Today on the blog we’re going to be breaking down our current New Balance offering model by model and talking about the key features of the styles we carry. We’ll also be taking a look into the history of the brand revealing how they took on the reputation of being America’s favourite dad shoe! You’ve probably heard of New Balance but do you know how extensive and varied their offering is? Let’s take a look. 
New Balance has been going since 1906. We started working with them in SS20 and the models we carry are part of their ‘Tier 1’ range, which is the brand’s most exclusive distribution tier. Alongside high-demand releases such as the 2002R Protection Pack and Aime Leon Dore founder Teddy Santis’ Made in USA line, you can expect to find a whole host of classic styles in our offering.  


New Balance 550 trainers hanging from their laces. One in sea-salt white and angora green, the other in sea-salt white and blue.


New Balance was, and still is, a running footwear specialist but they have dabbled in shoes for all types of sports over the years. The original 550 debuted on North American basketball courts in 1989. Low-top hoop shoes were relatively uncommon in the late 80’s and its streamlined silhouette offered a clean take on the heavy-duty designs of the era. 

At the time of its release, the 550 faced fierce retail competition in the form of Nike, Reebok and Converse. Although quality-wise the 550 was more than able to hold its own, the technology of its rivals, such as Nike Air’s iconic cushioned sole, was much more visual. The 550 failed to capitalise on a lucrative athlete sponsorship and after its initial run, it was taken out of production.  Fast forward almost three decades. Teddy Santis, creative director of New York fashion and lifestyle brand Aime Leon Dore, was looking through a vintage Japanese catalogue when a low-top basketball sneaker caught his eye.  

Santis and the New Balance team spent hours trawling Instagram until finally, they managed to locate a Japanese collector with an original pair of 550’s from 1989. The collector agreed to loan them out and using these shoes as a blueprint, New Balance set about replicating them. 

18 months and 10 samples later, they had a prototype which was exact in spec. After 30 years in the New Balance archives, the 550 was back and in September 2020, Aimé Leon Dore and New Balance released their collaborative 550 as part of the ‘International Friendship Through Basketball’ collection.  The 550 was catapulted into the limelight and it quickly became a global fashion favourite. Other high profile collaborations followed, with people scrambling to get their hands on the limited releases. But the 550 is more than the hype. It returned to New Balance’s full-time lineup in 2021 and since then, the brand has amped up production. Even better, it hasn't dipped in wearability. The 550’s retro aesthetic looks great and a rubber outsole for traction and durability with cushioned insoles for comfort ensures it feels good on foot too. 



Three examples of the New Balance 574 style.


Perhaps New Balance’s most famous silhouette, the 574 was released in 1988. Built on a wider last than the previous generation’s narrow racing shoes and constructed using mesh and suede, the 574 was designed for, and predominantly worn by, runners.  However, with its competitive retail price and eye-catching ‘N’ logo, it wasn’t long before the 574 transcended into a lifestyle shoe. In the 1990’s, the 574 was broadly adopted by the fashion forward, including hip hop and streetwear scenes and was the sneaker of choice for rappers such as Raekwon and Mos Def. It was also a favourite of the hardcore scene, who found the 574’s functionality to be a good fit with crowd surfing and jumping off stages.   

Over in Tokyo, New Balance was rising in popularity and the 574 became a hit amongst the fashion savvy. This led to the production of dozens of colorways exclusive to specific shops in Japan and the US.  Into the 2000’s, 574’s in the latest limited collaboration or interesting mix of colour and materials were commonplace. But to this day, you can equally expect to find easy to wear, muted tone 574’s, designed to blend well into any environment.    In our offering at Liquor Store, we have the new edition ‘574 Legacy’, which updates the classic with an elevated aesthetic, including an ENCAP midsole for lightweight cushioning. The 574’s tagline "Worn By Anyone", has stayed true across its 30+ years, blurring the lines between sport and fashion, its popularity crossing subcultures and continents alike. To this day the 574 remains synonymous with boundary defying New Balance style.


Grey New Balance 1906R

New to Liquor Store for SS23, the New Balance 1906R was named after the year New Balance was founded. The additional ‘R’ stands for running: the 1906R pays homage to the aesthetics associated with tech-runners from the 2000’s and there’s definitely a noughties feel to the look of the shoe. 

Something New Balance does very well is reviving old vintage running models with great success and the 1906R was an immediate hit on re-release. Its comeback was followed by four high profile collaborations within 8 months, but hype aside there’s some great features to the 1906R including ‘N-Lock’ fastening for a secure fit.     



New Balance 2002R Protection Pack

Continuing the New Balance theme of resurrecting running silhouettes, the 2002R returned to shelves in 2021. 

 The original version was a $250, "Made in USA" lifestyle shoe from 2010. Billed as a luxury running sneaker, it borrowed its sole unit from the brand's premier runner at the time, the 1906. However, the 2002’s high RRP was lost on the average consumer who didn’t necessarily appreciate the extra level of quality that warranted its premium price and the model didn’t take off.

Skip to present day and the 2002 has gained it’s R suffix, upgraded tech and a sleeker silhouette at a lower price point than it’s predecessor.


Pop instore or click here to view our latest styles and silhouettes.



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