New Balance Releases Latest American-Made Sneaker

Above: New Balance takes inspiration from their iconic 990 silhouette with the MADE 1978, shown above in navy and tan
Above: New Balance takes inspiration from their iconic 990 silhouette with the MADE 1978, shown above in navy and tan

New Balance is looking to the past as they move into the future.

The iconic sneaker brand recently released a completely made-in-the-USA sneaker in collaboration with Vibram, a Massachusetts sole manufacturer, called the 1978. The head-turning silhouette is produced in New Balance’s Norridgewock and Boston factories and is a testament to the brand’s dedication to domestic manufacturing. The silhouette also, as the name suggests, pays homage to one of the brand’s most iconic releases.

In 1978, New Balance started working on their 990 silhouette which would go on to be the brand’s first $100 USD shoe when it finally hit shelves in 1982. Despite what was perceived at the time as an exorbitant amount of money to spend on a pair of shoes (they were double the price of the brand’s popular 620 model), the 990 model actually took off and New Balance reportedly received 50,000 orders in the first six months alone.

Of course, the 990 silhouette has evolved since its 1982 debut, but it remains one of New Balance’s most popular and recognizable shoes today.  Countless athletes, politicians, and celebs helped keep the shoe on the map. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs infamously wore his grey suede 990s daily along with his chosen uniform of a black mock turtleneck and blue jeans.

For its part, the Boston-based brand credits the 990’s ongoing popularity to its timeless simplicity and its made-in-the-USA reputation. It’s been an easy style to update with the latest technology throughout the years, but the recently released reinterpretation takes things to an entirely new level.

Simply named the MADE 1978, New Balance’s latest sneakers are an innovative take on the original 990 model. The sneaker pays homage to the past while taking advantage of advancements in technology and efficiency. Using a combination of premium suede and leather on a three-piece upper, the modern silhouette is sleek and stylish. Standout details include the deconstructed leather collar and the perforated details on the toe box and on the ‘N’ logo stitched inconspicuously into the suede. Just like the original 990s, the MADE 1978 sneaker features an eye-catching Vibram sole, although this injection-molded unit is touted as lighter, more flexible, more durable, and sturdier than any previous IMEVA sole.

The lightweight sneaker pays homage to the past while taking advantage of advancements in technology and efficiency. Using a combination of premium suede and leather on a three-piece upper, the modern silhouette is sleek and stylish. Standout details include the deconstructed leather collar and the perforated details on the toe box and on the ‘N’ logo stitched inconspicuously into the suede. Just like the original 990s, the MADE 1978 sneaker features an eye-catching Vibram sole, although this injection-molded unit is touted as lighter, more flexible, more durable, and sturdier than any previous IMEVA sole.

New Balance Releases Latest American-Made Sneaker - 2
Above: New Balance’s MADE 1978, shown above in grey and black

The 1978 sneaker also pushes New Balance’s Made in America doctrine to new heights with 100 percent of the sneaker made in US factories. In fact, there are only about 190 miles between the brand’s Norridgewock factory – where the suede and leather upper is created – and the brand’s Boston factory where the sleek Vibram soles are constructed.

Note: Usually for New Balance to classify a product as “Made in America,” at least 70 percent of elements must be sourced/crafted domestically.

Of course, the brand’s “Made in America philosophy” has been both a source of pride and controversy in recent months. Social media erupted in November after the company’s VP of communications said it looked forward to working with President-Elect Trump. But, “Made in America” is more than just a slogan for the brand, and naturally, it predates the tumultuous US Electoral season and aftermath.

MADE 1978 represents the future, one that’s attracting the attention of fickle sneakerheads. As New Balance looks ahead they are standing firmly behind their latest silhouette, expect new colourways to drop later this year for fall 2017.

The New Balance MADE 1978 is available now in three different colourways for $174.99 CAD at newbalance.ca, New Balance stores, and other select retailers across the country.

Christopher Turner

Christopher Turner

AmongMen’s Editor-in-Chief is a well-respected fashion and style writer whose works have appeared in Fashionism, Fashion Television, MSN, DesignLines, the Kaboose Network, the Disney Family Network and Sun Media. He also has a collection of designer kicks that would make Imelda Marcos blush and lives in Toronto’s trendy east end. Follow him at: @Turnstylin.

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