote we opened with is not exactly an exaggeration.

Jordan really wasn’t feeling Nike’s idea of a signature basketball sneaker. In fact, he saw it as an overly bulky model that didn’t meet his needs.

Throughout his career in college basketball, he’d opted for the Converse Chuck Taylor. He became enamored with the low-to-the-ground rubber sole and valued court feel over anything else. What Nike presented to him was like wearing two Chucks on each foot.

MJ loved the Chuck Taylor so much that he was begging to sign an endorsement deal with Converse instead. Nike wasn’t having it. They saw Michael as something wholly unique in his otherworldly talent and potential appeal to consumers, so they pushed hard to sign him.

Eventually, the design that agitated Jordan began to earn his favor. After tinkering for quite some time with specifications such as the midsole and upper paneling, the Air Jordan 1 was officially released towards the end of the 1984-1985 NBA season.

Now, this is where the sneaker’s background gets a bit interesting. After MJ approved of the final mock-up, Nike had to get working on the product they would eventually send out to retailers. That, of course, would take some time.

Simultaneously, Jordan needed a shoe to play in for the coming season. Nike decides to have him play in the now famous Air Ship, styled in the same colorway as the “Banned” Air Jordan 1 that debuts soon after.

For marketing purposes, it was a pretty clever move. Nike had planned to push the Bred colorway as one of the first initial drops. As such, continuity was a must.

After dropping that iconic “Banned” Black and Red iteration, Nike would go on to release the Air Jordan 1 in a multitude of classic looks. Yet, the Bred look would persist in memory due to its backstory.

Legend has it that the NBA fined Jordan $3000 for every game he played in them as the colorway conflicted with the league’s uniform rules. The fact that those fines were never confirmed couldn’t matter less. The story was powerful and helped the shoe sell remarkably well.

It’s also the first sneaker that Jordan Brand would bring back from the past, sparking a habit of retro releases.

In more ways than one, the Air Jordan 1 truly started it all.

Nike Air Foamposite One Rust Pink

The Nike Air Foamposite One Rust Pink is as ready for the Spring months as a shoe can possibly be. The always unique retro basketball sneaker hits us hard with the warmer weather vibes in this Rust Pink colorway, taking full advantage of that iconic Posite upper.

 

It’s always interesting to see such an aggressively designed shoe make this sort of impact from an aesthetic standpoint. One thing’s for sure, some of us who’ve gone through an extended winter will be grateful for some warmer colorways to debut on classic Swoosh models.

 

The Foamposite One is a revolutionary piece of performance footwear design. By now, most of us have heard at least one incredible aspect of this shoe. One of the more eye-opening facts about the Air Foamposite One is always going to be how ridiculously expensive it was to put that funky upper together – reportedly costing as much as six figures for one piece to be put together!

 

Here, that scientific wonder takes on the Rust Pink scheme gracefully. The gleaming shade of Pink gives the shoe’s upper a festive glow, serving as an appropriate contrast to its tonal Black base. The Pink mini Swoosh is a nice touch as well.

 

The pull-tab comes with Pink striping details. Along with the translucent outsole, we get that familiar carbon fiber midfoot shank to wrap things up on this look.

 

It’s not quite the performance-heavy hitter it used to be back in the day. With that being said, the Foamposite One has gone on to become one of the more coveted pieces of Nike’s extensive catalog. Considering the unchanging nature of this shoe’s basic design structure, you can expect to see it continue to withstand the test of time.

 

Out now, you won’t want to miss out on these!

Taking a Look Back at New Balance History

New Balance history is way more than just a timeline of one of the greatest sportswear brands in the world. It is really a story worth reading. All of it because of all the unusual happenings that led NB to become as big as it is today.

The modern image of the New Balance product line is one of quiet quality and fairly loud price tags. Sure, in the era of resold Yeezy’s and Air Jordans, that isn’t saying a ton.

But, New Balance history shows us that it has, somehow, legitimized their pricing without half the hype and heat that some other brands enjoy. One has to wonder how that is even possible.

Well, the history of New Balance, Inc. is one of business savvy and stubbornness. As it turns out, betting on your roots – and betting big – isn’t always a bad idea. Consider this a digestible New Balance wiki of sorts.

Now, the models in the NB catalog are quite numerous (to say the very least) but three major releases symbolize what the brand goes through in its history as well what we can expect in the future.

We start from the very beginning and work our way into understanding how a man in Boston takes inspiration from farm animals and starts a company that becomes a cultural fixation. This is the story of New Balance and of (almost) all New Balance sneakers.

The Trackster: Origins

The history of sneaker brands is always a fascinating topic. In some ways, it’s a lot like observing the background of any other business. But, in even more ways, it’s fairly unique.

Sneakers represent an ideal of the design process: taking a vision from conception to realization. In fact, many designers and product managers marvel at the sense of satisfaction that comes with it.

Creatives from all over the world are given some new energy by simply holding in their hands something that was once a drawing. The eclectic minds behind footwear design make for some really interesting background stories. Behind the making of New Balance history is the unique mind of one William J. Riley.

To get an understanding of the odd origins of this brand, it’s important to take note of American footwear design. Specifically, it helps to understand what the most prevalent design philosophy is at this time.

From the skateboard culture of California to the manual labor glory of Detroit, there are some old similarities.

New Balance: All American

Most sneaker companies focused on being able to last through the wear and tear of their customer base. After all, hoarding a massive sneaker collection isn’t quite popular at this time. When one buys a shoe, they expect it to last them a year at minimum.

This approach is not different when it comes to runners. Boasting high tech features and brand new materials, running shoes are among the earlier proponents of eye-popping prices. So, one pair was to last you for a while.

As such, brands focus their original designs on aesthetics and tech that was a bit gimmicky. Air, compression units, robust midsoles, fancy materials, it’s all part of the package. Fortunately, the New Balance tagline would direct its focus elsewhere.

In fact, Riley’s original inspiration couldn’t be more down-home American. The process starts with a man who wants to design shoes with better balance and fit than the current market provides.

Ronnie Fieg x New Balance 998 “City Never Sleeps”

Looking at the backyard of his Boston home, littered with chickens, he notices something. The feet of chickens are, seemingly, perfectly balanced. Riley notices that the key to this is the three-point anatomy of a chicken’s foot that makes for the ideal balance.

In an industry that focused on footwear design as of vertical means – top to bottom – this is truly unique. Riley’s inspiration leads him to start with what is underfoot and work his way up.

The earliest result of this is the Trackster model. This shoe was the first to feature the ripple sole design that is more popular today. In fact, a ripple sole is one of the looks that helps us recognize retro runners.

Additionally, the Trackster comes with a focus on another Riley fascination: customizable fit. The company’s first piece of footwear also allows customers to order different widths, another first in the running sneaker market.

And thus, the New Balance Arch Support Company is effectively born. Due to this being the footwear business, there are plenty of complications. But, Riley’s brand would overcome plenty of them, innovating the industry’s design approaches along the way.

THE 990 SERIES – Rethinking and Challenging

The New Balance history timeline essentially breaks down into attempts at innovation. It feels like every effort from the brand is about doing something that becomes a standard-bearer. Furthermore, it’s worth considering that New Balance is never afraid of making a sometimes uncomfortable splash.

This brings to mind the 99X series, highlighted perhaps most notably by favorites such as the 997 and 998. Before the hype, the special releases, the glorious colorways, the 99X series starts as an experiment in business risk.

As the 1970s flies past and into the early 80s, New Balance is in an odd state. Models such as the Trackster and others cement themselves in the industry’s list of competent models.

In that particular climate, when one of the golden ages of runners was about to take hold, it was ambitious to the point of naivety. Jim Davis, the Chairman, was addressing his team of designers when he asked for “the most innovative running shoe in the industry.”

Now, in general, that isn’t an unusual request to make of a sneaker design team. But, the context and timing of it make this an especially daunting challenge.

While bigger names, such as adidas and Nike start to pick up on the tricks of modern runners design (and amplify them) New Balance had to step it up even further. Effectively, the designers need to, once again, make New Balance history.

The ultimate question would be: where do we go from here?

Enter one of the loudest releases in the history of running sneaker, the 990. Releasing in 1982, the 990 meets a mix of responses. On one hand, the combination of materials and technology was innovative and notable. On the other, it also is notable for another reason.

The New Balance 990 makes its 1982 debut as the first athletic sneaker to hit the $100 mark. As a result, more than a few voices express some concern.

To be sure, there was concern about being able to actually market a sneaker at that price point. How in the world could you sell to the masses a trainer that wasn’t far away from the price of a TV set?!

Because of this conundrum, early sales projections are at 5,000 units. The 990, to say the least, would do much better than this. New Balance decides to market their latest release as a high-end choice for the most discerning sneakerhead.

The extravagant price point actually added to the appeal of the shoe to some degree. Sure, the product team at NB went with that $100 figure partly because of technical reasons – features of the sneaker, for example – but it eventually goes beyond that.

The 990 quickly became a status symbol. As a result, that initial sales projection was crushed, with 50,000 orders for the 990 being placed in the first six months alone.

The models to follow make up the 99X series we know today. Collectively, they make up a huge part of the brand’s history with experimentation. From ENCAP cushioning to mixing up base materials and silhouettes, New Balance had their flagship for an innovative trial-and-error.

574: A splash of color

Fast forward to the 1980s and things in New Balance history are officially interesting. A handful of major brands have cemented their place atop the runners game. If Nike and adidas weren’t bad enough, ASICS was looking at its own age of innovation.

In short, brands in the late 80s are focusing on just how far this wave of tech can take them, with profitability always a key issue. As a result, several companies, now dealing with the matter of scale, decide to do some outsourcing.

The end of the 80s is a time when seemingly every major footwear provider is moving operations away from the U.S. and over to lands where labor was cheaper. Across the board, profits began to sore. Noticing this, the New Balance board instructed the aforementioned Davis to follow suit.

Davis’s response? Absolutely not. The company starts itself as an American enterprise with “Made in USA” quality stamps. That isn’t about to change, not under Davis.

Though New Balance has deep roots in the U.K. as well, the outsourcing of production away from the United States was just too unpalatable. The Chairman’s decision was to pour even more money back into New Balance’s main production facilities.

Doubling down on his dedication to those facilities – one in Maine and one in Massachusets – Davis’s risk-taking eventually sees a reward. New Balance can look back at the end of the 80s with smiles as it was a chapter of growing profits.

A huge part of that is the introduction of a new, more reasonable runner: the 574.

In 1988, a critical decision is made in New Balance history to close the decade. Having established a reputation for innovation and serious price tags, it was time for something different.

But, no straying away from the philosophy of comfort and performance. The 574 was a competent combination of both ideals.

At this point, New Balance’s stock of technology includes ENCAP cushioning as an option. It presents an impressive shock absorption quality and was durable over longer runs.

Keeping the soft, flexible uppers as well, there is one more important quality. The brand opts to focus a bit more on the visuals.

Previous models weren’t exactly hideous, but there was very little aesthetic imagination to speak of. The colors were solid, but nothing worthy of a “wow!” Enter the 574, which comes with an array of color choices.

This sneaker signals the shift in New Balance’s approach to the footwear industry. The thought process makes complete sense as well. The brand had already nailed the technical aspect.

It would be foolish not to attempt to compete in aesthetics as well. The 574 brought on the emphasis on colors that would show itself in models before and after it.

The Future

New Balance history is one that does not seem to stop in the face of new challenges. Major brands continue to evolve, in many ways. From Nike and adidas to Puma and Reebok, everyone is stepping up their game by sponsoring celebrities or athletes.

The advent of materials such as knits and engineered mesh are pushing the boundaries of innovative design. Cushioning too, an area of strength of NB in the past is rapidly improving and changing.  The footwear industry is no longer victim to the high-brow tech and designs of New Balance.

So, is this it? After a remarkable run in the sneaker game – where so many try and fail – is the rising tide of hype and heat signaling the end? Not quite.

New Balance continues to do great numbers all over the world. With locally produced pieces of footwear in both the United Kingdom and the USA, the brand still represents a sense of loyalty to its roots.

If that isn’t enough, premium materials and a tech philosophy that obsesses over comfort still reign in NB company culture.

Source: CultEdge

 

Air Jordan 12 “Vachetta Tan”

When Jordan Brand focuses in on something, in particular, they go all in. One of the biggest pieces of evidence to support this has been the brand’s recent run of five colorways. Specifically, we’ve seen some serious heat dropping in the form of Women’s exclusives.

 

At the beginning of the year, the Jumpman announced a special pack of colorways dropping soon. The full collection boasted another chunk of hype-heavy releases. One of those was the Air Jordan 12 dressed in a luxurious “Vachetta Tan” scheme. Similar to the Heiress collection, Jordan Brand goes in the premium direction with these gems.

 

The Air Jordan 12’s form takes on certain high-quality materials quite well. A particular advantage is its unique build, offering up a chance at some interesting combinations. Here, the upper takes on a nubuck build throughout its base. The Vachetta color scheme is complemented by an equally luxurious selection of details in Gold, including the lace eyelets and aglets.

 

The combination gives off a gallery-ready aesthetic, setting off the shoe’s base material while gleaming in the smaller details. We’ve seen a growing number of Air Jordan 12 colorways decked out in more plush materials recently.

 

Frankly, that trend seems to be taking the shoe in the right direction. The AJ 12’s unique build makes it more than just a good chance to experiment with material combos. It also makes for some added texture to bases such as nubuck.

 

Thanks to the shoe’s varying visual cues and panels, we get some extra visual pop even when the whole upper is in one main leather build. Dipping all of that in smooth colorways like this just adds to all of the goodness.

 

Jordan Brand keeps hitting us hard with exclusives for the ladies. Check these out when they drop on March 23rd.

Nike Air Max 270

As a descriptor, the word ‘iconic’ seems to fall flat when describing Nike’s work in the running shoe game. The brand’s longstanding efforts in this category have produced one memorable release after another, each often carrying its hype for years. The Air Max line is the very top of those design efforts, representing the first bloom of the Swoosh running category.

Nike’s debut of this line made clear its focus on performance and commitment to helping runners hit the pavement harder for longer. But, what happens when that same focus is awarded to a lifestyle shoe? For one thing, you get models such as the Air Max 270.

At first glance, there may not be anything outwardly remarkable to you about the Air Max 270. Its build represents that of many an example where performance meets style. For the most part, that impression isn’t far off. With that being said, there’s an important distinction to be made here.

This is the first time Nike has put such an intense focus on the casual and everyday wear qualities of their design. The 270 represents a move away from their strict focus on performance, devoting as many creative resources to a lifestyle model.

In light of that, let’s take a look at some of the details that make this shoe special. The first thing we need to get out of the way is the heel portion. The Airbag here feels like the actual shoe, with the rest of the upper coming across as more of an add-on. This is thanks to the cushion here being the biggest heel bag from the brand to this point.

The upper features a bit of Nike’s signature nostalgic design. Combining influences of the Air Max 93 and 180 models, the mesh here is stripped down to a more fashionable state. A notable lack of lateral panels exposes the mesh more than we’re used to.

It’s a clever move by Nike to combine some eye-opening tech features with more subtle notes meant for sneaker freaks. The Air Max 270 represents a refreshing take on the standard lifestyle sneaker. In a market that is dominated by the casual sneaker consumer, this is a huge step in the right direction.

It’s safe to assume that the Air Max 270 will be spending quite a bit of time in some familiar colorways. The aforementioned AM 93 and 180 models had some interesting colors in their past, and they wouldn’t look half-bad on this beast.

Nike PG 2 Palmdale

The Nike PG series, as a young as it still is, represents the resurgence of one of the NBA’s brightest stars, Paul George. After a terrible injury forced the NBA All-Star to sit out an entire year’s worth of basketball, the PG signature came to us just as the forward returned to action, to the delight of hoops fans everywhere. The PG 1 was a huge success, for a number of reasons. Those same hints of a home run are evident here in the second piece of George’s Nike signature. We take a look at the Nike PG 2 ‘Palmdale.’

 

The colorway and its nickname are an homage to the superstar’s hometown, Palmdale, California. A Clay Green base is accompanied by accents such as Orange on the inner lining and midsole speckle details. A translucent outsole wraps this lookup nicely for a functional basketball shoe. Speaking of which, the tech here is pretty minimalist. The upper’s construction consists of a mix of mesh and synthetic leather. The sneaker comes with an inner sleeve, working with the forefoot strap to smoothly lock your foot in place. As usual with the PG line, cushioning is more about court feel, offering up a light Nike Zoom Air Bag in the forefoot

 

Paul George’s signature sneakers are doing a great job following the blueprint set by the Kyrie line. Basically, don’t go crazy on the tech and make the shoe infinitely customizable. The color combinations alone have made the PG 1 a memorable sneaker. They should help the second installment sell just as well. With that being said, the functional elements here are nothing to sneeze at either, boasting a balanced performance profile.

 

Get shifty on the court and look good doing it, that’s the Nike PG 2 promise.