New Balance has one of the industry’s strongest stables of classic silhouettes. Models such as the Steven Smith-designed 1500, the classic 574, or every sneaker in the 900 series (including the iconic 990, now in its fifth iteration) have withstood the test of time and are now bonafide must-haves. The brand has somehow gained resonance from normcore icon Steve Jobs as well as hustlers in Baltimore.
With so many timeless designs to choose from, we’ve taken a look at how Instagram’s most stylish New Balance fans are wearing three of the brand’s classic silhouettes.
New Balance 990
Now in its fifth iteration, the 990 is usually the first sneaker people think of when they hear the name New Balance. When the first iteration hit shelves in 1982, it was the first performance running shoe to be priced at $100 and was seen as both a status symbol and a high-tech, revolutionary runner. Runners weren’t the only people wearing the 990, though, as the shoe was also adopted by hustlers on the streets of Baltimore, thanks to its price point. Through clever campaigns – “Worn by supermodels in London and dads in Ohio” – the 990 has withstood the test of time.
Due to the simplistic nature of the New Balance 990, it’s best not to overcomplicate things; there’s a reason why Steve Jobs wore the same Issey Miyake turtleneck, blue jeans, and New Balance 990s all the time. @blvckmvnivc incorporates his classic gray New Balance 990v5 into an outfit built on neutral tones with pops of darker colors, in the form of his bucket hat and jewelry.
New Balance 991
The New Balance 991 was introduced back in 2001, three years after the 990v2 was unveiled. It built on the existing 990 series by giving the shoe a more streamlined design. At the time, ABZORB foam was the cushioning of choice for New Balance, and for the first time in the 99X series’ lifetime, the 991 introduced visible foam at the forefoot, in addition to the heel. Ndurance rubber (developed to increased durability in high-wear areas) was used on the outsole for the first time.
Retailer Starcow Paris proves that gray isn’t the only color that looks good on New Balance sneakers, opting for a more earthy 991 and styling it with Real Tree camouflage pants and a GORE-TEX The North Face Mountain Light GTX 2 jacket. The outfit doesn’t go all-in on camo, either, but instead pairs the statement pants with color-blocking on the jacket and sneakers.
New Balance M1500
The legendary Steven Smith designed the 1500 in 1989. Since then, he has worked on sneakers ranging from the Reebok Instapump Fury to the adidas Originals YEEZY Boost 700. Considering Smith’s resume, one might think that the 1500 has taken a back seat, but the New Balance design has a huge loyal following and is considered by some to be his greatest work ever.
As it’s a retro running style, the New Balance 1500 is typically paired with slimmer-fitting jeans, but the above example via @pj_hoots eschews the predictable and opts for a multi-layered, baggy approach. The Uniqlo U x Engineered Garments coat, the hoodie, and the pants are all different shades of navy blue, which pairs nicely with the navy accents on the mostly white sneaker without seeming like the color match is forced.
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- Curated by: Noah Thomas