The Sneaker Drop: April’s Big Releases From New Balance, Nike And Adidas
Illustrations by Mr Ben Lamb
For as long as we can remember, sneaker culture has been about looking back. Sure, there are cutting-edge collaborations and always new colourways, but generally, the shoes we wear now are models that herald from a previous heyday. Judging by this month’s big releases, we are in the midst of a new golden age. As New Balance presents the next iteration of its game-changing 990 running shoe, even its latest reissue points to the future. Likewise, Nike and adidas explore other realms with outside help. For this generation, it’s time to step forward.
MiUSA 990V6 by New Balance
Launched late last year, the sixth edition of New Balance’s legendary 990 recently caused a stir in vibrant hues on the feet of rapper Action Bronson. But under the guidance of Mr Teddy Santis, the founder of Aimé Leon Dore and now the creative director of New Balance’s Made in USA line, this update of the brand’s talismanic shoe still stands out, even here in a low-key black and grey colourway. And the reflective details and chunky midsole on this versatile, premium runner don’t hurt on this front.
Terrex Free Hiker 2.0 And Wander by adidas Consortium
The Gorpcore trend has meant the previously less-travelled path of trail-running and hiking sneakers is increasingly well trodden. As with Nike’s ACG line, adidas’ revitalised Terrex division has been really pushing its hardware. Part of a collab capsule with cult Japanese outdoor label And Wander, the Free Hiker 2.0 in a new Bronze Strata yellow goes further – and farther – still. It features a sock-like PRIMEKNIT upper for comfort, with a mesh made from at least 50 per cent recycled ocean plastic, to tread lighter in terms of its ecological footprint.
Kwondo 1 by Nike X PEACEMINUSONE
There’s a lot to unpack here, and we’re not just talking about in the shoe box. Following a successful reworking of the Air Force 1, K-Pop king G-Dragon’s label PEACEMINUSONE was given licence to create its own Nike silhouette. The result was the Kwondo 1, a collaboration that drew on the Seoul streetwear scene, but also… golf? The brogue-like trim and kiltie return, but in a new black and white Panda guise, inspired by the Dunk Low of the same name. Although also, by the looks of it, spectator or co-respondent shoes, which gained traction in the Roaring Twenties, but were first marketed by John Lobb for cricket. The signature embroidered daisy also perhaps recalls De La Soul, which is fitting given the rap outfit’s liberal use of disparate, out-there samples.
2002R Protection Pack by New Balance
Always listen to the new guy. Sure, they may be green, but they come with fresh ideas. That is the main lesson to be learnt from the success of New Balance’s Protection Pack series. The deconstructed aesthetic is the handiwork of Mr Yue Wu, a Pensole graduate who grew up in China playing basketball and listening to American hip-hop. Asked to play around with top-end materials and longevity, he turned the idea on its head and came up with a design that looked like it had already been worn. Or, rather, worn out: “Just beat up, but still holding together,” as he puts it. If you can hold yourself together, this new navy and grey update of his 2021 2002R is one to look out for.