29.06.22FeaturesNew BalanceSponsored

The New Balance 2002R 'Backyard Legends' is 'Up There' with the Best

Up There x New Balance 2002 Backyard Legends M2002RUT

Australian boutique Up There have belted out their first ever New Balance collaboration, the 2002R ‘Backyard Legends’. The green, white and purple bangers – billed as a ‘shoe ready for suburban life’ – made their debut in a hilariously chaotic short film detailing a chase through UT’s Melbourne hometown.

While the colab was first leaked the old-school way in the pages of Sneaker Freaker Issue 47, we hit up the Backyard Legends at Up There to tell the tale of the ‘Backyard Legends’!

Congrats on your first ever New Balance collaboration! After carrying the brand since day one, how does it feel to finally have your own colourway?
It means the world. We have been dreaming of this from before we opened the store, so to finally get the chance to design a pair of New Balance is amazing.

A NB colab is a big deal for any retailer – especially one in Australia. How did this opportunity come about?

You know the sayings? ‘Good things come to those who wait’, ‘patience is a virtue’, ‘persistence is key’; well, after 12 years, it all finally came true. Our local New Balance team have been instrumental in getting this release and we can’t thank them enough. We have loved and supported the brand since day one and it feels amazing to finally get the golden ticket. We honestly didn’t think it would ever happen and had actually labelled these ‘About Time’ as a now not-so inside joke between us and NB.

Up There x New Balance 2002 Backyard Legends M2002RUT
Up There x New Balance 2002 Backyard Legends M2002RUT,

Explain the decision behind using the 2002R as the base template.
The 2002R was a no brainer for us. One, because New Balance told us that was the shoe we could collaborate on, but two, because it’s a bloody great shoe! We’re still dreaming of a Made in USA 990v3 or Made in UK 991, and the 2002R is a great stepping stone to those models. The panelling of the 2002R is actually great, and we had so much fun trying to make the most of the shoe.

Tell us the story behind the poppin’ green and purple combo, and this release in general?

The concept with this shoe started with us revisiting New Balance’s ‘Blue Tab’ series and creating a shoe that could have been a continuation of the project if it kept going.

Up There x New Balance 2002 Backyard Legends M2002RUT
Up There x New Balance 2002 Backyard Legends M2002RUT
Up There x New Balance 2002 Backyard Legends M2002RUT

What were some of the interesting thematic inspirations, colours or materials sampled during development?
Combining heritage and innovation were the main inspiration. For example, fusing some panels, having the option of Sure Laces or adding an elasticated shroud to mimic triathlon shoes and then pairing these with classic 990v3 details.

Eagle-eyed NB nerds have already spotted the bespoke ‘AUS’ branding and 990v3 tongue. Talk us through this. Also... how many arms did you have to twist to be granted these custom details?

Whenever we do a collaboration we try and push the envelope. When we came up with the idea to incorporate the 990v3 tongue, we had the thought ‘how cool would it be to have “AUS” instead of “USA”?’ So, we put it on there assuming it would get flagged before sampling, and then skip a few steps (with no mention of the ‘AUS’), the sample arrives and has it on the tongue! We couldn’t believe it! And that was that – it’s stayed ever since.

What are some other unique features of the colab you’d like to point out?

This shoe is feature rich! We’ve given a few away, like the tongue, fused panels, etc. We’ll leave the rest for the keen-eyed New Balance fans.

Up There x New Balance 2002 Backyard Legends M2002RUT
Up There x New Balance 2002 Backyard Legends M2002RUT

Many sneakerheads will hope this won’t be the only UT x NB colab. What would you do with the next pair?
We have so many different concepts in the bank, but you never know what you’re going to do until you see the shoe you’re working on and know when it’s releasing. Either way, you best believe we’ll be thinking outside the box and pushing the envelope once again!

The Up There x New Balance 2002R releases in-store at Up There on July 15, then will be available on their web store the following day.

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