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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
If you were afraid that the chunky sneaker craze had been and gone, GUESS WHAT,
fashionista's are STILL all over these style statements. They're cumbersome, they're quirky, and they're sticking around for autumn. With help from 4 kiwi influencers muuuuuch more fashionable than us, read up on ways in which you could make this trend work for you.
Galilee Lambert is the founder of 'The Millennial Bosses', a new platform inspiring young people to focus on their fashion and design dreams. Passionate about style, Galilee describes her style as, "colourful, edgy and tomboy with a feminine touch." Looking to sports brands, Galilee loves to incorporate pieces into her everyday street style; "You should see my wardrobe... chunky sneakers are basically all I wear! I believe the outfit AND sneaker should work together to bring a look to life." Take note!
Founder of popular rental store Designer Wardrobe, Donielle Brooke's biggest 'pinch-me' moment came from opening DW's first stand-alone store, only 5 years after launching DW.co.nz. Being entrenched in the fashion world, Donielle loves to look to sports brands for personal style inspiration and loves incorporating pieces into her everyday look. "I would describe my style as feminine with a little edge. I LOVE pretty dresses and mixing these with something like a chunky sneaker. They go with every style: activewear, weekend-wear, even work-wear. I love how they're so versatile."
When she's not captaining the New Zealand Athletics Team, NB runner Symone Tafunai is channelling serious style inspo on her Instagram. "My style comes from a mixture of streetwear and athleisure, but I like to keep it original and authentic with a modern twist." Taking inspiration from throwback TV and movies like Prince of Bel Air and Clueless, Symone ties in old school '90s vibes and LOVES how the chunky shoe trend has come back into fashion. "The chunky shoe is extremely versatile as you can dress it up or down based on your style. I even pair them with activewear!"
Entrepreneur and influencer Mary Outram made waves when her humble business 'By Mary T-Shirts' took off. "It's crazy to think I can have an idea for something and people respond so positively to it; that they want to purchase and wear something you have made!" Taking inspiration from a range of themes, Mary describes her style as 'classic and clean', pairing designer handbags with a basics look from Glassons, or chunky shoes with a colourful blazer. "It's not all about the price tag of something, and I think that's super important. You can easily create an outfit which reflects a clean and classic look with anything in your wardrobe. Mix and match, trial and error... have a go!"
In case you missed the memo, the dad sneaker trend is back. Athough intimidating at first, rocking chunky shoes is easy when you've got some style inspo. We asked local stylist Holly Estelle for her advice on introducing this style into your wardrobe for summer, without looking like you're about to fire up the barbeque.
What about the chunky shoe trend appeals to you?
I’m going to be completely honest here. I had never considered trying or styling a chunky shoe. But that’s what I love about fashion and having the opportunity to work with brands such as New Balance. I can style and create content with pieces that I wouldn’t normally pull off the rack myself. Every collaboration challenges me to step out of my comfort zone and experiment with my style. I encourage the brands I work with to throw me pieces that they may not expect to see in my feed. So when the chunky dad shoe arrived I was excited to play around with what I had in my wardrobe and style it with some pieces you wouldn’t expect. I have long skinny feet so what I like about the chunky dad shoe is the shorter wider fit, it compliments my foot shape making them look smaller than they are!
What separates a good chunky dad shoe from just a shoe you would find in your dad's wardrobe?
Clean and crisp. The soles are chunkier and higher than what my dad had in his wardrobe!
What are the best ways to style the silhouette?
I have a general rule when it comes to fashion. I don't style bulky with bulky. So if I have a wide leg pant on, I’ll style with a slimmer fitting top. When styling the chunky dad shoe, I would be careful not to overdo the baggy look. In saying that, it completely depends on your body shape as I have seen girls on the streets of NYC pulling off the ‘suit and chunky dad shoe’ look flawlessly, whereas I would disappear. Balance is key, so if you are wearing the shoe with wide leg pant accessorise with statement earrings or necklace.
What should you avoid when trying to pull off this trend?
I would personally stay away from skinny jeans, but then again you don't want to
overdo the baggy so it could work on some!
When shouldn’t you break out your chunky dad sneakers?
On the golf course, a fine dining restaurant or in the bedroom...
For someone who hasn’t worn the dad sneaker before, where should you start?
Instagram! The chunky dad shoe is dominating the news feeds this year and with a simple hashtag search, you can be inspired by people all over the world, celebrating and showcasing their unique style and interpretation of the chunky dad shoe look.
How can you dress the style up?
Blazers, jewellery and accessories. A blazer thrown over a casual outfit can effortlessly takes a look from Sunday casual to evening casual. I have fallen back in love with my pearls too so would pop my pearl earrings and bracelet on with my tweed blazer and pair with the yellow colourway.
The style has appeared at Fashion Weeks across the globe. What is a Kiwi spin on this style?
Kiwi fashion has always had a tomboy look and feel, so this is a style that I feel many kiwis would be confident pulling off. My own spin on this style is incorporating bright colours and classic elegant pieces that contrast against the casual tomboy style of the shoe.
We're all on different paths, going to different places. Whether you're beginning your journey, or are a well on your way, know there's always room to grow - You were created for more. Discover what it means to be the exception, how to overcome challenges, find inspiration, and hear from exceptional women from the NB community, Olivia Eaton, Libby Angus and Kayla Greenville, along the way.
You were made to take a step up and a step beyond the norm; to challenge the status quo; to be courageous, and to reach excellence within yourself. All that limits us from reaching our ultimate potential is ourselves. If there was a most wanted list for people who will try and stop you from pursuing your dream to be the exception, you are public enemy #1!
Fitness coach Kayla Greenville talks about aligning her body with the seasons - "We already have everything we already need to succeed, so it's about being mindful, practicing self-love, and knowing you are so much stronger than your circumstances. You have the ability to be resilient and live an exceptional life, and to grow into the person you dream of being."
The journey is always bittersweet: you'll never get to easy unless you go through hard. It's never plain sailing, often filled with curve balls coming at you at different directions, speeds, and with varying ramifications. In order to be the exception, you have to fight through these exceptional circumstances, taking this misfortune and turning it into a ladder that will lead you to your dreams.
Often it's about finding perspective - Taking a step back and assessing your thoughts, emotions and physiology. Once you're able to gage where your mind and body are at, it's about setting goals, dissecting the challenge into smaller, more achievable steps, and putting the work in. "No matter what the setbacks, keep chipping away and you will succeed," says NB sprinter Olivia Eaton.
Trusting the process and your ability, whilst difficult, is one of the most important things according to fitness athlete Libby Angus. Libby talks about the a time when she thought she was close to failure:
"For a competition I did really well in, about two or three weeks before I literally was like ‘I am giving up, I am done'. It was hitting this point that forced Libby to realise "If you sit back, relax and go with the flow" it will all come together the way it is meant to."
Finding and acting on inspiration when a challenge arises is a steadfast way to get your journey in the fast lane. Libby Angus talks about surrounding herself with real people, those who use this authenticity to connect with others. "Make a conscious decision to surround yourself with people who inspire you. Nothing will motivate you more than people who strive to be the exception, loving what they do and doing what they love. Even if you're not there yet, it's the hunger that will make you feel alive."
So take the time to do what you love, and chip away at it even after setbacks. Put energy and passion into it, and ride the wave - everything will come together in the end. In the wise words of Kayla Greenville; "every single moment is an opportunity to choose how great your life is, you get to decide."
When it comes to good health, physical activity matters. You know that exercise does your body good, but you’re too busy (or stressed) to fit it into your routine - Fair enough! Our lives are becoming increasingly bogged down by the demands of the daily grind; Attempting to maintain a good workout routine can often seem like a daunting task.
The good news here, is virtually any type of exercise will help. Often the key is finding an activity that fits into your current lifestyle - park walking, beach jogging, gym workouts, tennis, bike riding, even gardening... the list goes on. Find something that you love doing, and that works for you.
Incorporating regular activity in your daily routine can increase your overall mood and cognitive function. By focusing only on your body’s movements you can clear out those daily irritations clogging your mind, helping provide clarity and calmness in everything you do.
Taking the first step towards a new goal is often the hardest part. Sticking to a good routine is easy when you start small and have established a few stepping stones to measure your progress. If your primary goal is to increase your activity levels, getting out for a walk at lunchtime, or blocking out an hour every weekend to get into the garden can be all you need to get you on your way. Incrementally build up these bursts of activity and you will be positively surprised by your mental and physical progress.
Another important factor to consider is the power a good night of sleep.This not only eases stress-levels, but also aids in muscle recovery so you can keep up the activity you’ve introduced. Think of it as recharging your phone - it needs juice to function, and so do you!
Remember, don’t think of exercise as another ‘to-do’. Do something that suits your lifestyle - whether it’s a game of tennis, a stroll in the park or a spring clean - and make it a part of your regular routine. You’ll be on track to finding your calm for a lifetime of benefit.
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