A Brief Look At The History Of The New Balance 550

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In the past couple of years, there hasn’t been a sneaker that has taken the footwear industry by storm quite like the New Balance 550. The low-top everyday sneaker took over the sneaker world and the rest of the fashion landscape with its clean and classic design.

The 550 was initially released back in 1989 as an alternative to the New Balance 650 model and was designed by legendary sneaker architect Steven Smith, who was involved in the early days of NB’s basketball line and was tasked to create a silhouette that would appeal to high-school and college hoopers. However, the 550 didn’t quite hit the heights that were projected, as low-cut silhouettes weren’t trendy at the time.

During the 80s and 90s, most basketball pros wore high tops on the court because of the ankle protection they offered. Still, the bulky B-ball model has recently enjoyed a well-deserved renaissance, rising to the top of many sneakerheads’ lists as one of the most comfortable, affordable silhouettes that looks great on foot.

A vast majority of New Balance 550 colorways have been released since its comeback. We’ve seen everything from bright, bold summer-ready color palettes to sleek winterized editions incorporating Cordura fabrics. The hype behind this model has also been heightened by the collaborations that we’ve seen. One of the sport’s most prominent agents, Rich Paul, and Japanese label Auralee, have both put their innovative spin on the model, but it was Aimé Leon Dore that took the New Balance 550 to a whole new level, joining forces with NB multiple times to introduce a barrage of 550’s, with each one improving on the last. It’s fair to say that the 550 is definitely here to stay, and we can’t wait to see what New Balance has lined up for this OG model. 

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