New Balance 550 New Balance 550

New Balance 550

The New Balance 550 is a lifestyle sneaker from New Balance. Rooted in basketball-ready design, the silhouette was reintroduced in 2020 by the Teddy Santis-led Aimé Leon Dore (ALD).

Originally released in 1989 under a “P550” model name, the low-top silhouette features a simple, but in-vogue construction: premium smooth and perforated leather uppers coupled with breathable mesh interior lining and a rubber sole unit. As a nod to the design's vintage status, Santis' collaboration featured off-white leather and slightly-yellowed midsoles for an aged look. Supporting accents indulged in green, black, red and grey colors in line with the two-tone nature of basketball shoes throughout the 1980s. Although a favorite among savvy fashion enthusiasts, the New Balance 550 hasn't experienced the same attention, historically, of other propositions from the North American company. Runners the likes of the preceding New Balance 990 (1982) and succeeding New Balance 1500 (1993) overshadowed the made-for-basketball model. Lack of revolutionary, marketable footwear technology also likely led the low-top option to obscurity, especially when compared to other sneakers on the market at the time.

Evidenced by both stand-alone and more collaborative releases, the 550 seems poised to prevent history from repeating. European retailer, size?, previewed its own take on the 32-year-old design in January 2021, a follow-up to ALD's collaboration. Although fans of the pair have shared their preference for a vintage aesthetic across social media, they're likely to be treated with more modern general releases and special editions by old and new collaborators. Given that the Boston-based brand is celebrating the New Balance 991's 30th anniversary throughout the year, it's possible the 550 appears in capsules alongside the Made in U.K. staple.

Pricing for the New Balance 550 arrives at $110 USD, with limited and special editions having a slightly-higher $130 USD price tag.

Shopping Links