The All-Time Greatest New Balance 1500s: Part 2
The Steven Smith–designed New Balance 1500 is arguably the greatest NB silhouette ever created and, as we saw in part one of our ‘All-Time Greatest’ retrospective, has also been the canvas for a bevy of NB’s best-ever drops. From Footpatrol’s Encyclopedia Britannica–inspired pair and Solebox’s ‘Toothpaste’ pack to Norse Projects’ nod to Danish weather and NB’s own ‘Robin Hood’ creation, the 1500 has proven itself to be the cream of New Balance’s retro running crop many times over.
As the iconic design prepares to celebrate its 30th birthday, we’re highlighting some more of our favourite 1500s in the second and final part of our ‘All-Time Greatest’ retrospective. The 30-year-old classic is poised for a massive 2019, so expect a bevy of brand-new drops to join this storied stable in the year to come.
From Provider’s uber-limited 2008 release to Crooked Tongues’ badass nod to Black Beard, peruse some more of the best-ever 1500s below.
Provider x New Balance 1500 (2008)Provider x New Balance 1500 (2008)
Released in 2008, Australian boutique Provider’s take on the 1500 has gone down as one of the greatest NBs to ever see the light of day. Crafted in England, the special colab was swathed in premium materials throughout, but the highlight was definitely the combo of smooth white leather and bright blue nubuck. These are one of the most-coveted 1500s of all time, and with good reason: they were nearly impossible to get outside of Provider’s in-store launch as 40 pairs were released online, while just 11 more made their way to Solebox in Berlin.
colette x Undefeated x La MJC x New Balance 1500 (2012)colette x Undefeated x La MJC x New Balance 1500 (2012)
Even better than La MJC’s colette-assisted 6th anniversary 1500 from 2007 was Michael Dupouy’s 2012 take on the silhouette. Once again designed with a little help from the storied Parisian boutique, the 2012 collaboration brought Undefeated into the fold, and coupled a UCLA-inspired combo of sky blue and gold with leopard-spotted lining, a speckled midsole, and a gum rubber outsole.
Crooked Tongues x New Balance 1500 ‘Black Beard’ (2006)Crooked Tongues x New Balance 1500 ‘Black Beard’ (2006)
It was a pirate’s life for the UK’s Crooked Tongues way back in 2006 when the now defunct outfit took the 1500 onto the high seas. Inspired by the most infamous pirate to ever set sail, the ‘Black Beard’ release donned a badass combination of black and grey with suede and mesh construction, specially-designed logos, and bloody red accents throughout.
Solebox x New Balance 1500 ‘Purple Devil’ (2006)Solebox x New Balance 1500 ‘Purple Devil’ (2006)
Solebox have been responsible for some of the best sneaker collaborations to ever fly off shelves, and 2006’s ‘Purple Devil’ 1500 is perhaps the Berlin-based retailer’s most coveted. Showcasing a perforated purple suede toe box with a matching mudguard and toe bumper, the rest of the design opted for a predominately black look of leather and suede. The finishing touch? The classic combo of a white midsole and gum rubber outsole.
New Balance 1500 ‘Coastal Cuisine’ Pack (2018)New Balance 1500 ‘Coastal Cuisine’ Pack (2018)
This year has seen a bevy of slick in-house 1500s from NB. The ‘Coastal Cuisine’ pack includes two of our favourites thanks to its unique colour-blocking and bold heel panels. We’re particularly partial to the ‘Flame Orange/Porcelain Green’ colourway, which is one of the most eye-catching looks to ever make its way to an NB.
New Balance 1500 ‘Caviar & Vodka’ Pack (2018)New Balance 1500 ‘Caviar & Vodka’ Pack (2018)
Like the ‘Coastal Cuisine’ pack, the ‘Caviar & Vodka’ duo is another perfect illustration of incredible in-house colourways from New Balance in 2018. The England-made drop offers up two of the cleanest 1500s ever crafted, as understated colour-blocked perfection meets premium leather, smooth nubuck, buttery suede, and breathable mesh.
New Balance 1500 in Tan Leather (2016)New Balance 1500 in Tan Leather (2016)
No 1500 has let the materials do the talking quite like 2016’s in-house execution in tan leather. Essentially a leather boot transformed into a low-top retro-inspired sneaker, these 1500s were constructed almost entirely of tan leather, incorporating just a splash of nubuck in a slightly darker shade. The monochromatic look perfectly showcased the leathery build, while white accents popped on the midsole and embroidered branding.
New Balance 1500 ‘Norwegian Wood’ Pack (2015)New Balance 1500 ‘Norwegian Wood’ Pack (2015)
2015’s ‘Norwegian Wood’ pack nicely captured the look of a Scandinavian fall with an autumnal two-pack of unorthodox colour combos. In typical 1500 fashion, the duo didn’t skimp on the construction front, opting for brightly-coloured leathers and matching mesh to go with earthy tones on the suede and nubuck panels. While one paired deep teal blue and burgundy with black and grey, the other came in a tried-and-true combination of olive and orange with navy blue contrasts and a tan midfoot. Both were capped off with reflective ‘N’ logos to sweeten the deal.
Concepts x New Balance 1500 ‘Freedom Trail’ (2009)Concepts x New Balance 1500 ‘Freedom Trail’ (2009)
When you think of Concepts x New Balance collaborations, 2009’s 1500 may not be the first that comes to mind, but it helped to set the stage for many of the coveted colabs that followed. Inspired by the Freedom Trail, and released alongside a matching 875, this historic nod to Boston echoed the celebrated landmark with an all-brown upper – and just the right amount of bright red with hits to the midsole and lacing.
Sneakersnstuff x New Balance 1500 ‘RGB’ (2009)Sneakersnstuff x New Balance 1500 ‘RGB’ (2009)
Storied Swedish retailer Sneakersnstuff celebrated their 10-year anniversary back in 2009, in part, by linking up with New Balance for a colourful ‘RGB’ pack that featured the 577, 1500 and 1700. The 1500, in particular, is a flawless example of the way the silhouette’s panels lend themselves to a variety of colour-blocking schemes as a classic NB combination of grey, black and white was juxtaposed with a bright green heel, matching mudguard, and additional applications throughout.
Solebox x New Balance 1500 ‘Nazar Eye’ (2008)Solebox x New Balance 1500 ‘Nazar Eye’ (2008)
The ‘Nazar Eye’ is one of Solebox’s most subtle collaborative endeavours, but it’s also one of their best. Released back in 2008, the kicks take inspiration from the idea of the ‘Evil Eye’ and fade from dark to light as black leather and mesh are joined by a grey mudguard and white midsole. Aside from the gum rubber outsole, the lone hits of colour come in the form of the ‘1500’ embroidery, matching heel ‘NB’ logos, and special eyeball beading on the laces.