I was lucky enough to be charged with the task of delving into the history and significance of the New Balance 997 reissue for Sneaker Freaker issue 29. Even though I’ve spent the last 9 or so years hoping that this shoe would (one day) come back there were a few things that I learned about it creating this ode to a sneaker. Big shouts to New Balance Japan and Gwar for providing me with random facts (whether knowingly or not), as well as Woody at SF for making sense of my convoluted gushing. It also seems that possibly New Balance may have somewhat lessened their midsole glitch if you look at the images Oneness have put up, although I’ll have to wait until these hit the country and I’m holding them to pass true judgement. Regardless I’m just happy that the shoe’s back with a correct sole and they seem to look 99% alright. It’s sad to say that about New Balance nowadays but I’ll take what I can.
Similarly timed, adidas is bringing back the Stan Smith in all it’s virginal white-on-white glory. To me the Stan Smith is to my father’s generation what the Air Force 1 is to those a decade younger. That simplistic upper has to be one of the most recognisable (and bootlegged) silhouettes going and even though there’s been plenty of variations little compares to the original white with a touch of fairway green. 2014 sees Stan’s shoe come back, face and all with a few tweaks to improve the fit and comfort; something that I’m sure nobody will argue against. As long as it’s all cosher on the outside do whatever you want on the inside, New Balance could probably take a leaf out of adidas’ book on that one. This is definitely one of those shoes that doesn’t look out of place in anybody’s wardrobe and given the amount of push that it’ll be getting this year it will probably feature in most. With the lineup of EQT, ZX and Torsion-equipped footwear alongside the Stan’s return 2014 is shaping up to be rather bullish for the Three Stripes retro front.
*997 images courtesy of Up There