Nice Kicks' latest sneaker project is a three-way collaboration with New Balance and Amoeba Music, the iconic independent record store with locations in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Hollywood. Consisting of two colorways of the 992, the collab serves to celebrate Amoeba's new store opening in Hollywood on April 1.

The project continues both Nice Kicks’ and New Balance’s strong run of sneaker collaborations — the latter being lauded for its unparalleled collaboration strategy, which really came to shine in 2020, and Nice Kicks having recently collaborated with adidas on an Ultra 4D.

The Nice Kicks design team has strong ties to the Bay Area, where Amoeba first laid its roots. And as the sneaker boutique currently has locations in San Francisco, Austin, and Los Angeles — three cities known for their musical significance — a project between the two companies just makes sense.

Bryan Tang, product lead for Nice Kicks, and Jo DeGuzman, lead designer, exclusively shared their thoughts on the significance of the project with Highsnobiety.

What inspired each of the colorways?

Jo DeGuzman: “The neon lights outside of the stores, and the neon colors within the logo inspired the color ways. I grew up going to Amoeba and was always mesmerized by all of the neon lights and colors of the logo.”

Bryan Tang: “Jo shared the concept with me and he just took off with the design process. I gave him a few nudges here and there, but JD knocked it out the park!”

What does each color used represent?

JD: “Yellow represents the Amoeba logo while the gray represents classic New Balance. I always like to stay true to the brand. Teal and red represent the neon lights, while black provides the base to pop the colors.”

Can you tell us a little bit about each of the materials used?

JD: “There’s suede throughout the shoe, a leather hit on the tongue and back heel, and “Peace” and “Music” stamped on the back in 3M. Amoeba’s motto is, ‘Peace through music.’”

Why did Nice Kicks team up with Amoeba Music on this project?

JD: “Some of the biggest themes that the Nice Kicks team focuses on are around music, nostalgia, and just that general feeling when you’re digging through the crates. We like to tell a story with our projects. We’re influenced by the cities in which we have stores: Austin, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.”

What significance does Amoeba Music hold, both in California but also in the music industry at large?

BT: “To me, Amoeba represents an essential phase in everyone's life, where finding your own taste of music helps define the path that we take. Music is such a natural feeling that you can’t be told what to like and what not to like. We are all different folks on different wavelengths and music allows us to sometimes flow on the same wave while not being judged by our appearance. So long story short, I see Amoeba and all record shops across the globe to be that same sanctuary that helped us find ourselves.”

JD: “Amoeba has one of the largest music collections with stores in Berkeley, Hollywood, and San Francisco. I’ve done my part digging through the crates of vinyls looking for my new favorite artist of the time and saw some up-and-coming artists perform there. If you’re ever in California, you’ll need to add Amoeba to your tourist checklist.”

What was the biggest challenge of the design process?

BT: “The biggest challenge was working through this during Covid, from reviewing samples to discussing changes. But over time, this became the norm for new projects moving forward. Also, working with New Balance made everything very seamless as their material library and quality are always spot on.”

JD: “The biggest challenge was staying true to New Balance’s classic aesthetic while encompassing Amoeba’s unique and vibrant roots. I did not want the design to look cheesy.”

The Nice Kicks x Amoeba Music x New Balance 992 will be released on April 2 exclusively via Nice Kicks.

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