New Balance 577AS – Audrey Stewart – Centenary Edition

In this day and age, it’s rare to get a pair of trainers from this Flimby era that are still in this condition – (Deadstock, that is) – but when you do, there’s always some enjoyment in lacing them up for the first time.

The pair featured here is a stone-cold Flimby classic, well, theres three to be precise, but this pair is one of them. If you asked any New Balance aficionado to name three models that are Flimby favourites, I reckon they’d name the 577, 670 and 1500, actually, I’d be willing to put money on that. But if we wanted to stretch that further and choose colourways of the 577 for example, 99% would most likely say the 577NG (navy/grey) and it’s no wonder when this colourway is a cult classic.

The New Balance factory in the UK is located at Flimby, near the Lake District, and behind every good factory, are it’s loyal workers. 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, NB were to produce three limited edition trainers to honour it’s three longest serving employees; Audrey Stewart, Ian Byers and Victor Dixon, who each have around 70 years of work between them at the Flimby factory, these are our ‘Flimby heroes’.

This celebration would be kept simple but effective, with the original grey/navy colourway being used on the three models, and only 1906 pairs will be produced. This may seem a large quantity when we compare it to numbers of store collaborations of around 120 units, but trust me, these pairs are harder to come-by than some of the rarest collaborations. Maybe it’s because they were bought, worn and appreciated like they should be, or some other reason, but if you have the set then consider yourself lucky!

Before we focus on one specific shoe, I thought you would enjoy a look at each pair from the Centenary Edition pack, so check them out below. (All images by Dean Chalkley).

Audrey Stewart who appears on the 577 is the longest serving of our Flimby Heroes and she has been working in the stitching department for almost 25 years when 2006 came around.

New Balance Centenary Audrey Stewart New Balance Centenary M577 Audrey Stewart

Victor Dixon appears on the 670 and he has been with the company since 1982. He is currently the warehouse operative but used to be in the shoe making teams.

New Balance Centenary Victor Dixon New Balance Centenary M670 Victor Dixon

Ian Byers who appears on the 1500 has also been working with New Balance since 1982 and works as the ‘toe and side laster’.

New Balance Centenary Ian Byers New Balance Centenary M1500 Ian Byers

Just for reference, the model codes are as follows – 577AS, 670VD and 1500IB.

Now that you’ve got an overview of the project, here’s a little bit about the 577AS with some detailed images and on-foot shots.

In my person opinion, the 577 is the best of the pack, and it’s made even sweeter because of the fact that the 577NG is produced and released every year with a consistently higher price but a consistently lower quality, which the price definitely doesn’t justify. However, the Audrey Stewart version of the 577, mainly because of the time it was produced (577NG from this time frame are the same quality), has a lush premium suede upper with premium nubuck and mesh underlays in a navy and grey colourway. Like I said, simple but effective. The AS features a tongue tab with a graphic on it of hills and a windmill, rather than the traditional text. One of the major plus points of the AS is the shape; because it is from 2006, this pre-dates Flimby’s experimenting with toe puffs and therefore the down-hill of the ‘sharp wedge’ shape that is sought after so much.

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Each pair comes with a Flimby Hero specific hangtag and Play Mobil like model (includes a little questionnaire), a certificate of authenticity, special insoles and tissue paper.

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New Balance 1500SNS x SNS – ‘RGB Pack’

I originally had the intention of using this blog to post what I was wearing on my feet that day, which is in fact what I’m technically doing, but I figured that if you are taking the time to check this page out then I may at least give you something else to read about.

So, on that note, continuing on the 1500 trend, I was wearing the New Balance 1500SNS x SNS today, which is part of the RGB Pack released back in 2009.

The Swedish crew over at Sneakersnstuff Stockholm teamed up with New Balance to produce this pack in celebration of their tenth anniversary after they first opened their doors in 1999. The pack duped the RGB Pack (red, green and blue – simply the three colours used to render colours in an electronic display), consisted of three different models; 577, 1500 and 1700 – red, green and blue, respectively. Check out the below image from EU Kicks of the pack.

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This was the fourth collaboration with New Balance that Erik and Peter worked on, and if it wasn’t already evident that they were the masters of materials, then this pack confirms it. The guys at SNS each worked on a shoe individually; Peter worked the 577, Johan the 1500 and Erik the 1700.

The three shoes were Made in England at the legendary Flimby factory, and all consist of the high-grade premium materials that were consistently used around this time. They also sport the very sought after ‘original shape’ if you must, which makes them just that little bit more delightful. I don’t care for the 1700 much, mainly due to the ripstop upper and faux nubuck but the materials are all veggie apparently, so a perfect shoe if you’re into that or appreciate the diversity.

However, I own both the 577 and 1500, and they are two stunning pairs. I’m sure that after this post, you’ll agree with regards to the 1500 at least.

The 1500 is based around the green colour and features a mainly green, grey and white upper, with top quality pig-skin suede and mesh toe box. The inner lining also features the same mesh used on the toe box which is a nice change, and the shoe is finished off with a leather tongue hosting green embroidery, and everyone’s favourite little touch of 3M reflective piping around the heel.

There’s not really much else to say about the shoe, I’ve covered the collaboration history and outlined the materials, and I think the pictures speak for themselves. I’ll maybe re-visit this again whenever I get around to wearing the 577, but until then, enjoy some shots of the 1500. DSC_0360 DSC_0364 DSC_0373 DSC_0379 DSC_0380 DSC_0382 DSC_0396

New Balance 577BGP x LFSTL ‘Kakkerlak’

The New Balance 577BGP x LFSTL ‘Kakkerlak’ or ‘Cockroach’ when translated is one of my favourite and most treasured pairs, it’s also one of the pairs that many collectors class as a ‘grail’ if you must.

This pair was released in 2008 and designed by the guys from LFSTL, a boutique based in Rotterdam, Holland, and it pays particular homage to their city. Although the shoe is nicknamed after the cockroach, which is widely regarded as one of the most ‘dirty’ or ‘disgusting’ bugs there are, it has a certain meaning that the residents of Rotterdam can relate to.

A cockroach can adapt itself to it’s surrounding, and they even have the ability to survive some of the most severe bombings, much like the City of Rotterdam did in World War II, and this 577 make-up is a testament to that rebuilding phase and the City skyline. The ‘petrol’ colour symbolises the industry and harbour, as well as the river that splits the city in half, the grey, black and white represents common colours in Rotterdam’s architecture and the purple inner lining draws a link to the city’s ‘open-minded’ character.

As always with a collaboration, you expect the materials to be premium, and the Kakkerlak certainly doesn’t fall fault of that, with the use of pigskin suede, premium croc leather, perf suede, white patent and even everyone’s favourite gum sole to add contrast to the darkened midsole. Also, as an added touch, the cockroach image on the insoles and also the underside of the box lid are also a very nice extra touch.

The shoe itself is relatively hard to come by now, with value ranging into the high hundreds of pounds, many people are keen to keep a hold of their pair or sell for a high price, so good luck if you’re trying to find them. There are also a number of samples of this particular pair, which fair enough is common for most shoes, however, there’s rumoured to be possibly a double figured amount, only three of which I’ve seen, so I’m guessing the rest are with the guys in the Netherlands. (I’ve included some photos of the samples at the end of the post)

Check out some shots below;

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Here is some images of Kakkerlak samples;

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Picture by SHOOTO

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Picture by Fibs

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Picture by SHOOTO.

Here’s a nice link with some shots of the above sample;

http://snidehead.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/new-balance-x-lfstl-nb-577-kakkerlak-1.html