Originating in Stockholm, Swedish duo Peter and Erik have been in the business for well over ten years now, and are widely regarded as two of the best in this industry. Due to their popularity and successfulness in Stockholm, in 2005 they opened a second store in Malmo, and subsequently took their business overseas and have recently settled in London. With their success came many opportunities, and Sneakersnstuff have collaborated with many brands over the years, having been named as the 'King of collabs' numerous times. For many years now, New Balance have been collaborating with stores across the globe, but very few have as strong a relationship with New Balance like Swedish heavyweights Sneakersnstuff do. In fact, New Balance were one of the first brands to give Sneakersnstuff the opportunity to do a collaboration.
New Balance x Sneakersnstuff "Round 1"
As the title of the collaboration suggests, the first collaboration between New Balance and Sneakersnstuff came in 2005, and it wasn't without drama, that's for sure. However, mistakes sometimes pay off and when it comes down to footwear, it usually makes things a little more interesting.
The Sneakersnstuff pair were invited to the famous Flimby factory in Cumbria, England, and they knew that the visit was mostly about doing a collaboration, but around this time, it was still relatively early days for NB UK on the collaborating front. After receiving a grand tour of the factory, they had very little time to come up with the designs for these shoes, but knew the model that they wanted to work on, and started to hand pick the materials they wanted to use, so that was a good start at least.
There were only 96 pairs of each colourway produced for the "Round 1" pairs, a time when New Balance collaborations were extremely limited, with sub 200 pairs seen very very often.
Image from Complex.
The 577SNS1 was designed by Erik and it draws inspiration from the Swedish flag, and also the flag of the Canary Islands as this was the birthplace of Erik's father-in-law. The shoe features blue suede, and yellow leather on the upper, with a white leather perforated toebox, all sat on the traditional Encap 577 sole unit.
Image from Size Eleven.
Material options were limited at the Flimby factor, however, they are well known for their premium materials, and we see this on Peter's design, from the leather toe box to the suede heel wrap. A classic design, which was slightly inspired by the classic 577 in navy and the 997 in grey, uses all these colours and a clean white leather toe wrap and perforated toe box with mixes of suede on the rest of the upper.
As I mentioned previously, the first collaboration wasn't without drama, and the SNS guys got a little more than they had originally bargained for.
577SNS1 "The Secret Colourway"
Image from Complex.
As can be seen in the first 577SNS1 posted a couple of pictures above, Erik's Round 1 samples were blue and yellow, they way he designed them, but when they received the pairs, Flimby had changed the blue to more of a mint green and also added some more yellow to the shoe.
It wasn't the shoe Erik designed, but they decided to release them anyway, but rather than releasing pictures of them prior to launch, they had a countdown clock on the Sneakersnstuff website for 'The Secret 577'. Unfortunately, some pictures managed to leak a few minutes before the launch, but the shoe was well received and all 96 pairs sold out.
New Balance x Sneakersnstuff "Round 2"
Two years on from their first collaboration, they were back, and once again, revisiting the 577, a model which had quickly became one of their favourites from the New Balance arsenal.
This time, rather than the original 577 sole unit, they wanted to do something different and have an all white sole unit (outsole included), which wasn't exactly received well, but it works, and compliments both colourways extremely well.
Both colourways were produced in 252 pairs each, so there were 504 pairs in total for the set, which was quite a lot at the time of release but unfortunately this had to be the number as it was the minimum for a new sole unit then.
For Peter's colourway, he used the same premium synthetic leather which was used on the original 1500, along with some premium pig skin suede. The yellow New Balance detailing is a nice touch and looks good against the bluey/grey colourway.
Images from Complex.
The 577GPI is arguably one of the best 577's around, that earth tone colourway works perfectly and it has some of the best materials ever used on a New Balance. One unusual touch on this shoe is the pink lining, and unfortunately, this wasn't available at Flimby so Erik had to source the pink silky smooth lining himself.
New Balance x Sneakersnstuff "Round 3"
There was a bit of a familiar theme by the time the third round of collaborations came about, I guess that was one of the benefits of having two people behind a store - two shoes each time, and often two very different takes on the colourways.
For the third round of the New Balance x Sneakersnstuff collaborartions, did you really expect them to work on any model other than the 577? Not a chance, it was almost a tradition by this point, but a very good one at that.
Much like "Round 2", Erik and Peter wanted to change up the midsole a little, and now Flimby had the ability to create a midsole that was different to the traditional 577 midsole without having to produce larger quantities of the shoe. This is why "Round 3" has a smaller production run of 150 pairs each, in comparison to the 252 pairs each for the last round.
As you might have gathered by now, Peter likes to keep his colourways simple, but always with the most premium of materials, so for "Round 3" he did a black upper with mostly suede, but also some leather and hints of 3M. Similar to an artist signing his work, Peter darkened the 'P' of the 'ENCAP' on the midsole to mark his pair.
Images from Complex.
Much like his "Round 1 and 2" colourways (577SNS1 and 577GPI), Erik pulled together something a lot more colourful. The shoe features a lime green, light blue, and navy blue suede upper, along with a purple mesh toe box. Similar to Peter's pair, he also went for the signature touch on the midsole, highlighting the 'E' from the other letters, and also doing the same to all the 'E's' on the tongue.
Make sure you check out this interview via Sneakerfreaker with Erik and Peter regarding the "Round 3" collaborations with New Balance.
New Balance x Sneakersnstuff "RGB Pack"
This time, SNS teamed up with New Balance to produce this pack in celebration of their tenth anniversary after they first opened their doors in 1999. The pack duped the RGB Pack (red, green and blue - simply the three colours used to render colours in an electronic display), consisted of three different models; 577, 1500 and 1700 - red, green and blue, respectively.
This was the fourth collaboration with New Balance that Erik and Peter worked on, and if it wasn't already evident that they were the masters of materials, then this pack confirms it. The guys at SNS each worked on a shoe individually; Peter worked the 577, Johan the 1500 and Erik the 1700.
The three shoes were Made in England at the legendary Flimby factory, and all consist of the high-grade premium materials that were consistently used around this time. They also sport the very sought after 'original shape' if you must, which makes them just that little bit more delightful.
The 577 is decked out red suede and leather, has a pigskin perforated suede toebox and some 3M flashes for good measure, and of course, represents the "red" of the "RGB Pack".
The 1500 has some plush leather on the tongue, and a mainly suede upper in green and grey, with a deep white mesh toe box and some 3M piping, and represents the "green" of the "RGB Pack".
The 1700 comes in a couple of shades of blue with some yellow, and features to the ripstop upper and faux nubuck but the man-made materials are completely vegan, so a perfect shoe if you're into that and/or appreciate the diversity. This pair represents the "blue" of the "RGB Pack".
Check out the below image from EU Kicks of the full New Balance x Sneakersnstuff "RGB Pack".
New Balance x Sneakersnstuff x Milkcrate Athletics
For Sneakersnstuff's fifth collaboration with New Balance, they revisited the 577, which they are particularly well known for using in their earlier collaborations, a favourite model of theirs indeed. This time they partnered up with Aaron LaCrate of Milkcrate Athletics, and Baltimore meets Stockholm to produce two 577 make-ups.
The collaboration comes about through friendship and also a mutual love for footwear, and both sides agreed to have two separate colourways, one of which represented Milkcrate Athletics, and the other represents Sneakersnstuff Stockholm.
The New Balance 577SN1 is "Easter egg-colourful" and if you were to hazard a guess, 99% of you would probably work out that this was the pair put together by Aaron of Milkcrate. Aaron's refreshing and vibrant personality and style shines through on this pair, decked out in pastel coloured suede, and some white perforated leather.
Images from Sneakersnstuff.
The SNS side of the collaboration comes correct with a subtle grey colourway, very traditional of New Balance as a brand itself. Lush suede and white perforated leather is also used on this pair, mirroring the 577SN1 except for the colourway.
Check out the following video for the collaboration with a little insight into the relationship of Milkcrate and SNS, and also some details about the 577's.
Gary Warnett of Crooked Tongues interviewed both Erik and Peter of Sneakersnstuff, and also Aaron of Milkcrate Athletics, ahead of the release of this shoe, so be sure to check it out here, as it makes for a very interesting read.
New Balance CT300PSN x SNS "1999"
So, this collaboration with New Balance is a little bit different from all the previous ones, because instead of working on an archive running model, NB proposed the CT300, a Made in UK tennis shoe which was first released in 1979.
This collaboration would come as a part of a set of 4, alongside make-ups from hanon shop, Firmament and 24 Kilates. The CT300 features an extremely lightweight upper, which consists of closed mesh and suede overlays. It is also built with superior cushioning and the unique sole unit of polyurethane and encapsulated gum rubber provides great durability.
Diving into the archives and bringing back a piece of history seemed like a good opportunity for the SNS guys to revisit how their Stockholm store first looked in 1999. When the Stockholm store was first opened in 1999, the walls were painted grey, a colour more subtle than white, and one which would distract attention away from the products. The store wasn't exactly the largest space, so to make it feel bigger, the ceiling was painted white, and a burgundy border was added at the top of the walls. So that's the inspiration behind the colourway, and add in the premium materials, which are typical of the Flimby factory, and you have a great shoe.
Image from Sneakernews.
Be sure to check out the below video for the New Balance CT300 collaborations.
So the most recent New Balance CT300 collaboration rounds up the Sneakersnstuff collaboration set, but I'm sure that this isn't going to be the last with New Balance, maybe we'll even see them revisit the 577?
A lot of brands and stores try to bring out shoes that are inspired by a storyline, or some sort of inspiration, but excluding a couple, it's nice to see people just designing shoes based on what they like. Also, Round 1 to 3 are probably some of the strongest pairs of New Balance, and the way that Erik and Peter work independently on the uppers and then try to tie together the sole units works perfectly, and gives some amazing results.
Here's to more collaborations and success from the Sneakersnstuff team!