New Balance 577NGO “The Napes”

Over at New Balance Gallery, I took a look at the Made in UK New Balance 577 “The Napes” Pack, and you can check it out here, but I took a few extra shots of the shoe, so I wanted to do a post on here with them all.

A big big thanks to NB UK for the kind gift!

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Continue reading New Balance 577NGO “The Napes”

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Interview @ NB Real Ale Event

As part of the global launch for the New Balance Real Ale Pack, we had the opportunity to interview some of the New Balance Team, so of course, we were going to take them up on this. It’s not every day that you get the chance to do this, so it was a no brainer.

These guys have an absolute wealth of knowledge and are all but happy to share it with us, so this interview is quite long and in depth, but we thoroughly enjoyed being part of it, and all of the responses to the questions are particularly excellent.

I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as we did giving it.

Continue reading Interview @ NB Real Ale Event

New Balance Real Ale Event

The last Wednesday of July, as NB Gallery, we headed to Cockermouth, a town in Cumbria, England, for the official global launch of the New Balance Real Ale Pack, and boy was it good. The hospitality over the few days that we were there was absolutely faultless, big big shout to all those involved for nailing the event.

The plan was to arrive in Cockermouth and check into the Allerdale Court Hotel, easily one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed in – rooms, bar, breakfast, and staff all excellent, and in the perfect spot in this lovely Lake District town. Fashionably late, we arrived, checked in, and were greeted by a NB Welcome Pack filled with goodies, such as a pair of the Real Ale CT300’s, beer mats, ale, NB USB, and our intinerary for the next few days.

Continue reading New Balance Real Ale Event

New Balance x Size? – Collaboration History

Size? was founded in 2000, and since then, they have become a household name, and have at least one store in every major city you could think of in the UK, along with expanding overseas last year into places such as Amsterdam, Paris, and Milan. With their growth, obviously comes power, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it sees Size? being at the forefront of working with brands to dive into their archives and bring out retros/reissues of your favourite footwear models.

Most people know Size? for the vast amount of footwear, clothing and accessories that they sell in their stores, and on their large online store, however, every now and then, Size? collaborate with brands on all of these things, and in the early 2000’s, they developed a pretty special relationship with the UK’s own division of New Balance.

This post will take a look into the collaboration history between New Balance and Size?, however, the further back we go, to their first lot of collaborations it’s really tough to get good information as there is little to none on the internet, and unless you were around at the time, it’s pretty much impossible to source the information and pictures needed.

Luckily, if you dig hard enough, there are various pictures around, and these rare pairs pop up on social media now and again which is great to see. Also, I know some pretty great people who have vast amounts of knowledge from this time so they were a huge help.

Anyway, in the early 2000’s, this was a time when New Balance collaborations, particularly Made in England pairs, were of a level of quality that will probably never be reached again. There is just such a vast amount of amazing colourways out there that also used some pretty exceptional and unique materials, and this is something that set NB apart from every other brand, and one of the reasons why I take such an interest in the brand.

There’s no better example of the excellent work that the Flimby factory do than these early Size? collaborations, and credit to the people at Size? who came up with the colourways and material selections.

2005 – New Balance x Size? 577

This set of 4 pairs of 577 uses some of the best leather and suede around at the time, and comes in four simple, but yet stunning colourways.

The first is the New Balance 577ASZ, and is probably the rarest of the four now, as it never really gets seen these days. It has a predominantly leather burgundy/maroon upper with grey suede accents, and features perforated leather on the toebox.

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Image from NetForest

The second pair from the set is the New Balance 577BSZ, which uses various shades of brown leather and suede, again featuring a perforated toebox.

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Image from NetForest

Third up is the New Balance 577GSZ, again utilising premium leather on the predominantly green upper, with some clean white perforated leather on the toebox to finish it off.

New Balance 577GSZ –

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Image from XMode

Last but not least from this set is the New Balance 577SSZ, and is probably one of the pairs that we see the most from this pack. This pair features a mainly light blue upper with some dark blue and off-white coloured accents, and keeping in with the tradition, it has a perforated toebox but also has a gum outsole, which is something the others don’t have.

New Balance 577SSZ –

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Image from NetForest

2006 – New Balance x Size? 577 ‘coup d’eclat’

New Balance was founded in 1906 as ‘New Balance Arch Support Company’ and when 2006 came around, it was time to celebrate New Balance’s 100 year anniversary. For this celebration it was inevitable that NB were to produce a good few limited edition pairs of shoes, and along with the three limited edition trainers to honour it’s three longest serving employees; Audrey Stewart, Ian Byers and Victor Dixon, there were also to be a run of New Balance x Size? collaborations.

Much like the collaboration in 2005, these are some of the best pairs to ever come from Flimby, and Size? excelled in utilising the black midsole, something which has only been done well very few times.

Below is a picture of the 5 shoes taken from the All Gone 2006 book:

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All Gone Book 2006

Below is a picture of the invitation that was given out for the special instore launch of the New Balance x Size? 577 release in 2006.

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There were 50 pairs which came with a larger special box which housed the standard Made in England New Balance box, and it is pictured below. They also came with miniature versions of the shoes and box, as well as special t-shirts made for the release and these were only available at the instore event at Size? Carnaby Street.

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Size? and New Balance created a pretty amazing pack named the ‘coup d’eclat’ and it was spread over several months throughout 2006. Each pair from the pack was based around a black and orange midsole, which is why these two colours are so prevalent throughout the uppers on each pair.

Each shoe used a mix of vibrant colours and some of the most premium materials available, including suede, mesh, and camo print leather.

As well as the release dates for the shoes being staggered throughout the year, they also had different quantities, which were all extremely limited.

First Release –

The first release was in June of 2006, and it featured 4 colourways; BGO, BGW, BWB, and PGB.

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Every shoe in the pack stands out on it’s own, but the New Balance 577BGO is particularly great because of the camo leather on the upper, and this pair was limited to 120 pairs.

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Image from Skit Blog

New Balance 577BGW –

The New Balance 577BGW was meant to be limited to 90 pairs, and was designed by Matt Taylor, but the story goes that when they visited the Flimby factory, they chose some colours that were near the end of their rolls, so fewer pairs were made than planned.

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Image from Kicksaholic

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Thirdly, the New Balance 577BWB seen a release limited to only 70 pairs, and was the second most limited out of both drops.

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Image from Kicksaholic

New Balance 577PGB –

Last but not least from the first drop, the New Balance 577PGB designed by John Brotherhood was the most limited of all the drops in 2006 as it was limited to only 60 pairs.

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Image from Kicksaholic

Second Release –

Following on from the first drop, the second drop featuring two pairs of 577 was released in November, and both these pairs were limited to 75 pairs each.

New Balance 577WGO –

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Image from Kicksaholic

New Balance 577GOW –

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Image from Kicksaholic

2007 – New Balance x Size? 577 ‘Fruity Clerks Pack’

Back again with more 577’s, one of the most iconic UK Made models, and this time, this pack features some very fruity designs, with an array of pinks, purples and cyan teamed with a splattered midsole.  The shoes feature faux reptile skin on the upper, teamed with lush suede and perforated suede or perforated leather on the toebox.

The shoes were designed with old school fruit machines in mind, think one-arm bandits, bright flashing lights and 3 fruit jackpots of Plums, Strawberries and Bells. The colour scheme is no gamble (excuse the pun), and it was styled by one of the Size? crew from the Birmingham store.

Both colourways were limited to 250 pairs, and there were also matching New Era caps for both colorways, which were only available instore. The shoes also came with matching keyrings, check them out in the pictures below.

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New Balance 577WBP –

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New Balance 577WGP –

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Images from Kicksaholic

That wasn’t all though, along with the release of the ‘Fruity Clerks Pack’ came another shoe, and probably the most elusive of all Size? collaborations, and maybe even New Balance UK collaborations – the ‘Jackpot’ 577.

The ‘Jackpot’ 577 were made exclusively for a competition and limited to only 4 pairs. Along with the ‘Jackpot’ 577, the first prize winner will take home one of the 2 New Balance Fruit Machines that were installed in Size? Carnaby Street and Covent Garden Stores at the time of release, and the second prize will win a pair of the Jackpot 577 shoes.

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Images via Highsnobiety

2010 – New Balance x Size? 577 ‘Estates Pack’

The New Balance x Size? 577 ‘Estates Pack’ was brought out in 2010 to celebrate the stores 10 years anniversary, and the pack draws inspiration from the gradual transition of practical rural fashion into a modern trend in the city.

The first pair from the pack is the New Balance 577LQ –

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This shoe pays tribute to the modern city gents adaptation of traditional rural wear with a premium black leather and suede upper, mixed together with a woven quilter toebox and heel support.

The second pair from the pack is the New Balance 577CW –

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Images from Nice Kicks

This pairs comes in a mix of dark green, brown with popping orange accents in a leather and mesh upper, and the shoe is inspired by rural British fashion worn by city dwellers.

Both pairs are sat on a clean white traditional ENCAP midsole, and have a gum outsole. They also have a woven brand tab sewn onto the tongue and it transforms the style number into roman numerals (DLXXVII = 577) with ‘shoe maketh the man’ in Latin underneath the crest. As always, a shoe isn’t really complete without a little bit of 3M, and this comes in the form of the N backer for both pairs. Limited to 250 pairs each.


2012 – New Balance x Staple Design x Size? 577 ‘Black Pigeon’

Staple Design aren’t new to collaborating with New Balance, and neither are Size?, so when these two came together, we expected something special, but we’re not exactly sure that these shoes lived up to that expectation.

Nevertheless, both Size? and Staple Design reworked a 577, a model which Size? have became so well known for collaborating on. This Made in England 577 came in a year that was celebrating 30 years of manufacturing at Flimby, and as always, this shoe features only the most premium of materials.

With the ‘Black Pigeon’ toughened up on his travels, the shoe features a heavy-duty construction with a honeycombed rip stop nylon toe-box and robust leather upper. Not forgetting the creature comforts, a soft pink felt lines the inner and adds extra warmth.
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Image from Proper Mag

2014 – New Balance x Size? Made in USA 574 ‘Harrods Exclusive’
Over the last few years, it probably felt like there was a Size? store popping up in every UK city, and even expanding abroad into other countries, a true testament to the size at which the retailer has grown. So, on that note, to mark the occasion of Size? opening their first pop-up in the world famous Harrods department store, they once again teamed up with New Balance, but this time, they created two Made in USA 574’s.
The pack was inspired by Harrods’ colourful food hall, and we see two bright colourways of the premium suede and mesh US574’s. One of which has a Miami Dolphins-esque colourway of teal and orange, with hits of pink and grey, while the other has the inverse – grey and pink, with orange and teal accents.
Both colorways will only be available in a run of just 12 pairs each, making these some of the most exclusive New Balance collaborations yet. However, it was possible to create extremely similar colourways via the NB USA custom site if you happened to miss out and desired a pair of 574’s in either of these colourways.
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Image from Hypebeast

New Balance 576NGA + SGA “20th Anniversary”

It goes without saying that the New Balance 576 is one of the classics, and in 2008 the shoe turned 20 years old. Since it’s inception in 1988, the shoe was produced in the UK, and to celebrate, New Balance produced two pairs of 576 in their vintage original versions;

When we think of New Balance, we think of colours like grey and navy, and materials like suede and mesh, all of which are timeless. The New Balance 576 20th Anniversary pairs came in both navy and grey, paired with the original sole unit from 1988 to give it that original feel.

Both the New Balance 576NGA and 576SGA are a must in any collection, those colourways are just perfect. The soft mesh, lush suede, luxurious leather lining, pebbled style heel tab, original style sole unit, and that faded heel counter all come together to make two excellent pairs of shoes.

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Private Preview of the New Balance 1500FPK x Footpatrol ‘Encyclopaedia’

It seems like every week there are at least 5+ collaborations releasing, and I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s pretty hard to keep up, but Made in UK New Balance collaborations are few and far between these days, so when one of them come along, there’s always quite a bit of excitement surrounding it. Then when you throw in UK heavyweights Footpatrol from London, the anticipation for this collaboration was only ever going to increase!

Before I get into the private preview of the shoe, let’s take a look at the Footpatrol images of the New Balance 1500FPK, along with some details about the collaboration.

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The release has been dubbed ‘Encyclopaedia’, and the tagline ‘Knowledge is Key’ has accompanied the collaboration since the first few teaser images were released. Footpatrol have came together with New Balance UK to pay homage to arguably the most informative and detailed reference source – the Britannica Encyclopaedia.

The Britannica Encyclopaedia was first published in 1768, and was produced in fifteen editions until it’s present physical volume in 2012, and this shoe uses this source of knowledge as it’s inspiration. If you look at the shoe, and then look at the Britannica Encyclopaedia pictured, it’s clear that the people of Footpatrol and New Balance have worked extremely hard to execute this concept to the highest of standards.

The New Balance 1500FPK has a screams premium at first glance, with it’s predominantly black upper, decked out in only the best materials, with plush suede on the toe wrap and ankle sections, complimented by some smooth black leather across the toe box, side panels and tongue. Some contrast gold detailing comes in the form of the embroidery on the tongue, heel logo and of course the traditional small single embroidered ‘N’ logo on the lateral side. The heel logo on the medial side features a blacked out double embroidered ‘N’ logo, which is a really nice touch. There is also an embroidered tab on the rear of the tongue, which features an illustration of a book with the tagline ‘Knowledge is Key’, while the insole takes elements from some of the content found in the Encyclopaedia, in an off white colour with an anatomical illustration of the human foot. It doesn’t end there though, as no shoe is complete without some reflectiveness in my opinion, and this comes in the form of the reflective piping around the ankle collar.

You’d think we’d be finished by now on the detailing front, right? But no, adding to the already class details, the shoe is sat on top of an off-white midsole, and has everyone’s favourite gum coloured outsole. As a little reminder as to who the brains are behind this collaboration, the famous Footpatrol gas mask comes in a black and gold swing tag. Finally the vibrant Red New Balance logo situated on the heel and the outsole is a nod to both the bookmarker found in the reference book and the flagship colour used on the NB logo.

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With the release set for Saturday 24th January, Footpatrol and New Balance personally selected a small number of people, mainly press and loyal customers to join them for a special preview of the Footpatrol Encyclopaedia ‘Knowledge is Key’ 1500. The event took place at the stunning Library on St. Martin’s Lane, an exclusive private members club just off London’s famous Leicester Square, and this is where the original shots featured above were taken.

Here we would also be treated to a personal Q+A with the New Balance team – Tom Henshaw, Andy Okolowicz, Chris Hodgson, and Jamie Metcalfe, as well as an insight into the Footpatrol shoe, while being able to indulge in some fine food and drink. It’s quite rare to be treated to events of this form, as usually it’s just a case of a venue with some music and lots and lots of beer, but the efforts that both NB and Team FP went to organise this classy event fits in with the whole theme of the collaboration perfectly.

When we talk about New Balance, and discuss things online, a lot of the information is taken from various websites, or stuff you’ve picked up through the years, but to be sat down with people like Chris and Andy, and be able to tap into their comprehensive knowledge of all things NB, whether it’s creative or technical, it really is quite something. Hats off to Jimmy and the rest of Team Footpatrol too, who were more than happy to discuss any aspect of their great project, and obviously like us who were just grateful to be in the room, they were grateful to be one of the very few who are given the opportunity to work with New Balance UK and produce such a stunning shoe.

When you think about this project in more depth, and as was pointed out by Jimmy of Footpatrol, the use of the Encyclopaedia Britannica as inspiration for a Made in UK New Balance is very appropriate, especially since the Encyclopaedia has a long standing tie to British heritage – it even has a thistle for it’s logo! The Encyclopaedia is high quality to touch, and craftmanship is something that New Balance pride themselves on, especially when it comes down to materials, with only the finest being used on this project. One particular interesting fact mentioned by Chris Hodgson in relation to materials was that the leather used throughout the shoe, is in fact, waterproof, and it was sourced from English tanneries.

The New Balance 1500FPK sees a production run of around 1320 pairs, which doesn’t seem like all that many, but be sure to keep your eyes open for a worldwide release soon, but in the mean time, check out some pictures below from the event.

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