This post was published on August 10, 2022, and updated on January 9, 2023
Brand: Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance
Model: Rainer Boot
Release Date: December 16, 2022 (first drop), January 13, 2023 (restock)
Editor's Notes: Aimé Leon Dore and New Balance may be putting the 550s in the rearview as they instead focus on an underrated archival New Balance gem that's finally getting its time in the limelight.
New Balance's Rainier Boot isn't even really a sneaker. Or, if it is, it's a sneaker boot at most. But that's okay. With the Aimé Leon Dore touch, it'll sell out as quickly as any basketball silhouette or running shoe.
Fitted with GORE-TEX lining, rip-proof Cordura paneling, and a grippy Vibram sole, Aimé Leon Dore's latest New Balance collab is truly meant for the trails.
It arrives in three colorways suitable for any terrain, too: brown, grey, and beige.
Previous ALD NB team-ups really don't explore the functional side of New Balance's design ethos, leaning more into classic runners appropriate for either casual jogs or lining up at ALD's flagship in Lower Manhattan.
The Rainier Boot, meanwhile, is truly a utilitarian piece of footwear, albeit pretty retro in design. It's from 1982 which, funnily enough, makes it much older than most of ALD's core fanbase.
Not that it's entering entirely unexplored terrain. Aimé Leon Dore showcased its New Balance 990v2 sneakers in outdoorsy campaign imagery, for instance, but the Rainier boot is ALD's first proper step into utilitarian New Balances.
But, as part of its Leon Dore vintage collection, ALD actually sold off pairs of vintage New Balance 615 sneakers and Rainier hiking boots before it devised its own pairs, illustrating that the old-school trek shoes are very much part of its design inspiration.
Confirmation on these was a long time coming; images of the brown Rainer Boot began circulating the internet months before they were ever announced.
But now that they're here, they give ALD fans something to look forward to in between 550 sneakers drops.