26 Jan 2011

New Balance 1500 UKG

 The shoe that melted minds and emptied bank accounts—with extensive coverage in 1988 for its $160 price tag—still remains a seminal part of many a shoe horde. We forgot to cover these before Christmas, but to leave them out would be ignorant. 

It's a slim model compared to its more conventional running siblings of the time and it looks very much of its time in a curious way, yet that late '80s tech seems—like a pair of ZX 8000s or Air Max 1s—to be part of the rebel wave than set the standard for the decade that followed. We've never seen such a revolutionary time for the humble runner than the era of the 1500's birth, and the pricetags of the time reflected the innovation and expendable incomes of the 1980s. Somehow, in the last few years, we've seen the 1500 gather a new generation of fans—the 100th anniversary pack a few years ago gave us a nice neutral version and this version represents footwear perfection too. No funny business, no daft prices...just failsafe footwear. 

The new wave of Flimby production has got the 1500 looking as good as it ever looked—we won't accept any foolish talk that US or Asian factories can match the build quality of these, and the shoe's unassuming history as professional running pick, collector's favourite and even a Lo-Life approved sneaker (presumably for both looks and aspirational cost) gives it some serious clout on a cultural level. Grey is still neutral perfection that makes them ultra versatile and doesn't let them look dated.

We still think our late-2006 collaboration version remains dangerously slept-on. Maybe we'll revisit this silhouette in the future, but in the meantime—having spent some time in Flimby seeing the next wave being built—there's some more colourways that keep it real on their way too. After all the expense back-in-the-day, the 2011 price is very reasonable indeed. Consider that they're made in the UK, and they're nothing short of a bargain.