All Time High

The Best Limited Edition 574s

Words: Vinny Tang

Since being reissued back in 2003, the 574 has been dipped, stitched and spritzed with countless colours, patterns and materials by some of the world’s finest brands and sneaker stores. Before four new collaborative chapters are added to the New Balance archive in 2018, let’s take a look back at some of the most notorious limited edition 574s of all time.

G-Shock x KIKS TYO x New Balance
M574J GGG ‘Glitter Gold’

At the peak of their popularity, Japanese label KIKS TYO joined forces with G-Shock and New Balance to release a capsule collection of apparel, watches and a pair of 574s. Released in 2007, the ‘G-Flash’ pack remains extremely difficult to hunt down and is highly prized by collectors. The M574J GMD ‘Midnight Darkness’ became part of sneaker folklore when it was featured on the cover of Yonehara Yasumasa’s infamous Sneaker Lover publication, but the blinding ‘Glitter Gold’ edition was undeniably the lineup’s wildest concoction.

Wisdumb x New Balance M574AE ‘Icicles’

As far as we can tell, this is the first 574 collaboration of all time. Boston-based artist Josh ‘Wisdumb’ Spivack was tapped in 2004 to decorate the newly reissued 574 with a distinctive monochrome technique. Eric Haze and Sean D’Anconia were other artists also involved in the same program.

Eric Haze x New Balance M574J HZG ‘Haze’

Eric Haze is a seminal New York graffiti artist who blazed a trail that would allow many of his peers to step into the world of commercial recognition. With his signature black and white palette and minimal graphic flourishes, Haze’s design was a simple but energetic interpretation of the 574. Despite this project’s blue-chip status among collectors, it remains Haze’s only colab with New Balance to date.

atmos x New Balance M574J KCH ‘A10’

In 2010, Japanese retailer atmos celebrated their 10-year anniversary with a string of collaborative releases. Teaming up with New Balance, the M574J KCH ‘A10’ was a follow up to their 2007 ‘Buffalo Check’ project. The eye-catching design incorporates a crazy combo of patterns and glitter speckles. New Balance doesn’t usually allow collaborators to customise logos on vintage silhouettes, but for the A10, atmos was somehow able to replace the ‘N’ branding on the medial side with an oversized ‘10’ in a collegiate font. The mini-NB logo on the toe was another noteworthy addition.

BAIT x G.I. Joe x New Balance ML574GI1 ‘Cobra Commander’

Anyone who has visited BAIT’s brick-and-mortar locations and eyeballed the display cabinets can attest to the fact that they are just as enthusiastic about toy collecting as they are about sneakers. So when BAIT announced they were collaborating with Hasbro to celebrate the G.I. Joe toy franchise, New Balance was ready to supply the 574 as a blank canvas. Inspired by the Cobra Commander, G.I. Joe’s arch nemesis, the design features a striking deep blue upper with a laser-etched snakeskin pattern.

New Balance M574J LES ‘Shogun’

Released a decade ago, the ‘Dragon & Shogun’ pack was crafted from a classy mix of suede, nubuck and leather. The four ‘Dragon’ editions featured ridiculously detailed embroidery that reflected the pack’s namesake; however, with bamboo and sword graphics sprinkled across its entire upper, the ‘Shogun’ was the real standout.

Shelflife x Dr. Z x New Balance ML574 CG ‘City of Gold’

Cape Town’s Shelflife have well and truly put South Africa on the global sneaker retail map. Their 574 ‘City of Gold’ collaboration from 2014 was designed by local artist Dr. Z in homage to the origins of Jo’burg. A striking combo of black, yellow and grey wraps the 574, with removable Velcro ‘N’ panels allowing the wearer to adjust the iconic branding on the fly. Custom deubrés and hangtags featured a mysterious local cricket known as the ‘Parktown prawn’.

mita sneakers x Oshman’s x New Balance ML574-MO ‘Mojito’

Despite being best known for their portfolio of 580 colabs, Tokyo’s mita sneakers currently hold the title for the best 574S colab of all time. Five years before that gem was released however, mita caused a stir with this refreshing ‘Mojito’ 574. Created in collaboration with Oshman’s, a local sporting goods supplier, the design was inspired by the famous cocktail and featured mint leaf deubrés and illustrated insoles.

AAAA x Eric Kot x New Balance H574JOR

In 2012, Hong Kong musician and actor Eric Kot linked up with New Balance to create this hiking boot 574. The collaboration’s aim was to raise funds and awareness for the not-for-profit AAAA (Asia Acts Against AIDS) organisation. Kot’s design, which featured sunburnt orange nubuck offset with gum soles, remains a striking vision.

Ricardo Seco x New Balance 574 Collection

In collaboration with fashion designer Ricardo Seco, New Balance released four 574 colourways inspired by Mexico’s vibrant Huichol art. The highly decorative designs are adorned with moulded beading in kaleidoscopic patterns showcasing the 574 at its best and brightest.

Ball and Buck x New Balance US574M1 ‘Kool Grey’

New Balance is rightly proud of its New England heritage. Ball and Buck, also located in Boston, are a hunting-inspired clothing brand that also manufactures their goods in the USA. With such cultural affinity, it was only a matter of time before the two brands united. The standout so far is the US574M1 ‘Kool Grey,’ which was available exclusively from Ball and Buck, along with a ‘Mountain Green’ version. With only 176 pairs made, they remain highly regarded by 574 collectors.

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