words // Brennan Hiro Williams
The Boston, Massachusetts-based brand had a strong year, issuing several well-received releases from classic runners to creative collaborations. Let's take a look back with a sampling of New Balance's best work from 2011.
For more of the 2011s best, be sure to download the upcoming Sole Collector January iPad Issue.
New England's finest got together for a special colorway of the 999, inspired by President Kennedy and the region's rich nautical traditions.
New Balance worked with Japan's flourishing nonnative brand, with its desaturated heritage aesthetic, and together produced a clean and subtle version of the CM997.
NB dropped the HS77 in 2011, the H574-inspired mid-top featuring a sonic welded suede upper and barefoot-style running sole. Both of these features contribute to weight and waste reduction.
New Balance debuted a retro-styled 997 model for the holiday season in grey, navy and red. While it might upset some purists, the model uses an updated ABZORB version of the original sole.
New Balance made further inroads in the baseball cleat sector, inking Toronto Blue Jays superstar Jose Bautista to an endorsement deal. Joey Bats rocked his player edition 1103s on route to a 43 home run, Silver Slugger-winning season.
Crooked Tongues and New Balance worked together on a well-received 1500 pack, made in England at the New Balance Flimby factory. The pack featured two colorways of the 1500: Black/Orange and White/Lime.
Japan's HECTIC and mita sneakers used the New Balance MT 580 as their canvas for a unique collaboration. The "BKX" features a "wood grain" midsole along with a special graphic insole commemorating their 10th Anniversary collection.
New Balance continued its Made in the USA footwear line, including several colorways of the 998 model. Considering the socio-economic climate of the United States in 2011, the Made in the USA offerings were a commendable effort -- it doesn't hurt that the product looked good, too.
New Balance 991
The New Balance 991 model was released in a retro-styled version as part of the Made in the USA Fall lineup, though it is most significant as the go-to shoe for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who passed away on October 5, 2011. The late American icon appeared in the grey suede 991 and 992 for much of his working career, along with Levi's 501 jeans and an Issey Miyake turtleneck shirt.