The All-Time Greatest New Balance 1500s: Part One
Originally introduced in 1989, and designed by the legendary Steven Smith (the same man who helmed classics like the 574 and 997), the 1500 is arguably the greatest New Balance silhouette of all-time thanks to its sleek lines, moulded ENCAP midsole, and small embroidered ‘N’ logo. The 1500 may be approaching 30 years of life, but the old school runner remains a beloved icon and an NB flagship to this day.
The silhouette has long been a go-to collaborative canvas, not to mention the subject of some of the all-time best Newbie GRs. With the 30th anniversary of the 1500 nearly upon us, we’re taking a look back at some of our favourites.
Below, check out part one of our two-part series as we highlight the greatest 1500s to ever hit shelves.
New Balance 1500 ‘Robin Hood’ (2018)New Balance 1500 ‘Robin Hood’ (2018)
You don’t have to go far back in time to start coming across solid 1500 drops: the 2018 ‘Robin Hood’ release proves that New Balance don’t always need collaborative compadres to churn out instant classics. With its unimpeachable combo of green nubuck and brown leathers, these 1500s are the perfect pair of kicks for a modern-day prince of thieves.
Footpatrol x New Balance 1500 ‘Encyclopedia’ (2015)Footpatrol x New Balance 1500 ‘Encyclopedia’ (2015)
Footpatrol kicked off 2015 with a pair of 1500s that took cues from a seemingly unlikely source of inspiration: the last-ever edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Luxurious black leather and suede construction recalled the cover of the weighty tome and was beautifully contrasted by white and gold accents to go along with gum rubber outsoles. The insoles even showed the anatomy of the human foot.
Crooked Tongues x New Balance 1500 Made in England Pack (2011)Crooked Tongues x New Balance 1500 Made in England Pack (2011)
2011’s Crooked Tongues 1500s may not be the now-defunct outfit’s most iconic 1500 colab, but they definitely deserve their own time in the spotlight. Crafted in New Balance’s Flimby factory, these collaborations juxtaposed classic black/grey and white colourways with bold colour-blocking and even bolder orange and green accents.
Solebox x New Balance 1500 ‘Toothpaste’ Pack (2007)Solebox x New Balance 1500 ‘Toothpaste’ Pack (2007)
Solebox and New Balance have dropped a few coveted 1500s over the years, and 2007’s ‘Toothpaste’ two-pack was one of the best. Supposedly limited to just 216 pairs, the release coupled the likes of pearly white patent leather with matching mesh and grey suede, while also employing aqua and orange accents. Our favourite touch, though? The gum rubber outsoles and contrasting ‘ENCAP’ hit to the midsole.
New Balance 1500 ‘Cumbrian’ (2017)New Balance 1500 ‘Cumbrian’ (2017)
Another newbie but a goodie, 2017’s ‘Cumbrian’ drop put a sporty spin on the CT300, 700 and 1500 as New Balance paid homage to its English stomping grounds. We especially dug the predominately white 1500 and the way its smooth blue suede popped against the white leather and matching mesh. The tasteful green accents and specially designed tongue badges didn’t hurt this in-house design, either.
Norse Projects x New Balance 1500 ‘Danish Weather’ Pack (2013)Norse Projects x New Balance 1500 ‘Danish Weather’ Pack (2013)
Norse Projects didn’t just drop one of the greatest 1500s of all-time with 2013’s ‘Danish Weather’ release — they dropped two of them. A nod to the autumnal changing of the leaves in Copenhagen’s lush forests, as well as the cloudy rain-soaked weather that sets in for the season at that time of year, the fall-inspired drop dressed the 1500 to perfection and even swapped out the silhouette’s prototypical embroidered ‘N’ branding in favour of the 3M reflectivity of the 993’s logos.
Saint Alfred x New Balance 1500 (2013)Saint Alfred x New Balance 1500 (2013)
These may not have released until December, but Chicago’s Saint Alfred capitalised on the height of the ‘Red October’ craze with a pair of 1500s to compete with the yet-to-be-released all-red Yeezy 2. Decked out in hairy red suede with mesh underlays and a smooth leather collar, the 2013 colab bucked the usual ‘Red October’ trend by contrasting the monochromatic upper with a white midsole and gum rubber outsole, not to mention a splash of gold and special hangtags to boot.
colette x La MJC x New Balance 1500 ‘6th Anniversary’ (2007)colette x La MJC x New Balance 1500 ‘6th Anniversary’ (2007)
Michael Dupouy celebrated the 6th anniversary — of all things — of La MJC in 2007 with his own spin on the 1500. Bright pink accents were showcased alongside smooth grey leather and carbon fibre-inspired hits to the black portions of the upper. Dupouy even partnered with storied Parisian boutique colette for the exclusive launch, which was limited to just 190 pairs. The craziest part, though? These wouldn’t even prove to be the wildest colette x La MJC 1500s.
Hanon x New Balance 1500 ‘Chosen Few’ (2012)Hanon x New Balance 1500 ‘Chosen Few’ (2012)
The UK’s Hanon helped New Balance continue the storied England-made 1500 lineup in 2012 with the ‘Chosen Few’ edition of the retro runner. Swathed in shades of blue and accompanied by special dustbags, the ‘Chosen Few’ let the shoe’s construction do the talking as the various shades highlighted the panelling of the upper while the classic ‘N’ embroidery stood out in stark white against a grey nubuck backdrop.
Nice Kicks x New Balance 1500 (2011)Nice Kicks x New Balance 1500 (2011)
Nice Kicks perfectly translated its own logo into a pair of footwear with the Texas-based retailer/website’s collaborative 1500s. Released in 2011, the predominately grey release opted for multiple shades throughout its luxurious construction while its signature red excelled throughout.