A Balanced Diet of Color and Style from New Balance
One thing about sneakers, some colorways work exceptionally well, while some just miss the mark. A shoe might sport colors that should, theoretically, go well with each other, yet still look really bad. There are those brands, on the other hand, who do colors sublimely well, like New Balance. This is demonstrated time and again throughout their 110 year history, and is reiterated in their latest drops: the 1400 Connoisseur Retro Ski, the 998 Rockabilly Pack, and the 580 Legacy Pack.
These three models were unveiled – make that “unlocked” – recently at sneaker store SneakPeek’s 11th UNLOCKED event for the year. Held at the flagship store in the Shangri-La Plaza Mall last April 30, the release brought together many of Manila’s sneakerheads who wanted first dibs on these new kicks.
The 1400 Connoisseur Retro Ski is inspired by the vintage style of Maine’s ski culture (think before the explosion of neon in the 80s, when earth toned sweaters, hats and jackets ruled the slopes). Maine is, of course, America’s shoemaking hub, and where this particular model is crafted. Pig suede uppers perforated on the toebox replace the usual mesh, giving it a more premium look. The outsole is rubber cup with a black heel stabilizer. Brown and tan overall with a smart bright rust accent on the NB logo make this understated shoe really stand out (a contradiction, I know!).
On the heels of the 1400 is the 998 Rockabilly Pack, which also harks back to the 50s, when American rock n’ roll ruled the airwaves. Rich black suede mixes up with grey mesh and a dash of teal aka “bolt.” An ABZORB sole cushion is used in the midfoot to absorb shock better, with a non-marking outsole underfoot.
Rounding out Unlocked 11 is the New Balance 580 Legacy Pack, which brings new school cool to a favorite classic. Part of the Elite Edition Classics release, the 580 Legacy Pack uses premium suede, a blown rubber outsole, and deep colors. It features REVlite cushioning for better responsiveness and durability while being 30 percent lighter than other foams with comparative performance.
Among the three, my favorite would have to be the 1400s; they just scream out to me. Somewhere deep down I’m an earth tone kinda guy, despite my overt preference for daring color combinations. They also appeal to my fondness for vintage things. I am glad that, aside from the name, they aren’t ski-specific. Otherwise, where would I wear them around these parts, no?