For many fans, Aimé Leon Dore's output boils down to one thing: those collaborative New Balance 550 sneakers. Finally, the ALD x NB 550s are back, restocking online via raffle for Spring/Summer 2022.

What is the secret to the 550's success? It's an extremely normal shoe that's (slightly) more IYKYK than the Air Force 1.

Even as the 550 becomes sneaker-dom's worst kept secret, a sort of cruise control to cool, the silhouette keeps selling out with the quickness. New Balance can't keep this sneaker in stock and doubly so when there's an ALD logo slapped onto the tongue.

In fairness, Aimé Leon Dore really kicked off the 550 hype a couple years ago. Not only did ALD single-handedly revive the silhouette but, with its extremely approachable approach to aspirational imagery, it made the shoe a must-have for even the most casual of streetwear consumers.

Demand for ALD's fairly normal New Balance 550 colorways remains at a fever pitch, with the sneakers taking the top spot of Lyst's Q1 2022 rankings for men's items, though the shoes have genderless appeal.

Aimé Leon Dore's other New Balances, be they the tall 650, handsome 991 Made in UK, or magically disappearing 990v2, don't command the same rabid demand as the 550s.

Not because they're unattractive sneakers, of course, but simple because the 550 is the ultimate elevated basic sneaker. It's normal enough to be wearable with everything and juuuuust unattainable enough to be a casual flex.

With ALD founder Teddy Santis overseeing New Balance projects that go beyond his brand's scope, there's no shortage of LES-approved NB sneakers rolling out these days, so perhaps one will eventually overtake the ALD x NB 550s as the go-to downtown dude shoe.

But the New Balance 550s — launching in red, brown, and black colorways through a June 21 raffle on Aimé Leon Dore's website — currently reign supreme.

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