Sleek isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind when most people hear the word New Balance. It probably invokes images of dad hats, straight jeans and clunky running shoes. But what most people forget is that New Balance is a company that has been churning out athletic footwear for the past 110 years. With a vast range of shoes that lack memorable names and just go by numerical notations and almost esoteric levels of comfort, its a wonder that more people don’t rock NBs. And the 1500 does not look geriatric in any way.
Coming out of New Balance’s 35 year old factory in Flimby in the UK, the 1500 comes with more premium materials and a higher level of craftsmanship. The 1500 was originally released in 1989 and was the first NB shoe to break the £100 barrier, in a year that saw other great runners drop, like the Nike Air Max Light and the Asics Gel-Lyte II. The 1500 in comparison has a much sleeker shape and if you bought into the retro runner resurgence then all you care about in the world is toebox shape. And materials of course. The 1500 delivers on both these counts and with a summery colorway like this, Mint Green and Yellow come on, it couldn’t get much better.
The 1500 employs New Balance’s ENCAP cushioning system which features a core of EVA encapsulated within a shell of polyurethane for added stability and shock dispersion. These kicks are stupid comfy, stable and deceptively light. If you look closely you will find a slim strip of 3M that wraps around the heel above where the leather meets the suede.
The mesh on the toebox is actually breathable and the suede used is plush. In my opinion, Made in UK and Made in USA New Balances are the only ones worth picking up and given that they usually go on sale, are a great steal because they always feature a noticeably higher quality of materials and craftsmanship which is leaps and bounds ahead of any Nike or Adidas shoes you can get at that price.
The New Balance 1500 can easily be worn with jeans, joggers, trousers or shorts and fits a little narrow for me, so I had to go a half size up. Given their uncompromising focus on quality and the way they’ve stayed true to themselves New Balance is a great brand to rep in today’s cloned sock runner world. And if they’re good enough for Raekwon, they’re good enough for me!
“Automatic is nasty, raspberry colour/My shit bloody, with mud on my New Balance…”
Photos by Gaurav Karki