With a double-degree in New Balance sneak-ology and his own successful blog 'My Wife And Kicks', Aucklander Adrian Daniel is a major NB fanatic and authority in the sneakerhead community. In light of the launch of the 990v5, Adrian sat down with us to chat about his thoughts on the latest iteration, our Made in US franchise, and a look into his own expansive New Balance collection.
What got you interested in New Balance sneakers?
For me, New Balance is a brand for purists, those more concerned with simple done well than flashy and hype. The brand speaks to my personality - obsessed with detail, not so concerned with who wore it or endorsed it but rather how good the product is. I love that the brand prides itself on excellent products and still makes them in grey suede.
How many pairs do you have in your collection?
Right now, I have around 100 pairs of sneakers, space constraints have meant that has always been the upper limit of my collection. I have had 100s more over the past several years but I don’t want to have to get a separate storage unit so I have ended up selling or giving away pairs to make space.
My favourite model is the New Balance M1300 of which I have 40-something pairs, both Made in the UK and US. Another runner that originated in the ’80s, I love the simple design, premium materials, perfect shape and of course grey suede.
Aside from the M1300 there is a range of others I love, including the 990s (all of them), 997, 770 and 1500. Really, I would be happy to have every NB model in grey... maybe navy too. In terms of recent models, I wear the X90 a lot - I think Samuel Pearce did a great job on those!
Which silhouettes would you say are most loved in the sneaker community?
When it comes to the masses most would gravitate to the 998, 997 and 1500. These seem to get the most fanfare and have all seen some amazing collaborations in the past from the likes of Concepts, Solebox and Ronnie Feig which further cement their legacy. However, if you are willing to dig deep enough you will find a passionate enthusiast for most of the revered NB models from the past as well as some more obscure models too.
I think that’s the beauty of a community, all kinds of people interested in different things but finding a common passion in sneakers.
Tell us about the 99X collection, and feel free to reference any of your own personal collection!
The 99X collection and even more specifically the990 series has an amazing legacy spanning
almost 4 decades with the first release in 1982 and the latest iteration this year.
It has a pretty storied history and even Steve Jobs was known for wearing some. There is so
much depth in the series, so many obscure hybrids, so much development in technology and
there really is something for everyone.
As far as New Balance enthusiasts go many would consider the Steven Smith designed 997 the pinnacle of the 99X series and for good reason. There is a lot to like about the shoe and it embodies everything good about New Balance. That sharp dagger shape, excellent craftsmanship, cutting edge technology at the time, quality materials and of course so beautifully understated in grey suede allowing the design to shine.
I’m proud to own a pair in both the original grey and the navy (which in fact isn’t an original colourway) and I’d say they would be my favourite 99X models I own. If you like to geek out on the model head to @997archive on Instagram where Matt Kyte has added a wealth of knowledge.
If all you have seen of the 99X series is the 997, 998 and the 990 do some digging, you will find some gems!
What do you like about the new 990v5 compared to earlier versions?
The v5 is a nice mix of new and familiar. We see that familiar shade of grey, identical mesh and key design elements. The design has been simplified somewhat which is still growing on me but I do like the newly designed “V” logo on the back and I will say that there is a noticeable step up in comfort which is a welcome addition.
Let’s remember the 990 started as a running shoe and the v4 was still primarily marketed as that. You know you have made a winner when your product can be found on both runways and walkways. That’s a testament not only to great design but a quality product.
Tell us more about your opinion of Made in the US sneakers and what the conversation is around these in the sneaker community.
I think Made in the US has always been the pinnacle of quality and craftsmanship, it’s pretty
hard to argue with that or find another brand on the same scale doing it better. I love how
in the past NB was really bold with their marketing around this and its refreshing to see
them go back to that with slogans like “A cut above the competition”, “Not all shoes are
created equal” and “Developed by craftsmen,not celebrities.”
Let’s be honest, it’s not that other brands can’t manufacture in the US they just choose not to, other things are more important to them, namely profit margins. New Balance chooses to still produce in the US and the fruit is evident in the products they produce.
Follow Adrian's growing sneaker collection on Instagram @mywifeandkicks
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