A Look Back at the New York Road Runners x New Balance Colabs
Originally founded back in 1970, with just 55 finishers, the New York City Marathon has evolved into one of the world's preeminent long-distance running events and the single biggest marathon on earth. 2018's race played host to an astonishing 52,812 finishers, while 105,184 people applied to take part.
2019's race is shaping up to be even bigger, as a whopping 117,709 folks submitted applications to the race's free, non-guaranteed drawing. Less than nine per cent – 10,150 – of those entries were ultimately selected for the race, while the rest of the field will be made up of slots given to world-class runners and charity partners.
Of those charity partners, NYC-based non-profit New York Road Runners (NYRR) is the most prominent, hosting hundreds of annual races, events and programs throughout the Five Boroughs to inspire people through running. Since 2015, NYRR and the New York City Marathon have also been partnering with New Balance to further elevate the November race and its philanthropic endeavours. And you know what that means for sneakerheads: oodles of limited-edition NYRR x NB footwear.
With 2019's November 3 race date just around the corner, we're taking a comprehensive look back at the NYRR x NB colabs to date – including this year's brand new drop.
Check out our history of NYRR and New Balance's race-ready collaborations below, and shop the 2019 drops now via the NB webstore – they're the next best thing to getting an official bib and spot at the starting line.
The New York Road Runners x New Balance relationship didn’t begin its official rollout until 2016, but NB set the stage for future collaborations with a colourful limited-edition drop ahead of 2015’s race in the Big Apple. The NYC-branded release came in the form of men’s and women’s colourways of the comfy Vazee Pace, each with bright orange accents and a healthy dose of reflectivity. NYC’s iconic skyline even appeared on the moulded external heel counters of each REVlite-cushioned pair.
2016 saw the NYRR x NB partnership expand in a major way. Not only did NB become the official sponsor of the Bronx 10-Mile and the 5th Avenue Mile races, but the brand also opened a new NYRR Running Center near Columbus Circle as a running services location and retail hub. To celebrate, New Balance followed up 2015’s Vazee Pace NYC Marathons with a couple more race-ready colabs for 2016. Special editions of the neutral Vazee Pace’s successor, the Vazee Pace V2, and 860v7 stability runner debuted in time for the 2016 NYC Marathon, each clad in an apropos combo of grey and navy. Neon blue accents were also thrown into the mix for good measure and are what really set these off.
After their partnership officially kicked off in 2016, New Balance became the full-blown official footwear and apparel sponsor of New York Road Runners in 2017. This meant that NB not only took over NYRR’s own e-commerce platform, and produced all of the shirts for the organisation’s weekly races, but became the featured sponsor for all of NYRR’s major races throughout the Five Boroughs – including the granddaddy of them all, the NYC Marathon itself.
As a result, New Balance dropped its most comprehensive NYC Marathon collection yet. The collaborative drop included everything from jackets and singlets to tees and vests – all with speckled gold accents as a nod to the twinkling lights that greet marathoners when they first arrive in The City That Never Sleeps. As for footwear, NB dropped special editions of the Fresh Foam 1080v7, 860v8, Fresh Foam Zante v3, and 1400v5, thus offering up a little something for everyone. While colourways spanned from bright blues and reds to understated neutrals, metallic gold accents and official logo treatments tied everything together in style.
New Balance and New York Road Runners followed in 2017’s footsteps for their 2018 NYC Marathon drop, once again releasing a full range of apparel to go along with a comprehensive footwear lineup that offered the go-to stability of the Fresh Foam 1080v8 and 860v9 along with the REVlite-cushioned 1400v6 – New Balance’s premier racing flat at the time. For our money, though, the best of the bunch was the slick FuelCell Impulse. The knit black bootie-style upper gave the Impulse the most contemporary aesthetic of the bunch, while the copper accents were a tribute to the original look of the Statue of Liberty.
The past four years of New York Road Runners x New Balance collaborations have culminated in the release of 2019’s collection, which is marked by black and navy bases punctuated by neon accents as a nod to the ‘natural grit and neon lights that colour the city’. The energy-returning FuelCell Echo continues the success of 2018’s scene-stealing Impulse and its modern knit upper, while the 860v10 is the collection’s workhorse training shoe. The Fresh Foam 1080v10, on the other hand, combines the soft rebound of Fresh Foam cushioning with a foot-cradling upper. Finally, the 1500v6 is the perfect balance of lightweight responsiveness, uncompromised stability, and foot-hugging security, all wrapped up in the boldest race-ready package NYRR and NB have cooked up yet.