The New Balance 550 sneaker's minimal facade is core to its immense popularity. Like, New Balance has to keep dropping the shoe in slightly different white colorways to keep up with demand.

It thus makes sense that New Balance might devise a limited edition 550 to celebrate the first anniversary of Taipei's NB Grey store in early September. It might make a little less sense that these 550s are anything but understated, though, at least at first.

The three white New Balance 550s exclusive to the NB Grey store in the Taipei 101 mall are truly something else. You could even see them as a sort of commentary on the ubiquity of the white NB 550, given how forcibly they reject austerity.

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Obviously, the strangest iteration is trimmed with floofy fur, so outré that it might as well be a stuffed animal — unrelated but an actual New Balance teddy bear was gifted to select customers as part of the anniversary celebration, alongside a removeable kiltie set.

The other two NB 550s are comparatively straightforward but still pretty funky. There's a printed shoe made of a neoprene-like textile and a genuinely excellent sneaker fitted with tonal textural panels that could be a hit style if it was given wider release.

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Unfortunately, none of these shoes will be seeing release beyond the NB Grey store, as they were all created for the anniversary event by Taiwanese brand ANOWHEREMAN. Doesn't make them any less neat, though.

The NB Grey store, by the way, is a concept space in the bougie Taipei 101 mall, offering much more than just grey sneakers. Its oeuvre includes basically every major New Balance silhouette, from the Warped Runner to the chunky 9060.

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Popularized by Aimé Leon Dore, New Balance's 550 set the tone for a variety of retro sports silhouette that followed, though none have hit the 550's heights. Still, NB is remains focused on updating classics like the t500 tennis shoe, which it also debuted with ALD.

Maybe once those shoes are better established, they'll also be up for a wild, furry remake.

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