It’s no surprise to anyone that 2020 has been, to say the least, the strangest year. Perhaps it’s super on brand for our times for a back-to-basics footwear brand to gain traction. New Balance has been having a great year—unlike everyone else on the planet. This is incredibly impressive for a brand that is known for explicitly not sponsoring athletes, its infamous slogan being “endorsed by no one.” And even though it went back on this strategy in the 2000’s, the company just stood on the sidelines next to giants such as Nike and adidas, which have long dominated the scene. However, this did one crucial thing: New Balance appealed to a niche market of enthusiasts, who later on became die-hard fans of the simple suede running sneakers.
The brand released the all-new New Balance 327 in collaboration with Concepts on August 7 via their online store. This year has also witnessed the first re-release of their New Balance 992, dubbed the “dad shoe,” which gained popularity for its grey suede design and chunky soles (especially when worn and co-signed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs).
Since then, the sneaker was re-imagined and re-designed by Chicago-based Joe “Freshgoods” Robinson, and his version of the shoe was released at the All-Star Weekend in his hometown. This sneaker was one of the band’s most exciting releases, and could be said to have placed it on the map. It has even made its way onto lists of the best sneakers of 2020. The resale value reached over $1,000 and hyped the brand and the model to a large extent.
That being said, high price tags on New Balance sneakers are not new (you can see models in retail stores going between $200 and $300), especially considering the premium materials and domestic production (we’re talking about the Made in USA line). But these soaring prices in the secondary market are pretty unusual and forecast the brand’s ability to compete with giants in the industry.
New Balance is having an amazing year partly due to their strategic new partnerships with the right keyholders. Besides the brand’s quality and consistently great designs partnering with brands such as Joe Freshgoods, Casablanca, and WTAPS has put it back on the map and accentuated its relevance in the streetwear and sneaker conversation.
Photo via CASABLANCA