The All-Time Greatest New Balance 998s: Part 2
Sneaker Freaker readers love the New Balance 998. After compiling 10 killer colourways in Part 1, here are 15 more excellent editions to revisit in the 998’s back catalogue.
‘Day Tripper’ (2013)‘Day Tripper’ (2013)
Back in 2013, New Balance regularly released themed collections for their Made In USA line, and the ‘Day Tripper’ pack is an example of such. It included two 998s – the M998RR and M998GGO – featuring spicy orange accents on a classic two-tone grey palette. Pictured: the M998GGO – arguably the more tasteful edition.
J.Crew ‘Death Valley’ (2018)J.Crew ‘Death Valley’ (2018)
In 2018, J.Crew and New Balance joined forces to curate a collection of 998s inspired by national parks in America. One of those was an ode to Death Valley, the expansive desert stretching across Nevada and California. Brown and tan tones ensconced the upper, reflecting the park’s baron landscape.
‘BR’ (2011)‘BR’ (2011)
These black and red 998s foreshadowed many excellent colourways that would arrive in the following years. These deviated from the OG’s suede and mesh construction by adding textiles to the toe box. The slightly ecru laces also beat a trend by a whole decade.
J.Crew ‘Hilltop Blues’ (2015)J.Crew ‘Hilltop Blues’ (2015)
In 2015, J.Crew were tapped by New Balance once again, this time to craft another iteration of the 998. Injected with ABZORB tech, the ‘Hilltop Blues’ was inspired by the swathe of local baseball courts across New York.
‘GY’ (2009)‘GY’ (2009)
Standard NB nomenclature would usually denote ‘GY’ as grey, but this 2009 pair’s SKU refers to the grey and yellow accents on its upper. It’s also the perfect sort of nerdery that defines hardcore collectors, for whom the 998 is key.
Premier (2015)Premier (2015)
Premier, a Michigan-based specialty skate store, kicked off their relationship with New Balance in 2015. The duo decided to work together on the NB998, and the result was inspired by the birth of the automobile – a nod to Premier’s hometown and the state’s rich history in the auto industry.
‘GRB’ (2009)‘GRB’ (2009)
Again, nicknames have only really been ascribed to NB colabs or more recent releases. On paper, the only thing separating the aforementioned ‘GY’ and ‘GRB’ is a couple of letters. This pair looks pretty unassuming, but that berry accent on the midsole and N logo is excellent.
Concepts ‘C-Note’ (2013)Concepts ‘C-Note’ (2013)
Fun fact: the current American hundred-dollar bill featuring the blue stripe was introduced in 2013. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Concepts linked with NB to craft the 998 ‘C-Note’. Like its inspiration, this pair commands major currency on the market.
Concepts ‘Tannery Mint’ (2013)Concepts ‘Tannery Mint’ (2013)
The year 2013 was good for Concepts, New Balance, and the 998, with the duo following the ‘C-Note’ with the ‘Tannery Mint’. Sticking to the monetary inspiration, the collaboration looked to the United States Mint, decking out the upper in subtle green suede and orange pops.
NexusVII (2010)NexusVII (2010)
NexusVII have been putting their own twist on Japanese streetwear for over 20 years. Their take on the 998 in 2010 is a pure homage to the wheat workboots transplanted from New Hampshire to Nakameguro (via Shibuya).
‘Connoisseur Guitar’ (2015)‘Connoisseur Guitar’ (2015)
Throughout 2015, New Balance released the ‘Connoisseur Guitar’ pack, with multiple stalwart silhouettes decked out in colourways inspired by American guitars. In this pack, the 998’s upper resembled the OG grey, albeit with a lighter shade. Coloured laces, gold accents and a special swing tag make for a luxe look.
‘Pool Blue’ (2014)‘Pool Blue’ (2014)
Typical grey NBs can be a little staid for some. This 2014 GR definitely stood out on shelves with its near-monochrome pastel blue mixed with white and grey. It was also an early example of NB colourways getting nicknames.
‘Explore by Sea’ (2016)‘Explore by Sea’ (2016)
Continuing their celebration of American life, New Balance released the ‘Explore by Sea’ pack in 2016, and it included these crispy green 998s. The insole branding of the 998CSAM is a favourite feature for many!
998CREA ‘Explore by Air’ (2016)998CREA ‘Explore by Air’ (2016)
New Balance’s ‘Explore by Air’ pack from 2016 was chocka-block and included a 997 and two 998 colourways (although the fan favourite was the 998CREA). This Made in USA heater arrived in a tonal grey build with subtle orange and navy pops.
Todd Snyder ‘Dark & Stormy’ (2018)Todd Snyder ‘Dark & Stormy’ (2018)
Todd Snyder, the founder behind the eponymous label, champions Made In USA NB as much as his former employer J.Crew, where he was head of menswear. His ongoing partnership delivered the ‘Dark & Stormy’ 998, inspired by his favourite drink. Story aside, the speckled midsoles are right up SF’s alley!
Get even more All-Time Greatest roundups here.