The New Balance 550 is a surprising star for the Boston-based brand. The model had a hot start after releasing in collaboration with Aime Leon Dore. General release colorways have begun hitting the market and New Balance decided to celebrate the impending mass adoption of its model. The company tapped Japanese design brand AURALEE to create this rendition of the 550, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week and will release on Friday.
AURALEE’s design ethos is demonstrated through its creative decisions on the NB550. The Japanese label went with a monochromatic sail colorway, stating that the creamy color scheme was used to display the details and lines on the shoe. Premium leather is used for the entire upper. A plain piece of leather replaces basketball detailing for a minimalist quality. The only AURALEE branding is found on the insole. The midsole is more ‘yellowed’-version of the same monochromatic sail color of the upper. The minimalist, elegant color scheme accentuates the New Balance 550’s design features. AURALEE’s ‘yellowed’ sole also serves to show age and a desire for everyday use.
The New Balance 550 is a great sneaker that deserves its time in the spotlight. Not only does the retro chunkiness fit the current trend, it’s a plainly comfy shoe with a classic New Balance-look. Some could speculate that NB has pushed the style on the market excessively and that another collaborative project is overkill. The monochromatic ‘off’-coloring is also nothing particularly new. However, this collaboration takes its own lane in multiple ways.
Aime Leon Dore’s collegiate, color-blocked rendition of the 550 was glorious and rightfully gobbled up by the market. However, the AURALEE-designed 550 offers a new, different perspective. Both releases riff on the retro-nature of the model; however, the ALD model was a nod to the concept of unity created through basketball. Specifically focusing on old school hoops and more colorful, popping colorways. The absence of color accentuates the details of the shoe, from paneling and perforation down to the stitching.
To reiterate, the 550 model is a really great model. New Balance opened up the vault to introduce more shoes to their growing basketball line, which now accompanies a strong skateboarding brand. The path to success for a smaller player like NB is diversifying the brand offering, marketing opportunities and selling points. While, of course, continuing to produce quality product. Thus far, in 2021, New Balance has proven more than capable.
The Auralee x New Balance 550 collab will release on July 16 exclusively at Auralee.jp and at Auralee’s flagship stores in Japan. A global release of the shoe will follow on July 26. The shoe will retail for $180, originally at 19,800 yen.