Released late last week before the sneaker world was hit with the double whammy of the Kobe 9 "Masterpiece" on Saturday and the Air Yeezy "Red October" on Sunday, New Balance snuck under the radar with the Spring/Summer '14 release of their Blue Tab collection featuring three new models of their M890v3, MR1400 and MRC1600 in a black color way with white midsoles. Aimed at the fashion forward (there has to be a better term than that) athlete, they epitomize what performance style stands for: style with substance. Gone are the days where a pair of sneakers can only look good and kill your feet. If they perform at the top level, they're instantly more marketable.
I already have work through a regular pair of the MRC1600's and will gladly do so in an all black pair as well. These shoes are not only seriously comfortable, they only weigh 150g / 5.4 oz (size 9). For reference, that's only 10 grams more than an iPhone 4S.
And it's a shoe.
Released in very limited quantities at some of the most well-known menswear shops in Europe (Norse Store, Size?, End Clothing, Tres Bien, etc), they are obviously targeting the menswear community that doesn't see athleticism as a hinderance to their skinny jeans. Fortunately, that demographic is growing and hopefully will be the focus of more future collaborations, seeing as now there are more versions of clothing and shoes that have a big X between two brand names than ever before. Give me more Ronnie Fieg x Asics, more New Balance Blue Tab, someone get BAPE and INOV8 together, Under Armour and Undefeated or PLEASE someone and Buscemi (not that I'd drop a G on sneakers, but they'd probably look great). I'd gladly hunt out cool pieces that not only look good but perform better too and I think there are many many more that think the same.
Hopefully this trend extends to women's shoes as well. As of now, its a very menswear dominant trend but the many of the same women who spend thousands on Louboutin's and Alaïa's would gladly shell out a premium price for a premium stylish performance shoe.