Brand: SSENSE x New Balance

Model: 2002R

Release Date: Available now

Price: $160

Buy: Online at SSENSE

Editor's Notes: Like it or not, New Balance is on top. By now, that shouldn't come as any surprise, and it certainly isn't an accident. With Teddy Santis overseeing the brand as Creative Director, and its best silhouettes in way of the 990, 550, and 2002R getting serious attention, everything is falling into place.

That's not to say New Balance was ever a background player; its quality and attention to detail alone have ensured that could never be true, but at long last, it stands toe-to-toe with Nike, Jordan Brand, YEEZY, and all of the other key players.

Though not as rooted in history and culture as the 990 (and its full series of variations), the 2002R has come in and swept the rug from under the feet of the industry to become one of the most desirable silhouettes on the market.

We can probably thank last year's "Protection Pack" for thrusting the sneaker into the spotlight and ensuring that it remains there. That three-piece pack earned its ranking as one of the year's best releases – so much so that there's even a sequel on the way.

Before we're able to get our hands on pairs of the upcoming six-piece "Protection Pack," SSENSE has stepped into pole position with one of the best 2002Rs to date.

This exclusive take speaks for itself. Its fabrication is one that Sean Wotherspoon would certainly be proud of – several panels of corduroy, suede, and mesh make up the upper in various shades of brown, resulting in a creamy finish. Breaking up the brown hues is an embroidered vamp and laces in a spring-ready shade of purple.

Need more be said? These are a no-brainer for any New Balance fan, that is, if you're quick enough to secure a pair before they're all gone.

​​To stay updated on everything happening in the sneaker world, check out the best sneakers to add to your rotation this week, follow @highsnobietysneakers on Instagram, and sign up to our newsletter for early access to the best drops sent straight to your inbox.

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