New Balance x Concepts "City Rivalry" Pack

Now I'm not one for Concepts collaborations usually, plenty of people can vouch for my ramblings about their previous work with NB, and I don't own any of their collaborations, but their last few pieces have caught my eye, particularly the Trailbuster in all it's 3M glory, and the 998 from this very recent "City Rivalry" Pack. I've already taken a look at this pack here over on New Balance Gallery, but I got my hands on a couple of pairs thanks to my mate Joe, so I took them out for a spin.

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The New Balance x Concepts “City Rivalry” Pack is a two shoe pack which is inspired by Major League Baseball and the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

Concepts have stores in both New York and Boston, and in case you didn’t know, New Balance infact have a pretty big presence in baseball, and if you were to visit Fenway Park in Boston, you’d be hard pushed to miss the huge New Balance sign which resides there.

So pulling all that together, we have the beginnings of a great collaboration in the form of the “City Rivalry” Pack. As mentioned previously, the pack consists of two shoes, a 997 which represents New York, and a 998, which represents Boston.

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Let’s take a look at the 997 first, and for this model, Concepts have taken cue from the historic design behind the New York Yankees team’s logo, adopted in 1909 and originally a medal signifying the highest decoration for bravery exhibited by public safety officers.

Personally, I think this colour is a little played out, and it definitely isn't my favourite from the pack, but the devil is in the detail. I reckon if Concepts had the option at the time to do some of their previous 998 colourways on a 997, then I  might have bought into them.

Anyway, the 997 comes dressed in a premium teal suede upper with a pebbled leather reflective tongue, leather lining, and a Concepts-branded footbed and custom designed packaging modelled after the well known ballgame snack Cracker Jack.

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Next up is the 998, and most definitely my favourite pair from the pack, and one that I'm glad to have gotten a hold of. I've got a bit of a thing for red shoes to be honest, the Colette 1500's, SNS 577's, and so on, so these are right up there.

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For this shoe, Concepts have executed it in a rust red and green suede as a homage to the clay baseball diamonds around the league, as well as the low saturation greeney grey on the heel wrap inspired by the green facades along the historic Yawkey Way.

Shouts to New Balance UK for the kind gift, it is always greatly appreciated!

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NB Gallery 2 - NB1 Custom

Last month, I was lucky enough to get the chance to design two pairs of New Balance from the NB1 custom site, which you can find here. It's taken some time to get round to shooting each pair, but first up, I've taken a look at "NB Gallery 2".

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I don't know about you, but over the last few years, I've spent a lot of time on the New Balance custom site designing colourways on the 574, and then the 998 when it was introduced not so long ago, so it was good to finally get my hands on a couple of pairs. The current options at the time of designing were suede and mesh, along with reflective detailing, but currently nubuck leather accents are also available.

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In total, there are 18 parts that you can customise on the 998, and my wish list on the NB site was already stacked full of previous designs, but I wanted to create something new, and go with something that would be super wearable for me, so it was a no brainer to start the base colour off with navy on the saddle, tongue, and base underlay. The 'navy' actually turned out to be a lot darker than I had thought it would be, and looks almost black.

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Usually, you would use a darker colour around the toe wrap and heel wrap, but I went with 'ocean blue' on these areas, as well as matching the lining and tongue stitching.

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Next up are there accents, which include the base accent, and heel accent, and for these two parts, I wanted there to be some form of reflective detailing on the shoes, so these were the perfect places for it. I used 'juniper', which is one of my favourite colourways available from the current palette, and I think it adds the perfect amount of pop against the navy and ocean blue.

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For the two piece 'N', I've always been a fan of a reflective backer, so I went with reflective 'juniper' to match the other reflective accents, and then 'asteroid' on the top piece, also in reflective material. You can also customise the speed lace and the collar accent, which are molded plastic pieces, and I just used 'black' on these to keep things simple and discreet.

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Now to onto the rear of the shoe, which is one of the most customisable areas because of the fact this is where you can really personalise the design with some text. I was tempted to not bother at all, but I ended up going very simple with "NB" on the left heel, and "GALLERY2" on the right shoe, both in 'navy' so that it blended it rather than stood out. While we're on the subject of the heel area, I used 'asteroid' for the heel tab, and 'ocean blue' for the NB logo stitching.

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There's not much left to go over now, just the laces and the sole unit. For the laces, if they aren't white, I always try to match the laces to the midsole colour, or to the tongue colour, so I went with 'navy'. There are only four sole unit options, and I wanted to make use of two of them since I was designing two pairs, so for this pair, I went with the 'cyclone' sole unit as it best matched the colourway of the upper.

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Check out what they look like on-foot below, and stay tuned to my site and www.newbalancegallery.co.uk for more on NB1 in the future. I still have one more personal design to cover, as well as some exciting content to come for NB1 themselves. In the meantime, if you want to check out my design on the NB1 site, then click here. Big shout to NB1 for giving me the opportunity!

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