Dissecting The 247

Part 2: The Heritage DNA

The all-new 247 continues the New Balance tradition of paying tribute to the brand’s own rich running heritage, infusing the contemporary design with styling cues drawn from iconic NB models.

Side-to-side comparison of the 1300JP and 247 throat pattern

Side-to-side comparison of the 1300JP and 247 throat pattern

‘When I first started out sketching this project, the idea was always to incorporate the history of the brand into the 247,’ designer Joe Walsh explained. ‘I think it’s always been part of what we do here. We embrace the 110 years of history that we’ve got, but we also have to move it forward at the same time. All New Balance shoes share the same DNA, and we wanted the 247 to stay true to that.’

The 576, 998 and 1300 may be celebrated as icons of vintage design by sneakerheads today, but it’s important to remember that each shoe was a legitimate performance offering at the time of their release, representing New Balance’s proud commitment to craftsmanship, quality and innovation. The 247 selectively draws from this rich heritage, so let’s take a closer look at each iconic component to understand the significance of what the 247 represents.

Iconic 'Mortgage the House' New Balance 1300 advertisement

Iconic 'Mortgage the House' New Balance 1300 advertisement

The 1300

Introduced in 1985, the 1300 became the benchmark for not only running performance, it also set a new standard for the use of quality materials and affirmed New Balance’s dedication to craftsmanship.

‘The 1300 was a huge statement for the brand,’ Brad Lacey, global design director of New Balance Lifestyle confirmed, ‘It was a premium running shoe that was really refined and built with the best materials. The price tag was $130, at a time when the average price for running shoes was around half that.’

Most notably, the 1300 introduced ENCAP, a huge breakthrough in shock absorbing technology. The new ENCAP sole unit combined an EVA core encapsulated with an outer shell made from polyurethane sourced from Japan. Finished with Vibram outsoles, the 1300 package was a pinnacle statement in the mid-80s.

Since its original release, the 1300 has become a highly sought after model for New Balance collectors worldwide. Due to its enduring popularity, especially in Japan, the 1300 was retroed in 1995 as the ‘1300JP’, and has returned as a 1:1 reissue every five years since.

View more of the New Balance 1300 collection here.

"Introduced in 1985, the 1300 became the benchmark for not only running performance, it also set a new standard for the use of quality materials and affirmed New Balance’s dedication to craftsmanship."
New Balance 576 magazine feature in 1988

New Balance 576 magazine feature in 1988

The 576

Once the 1300 established ENCAP in the market, New Balance rolled out the technology across most of their running range throughout the 80s. The 576 from 1988 sported the refined ‘ENCAP Wedge’ heel design paired with a firmer EVA ‘Pushoff Platform’ under the forefoot, while still retaining the high level of quality construction runners expected from New Balance.

Brad Lacey credits the 576 as an understated, but crucial moment for New Balance. ‘If you think about the 576 – and the 574, which was based on the 576 – that design is easily our most recognisable silhouette across the world. It’s an iconic visual statement that is universally recognized as New Balance.’

View more of the New Balance 576 collection here.

998 advertisement showing the 99X lineage

998 advertisement showing the 99X lineage

The 998

The 99X series was developed by New Balance in the early-80s as a platform to introduce unparalleled innovation at a premium price point. By the turn of the decade, the running segment was heating up with a number of new technologies available on the market.

In partnership with Dupont and Bridgestone, New Balance developed a new rubber compound to supersede ENCAP in the early-90s. Debuting in the 998, ENCAP II – later renamed ABZORB – would become the company’s big technical breakthrough in cushioning and support.

The chunky 998 ABZORB midsole design’s aggressive tooling would become one of the most defining moments for New Balance during that golden era of footwear design.

View more of the New Balance 998 collection here.