Five years ago, New Balance was known for being the brand that Steve Jobs loved, and a few supermodels wore every now and then. Dubbed the “Dad Shoe” brand, New Balance was famous for its functional silhouettes, signature ’N’ logo and sporty aesthetic. Fast forward to 2021 and NB has seen a massive spike in demand, thanks in no small part to collaborations from Aimé Leon Dore to Salehe Bembury and KITH. Offering up fresh takes on retro OG silhouettes, the most notable collab has to be the Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 550, which brought back one of the Boston brand’s most underrated silhouettes, quickly cementing it as a must-have across the globe.
As sneaker culture grows and the hype surrounding certain silhouettes increases, it’s harder for brands to make their mark and secure their place in the community. By harnessing its rich history, retro appeal and industry-leading functionality, New Balance played the game and clawed its way back to the forefront of collections across the world, sitting proudly alongside heavyweight players like Nike and adidas.
Utilising collaborators and the power of social media, NB fought its way to the front of the pack using the one thing millennials love most: Instagram. It was near-impossible to scroll through your feed this summer without coming across one of your favourite influencers rocking a pair of box-fresh New Balances, and many users were discovering these silhouettes for the first time. Of course, the 990 and 991 are silhouettes that have been around for years, but by debuting the New Balance 327 in 2020, NB introduced the brand to a whole new audience and the 327 quickly became a must-have silhouette.
No longer just a footwear brand, New Balance had its finger on the pulse during the COVID-19-induced worldwide lockdown – introducing comfy tracksuits, retro sweatshirts and exclusive clothing ranges with some of the UK’s biggest retailers. Soon, top-to-toe New Balance was the look du jour, with influencers spending their lockdown in their favourite grey New Balance set. With several bestselling capsule collections under its belt, NB’s focus on quality and craftsmanship has secured its place as a staple brand, and with 2022 on the horizon, we can’t wait to see what the new year brings for 2021’s favourite brand.