Trainers: New Balance*.Photographs by Hannah Louise F
Every now and again (i.e. probably not as often as I should), I remember to check my Instagram direct messages. Among the ‘sliding into her dms’ attempts and the detox tea collaboration offers, one message stood out yesterday. “Thanks for rocking New Balance. It’s so annoying to see everyone hopping on the Jordan bandwagon”, read the DM.
Recognising a trend, the past couple of years has seen everyone from Chanel to Dior to Topshop to Zara jump on the trainer bandwagon, taking trainers out of the gym and onto the streets, while covering them in jewels, slogans and blatant branding that scream “I can afford to spend a months rent on a pair of trainers, just fyi” for you.
Forgetting designer labels and the high street, Nike and Adidas have continued to do what they’ve always done, may it now be it to a wider market. They’re both household names and loyalty tends to lie with one or the other but either way, your grandpa owns a beaten up pair for walking to the corner shop in; your aunt, a pair to ease the pain from her heels during her commute to her office 9-5; you bought your godson a miniature pair when he turned three months old because OMG, baby trainers are just SO adorable, right? Long story short, we all own Nike and Adidas.
But thinking back to that instagram message, where do New Balance come into all of this. Everyone’s aware of New Balance but it’s safe to say that not everyone owns a pair - and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
New Balance wearers have not been influenced into their purchase. There haven't been any celebrity collaborations that broke the internet, only to end up on eBay for triple the price. New Balance have a huge variety of colourways up for grabs but you don’t see them offering one single style in 50 colours to create hype.
New Balance were the first to create a 3D running shoe, beating adidas and Nike, yet only producing 44 pairs. There’s limited edition and then there’s releasing only 44 pairs…
Perhaps there’s nothing universally trendy about a pair of New Balance but does that put New Balance into the ‘effortlessly cool’ category? In my opinion; yes, most definitely.