New Balance is best known for its classic and retro styles – but none quite appealed to me like the brand’s reworked 550 sneaker. Designed in partnership with longtime collaborator Aimé Leon Dore, the silhouette sports “vintage” details like a yellowed midsole and crackle leather branding without other less appealing aspects of old shoes.

Don’t get me wrong: most of my sneakers are old, because I’ve found it easier (and cheaper) to fix retro models than fighting bots on the SNKRS app for a new pair. Older sneakers offer better designs as well, in my opinion – no one back then bothered to appeal to the hypebeasts or the likes of Travis Scott. But the vintage-esque sneakers from New Balance and ALD ultimately delivered a retro design that I preferred, and I didn’t have to replace the insoles or scrub them again.

Straight out of grandpa’s closet – Originally released in the late 1980s, the 550 silhouette was quickly labeled as defunct after its initial release. Over 30 years later, however, vintage and distressed sneakers have become in high demand, making this the perfect time for the retro shoe to make a comeback. The contrast between exclusivity and a “carefree” sneaker look seems to be the ultimate definition of cool.

A classic reimagined

Entrance // Maya Ernest

In my case, the shoe was the perfect addition to my closet, which sports vintage and grandpa-like styles. While some might not care about the 550, which looks like an orthopedic sneaker, its aged design is exactly what drew me to it in the first place. The “daddy” sneakers are too thick for my little feet, and wearing them makes me feel like a kid walking around in his dad’s shoes. New Balance and Aimé Leon Dore’s 550, meanwhile, give me an older approach – its slim but cohesive design looks perfect for playing board games in a retirement home or dining at 4 p.m.

the retro sneaker offers me a Young nobody, the benefits of a old person’s shoe.

While I don’t plan on doing it either, retro sneakers do give me, young, the benefits of a senior shoe. Thanks to childhood sports, I don’t have “Megan’s knees,” and a chronic illness blesses me with the same constant fatigue as an older person. To help both, while still looking decently stylish, the 550 comes with a plush sockliner and extra arch support – I can confidently consider them the most comfortable sneakers I own.

Entrance // Maya Ernest

A timeless design – From a design perspective, two color schemes – a green and yellow, and a red and navy – have been released by New Balance and Aimé Leon Dore. Both featured a white leather base with details like a crackle ‘N’ logo and yellowed midsoles.

I’m generally hesitant to wear anything red, white and blue, especially after 2016, but these sneakers had a more “classic” vibe than the American one. Original design features such as the 550 side mark, multi-colored outsole, and vintage ‘N’ tag also made the shoes look like they were straight from the ’80s – back when the American flag was more Bruce Springsteen. than MAGA.

Big Apple Energy

Also discover the vintage-inspired packaging. Entrance // Maya Ernest

An additional brand of Aimé Leon Dore also aligns the sneaker specifically with New York. An apple graphic, modified to resemble a basketball as a nod to the shoe’s basketball roots, alludes to the Big Apple. The stub graphics show “New York” if the connection is not clear enough.

Worth the hype – There’s not much to criticize when it comes to New Balance and Aimé Leon Dore’s 550 sneakers, other than its extremely limited supply. A few weeks after the shoe’s release, however, its resale prices have fallen at around $ 200 or $ 300 a pair – a good deal considering prices were way over $ 1000 before the drop. Trust, it’s better to splurge on these sneakers than buy a bunch of new pairs. Unlike the latter, the simple design of the 500 will be in the fashion years and can be worn with almost anything. Also, we doubt you are the same size as your grandfather.

Entrance // Maya Ernest



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