The retro-leaning UXC72BB2 is the coolest silhouettes from NB yet
New Balance has been doing rather incredible things to their sneakers. Like so many athletic brands, they look back to see what they could bring back to the present, and with panache. But rather than hybridising or deconstructing, or, as the trend seems to be, creating a new bombastic heel, New Balance enhances the selected kicks’ old-school vibes, with a strong fashion hand. This is so true of the XC-72, a relook at at least two other silhouettes, the 237 and the 327 (our current favourite). The running-shoe-of-yore vibe is unmistakable, and with the visible outsole threads, reminds us of the very appealing and able Loewe Flow Runner. The New Balance XC-72 is, of course, more affordable, but no less stylish. The brand even boldly describe is as “aggressively experimental”.
Part of its appeal to us as fashion-forward kicks is the colour story, which New Balance simply called “Bone/Multi”—a neutral base on which colour-blocking is judiciously applied. Some sneakerheads call it “retro-futuristic”. We would not go that far, preferring to see the chromatic partnership as part Marni, part Junya Watanabe. The suede and nylon upper is primarily split in the middle to allow different colours to take up space on both sides. What’s additionally appealing is that the outsole too is halved: bi-coloured lengthwise, with a thick black line that runs through the middle. In the front, near the toe box, you can see the threads. At the rear, the heel and the heel clip are split, allowing the mid-sole the jut out (those who wear US size 11 and above, do watch out when you are alighting an MRT train!).
The XC-72 first launched in August as a collaboration with the French label Casablanca, one of the winners of last year’s LVMH Prize. We weren’t too crazy about the candy-wrapper colours at that time, and did not pay much attention to the sneakers. Then came this uncollaborated release. The dusty colours, geometrically applied, truly give the shoes new life, and just in time. We are not putting ourselves through another raffle (Nike X Sacai X Clot!!!) and we were starting to get bored with those kicks that still ride on the faded glory of ugly.
New Balance XC-72 “Bone/Multi”, SGD189.00, is available at DSMS and the New Balance e-store. Product photos: New Balance. Illustration: Just So