New Balance x Concepts "City Rivalry" Pack

Now I'm not one for Concepts collaborations usually, plenty of people can vouch for my ramblings about their previous work with NB, and I don't own any of their collaborations, but their last few pieces have caught my eye, particularly the Trailbuster in all it's 3M glory, and the 998 from this very recent "City Rivalry" Pack. I've already taken a look at this pack here over on New Balance Gallery, but I got my hands on a couple of pairs thanks to my mate Joe, so I took them out for a spin.

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The New Balance x Concepts “City Rivalry” Pack is a two shoe pack which is inspired by Major League Baseball and the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

Concepts have stores in both New York and Boston, and in case you didn’t know, New Balance infact have a pretty big presence in baseball, and if you were to visit Fenway Park in Boston, you’d be hard pushed to miss the huge New Balance sign which resides there.

So pulling all that together, we have the beginnings of a great collaboration in the form of the “City Rivalry” Pack. As mentioned previously, the pack consists of two shoes, a 997 which represents New York, and a 998, which represents Boston.

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Let’s take a look at the 997 first, and for this model, Concepts have taken cue from the historic design behind the New York Yankees team’s logo, adopted in 1909 and originally a medal signifying the highest decoration for bravery exhibited by public safety officers.

Personally, I think this colour is a little played out, and it definitely isn't my favourite from the pack, but the devil is in the detail. I reckon if Concepts had the option at the time to do some of their previous 998 colourways on a 997, then I  might have bought into them.

Anyway, the 997 comes dressed in a premium teal suede upper with a pebbled leather reflective tongue, leather lining, and a Concepts-branded footbed and custom designed packaging modelled after the well known ballgame snack Cracker Jack.

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Next up is the 998, and most definitely my favourite pair from the pack, and one that I'm glad to have gotten a hold of. I've got a bit of a thing for red shoes to be honest, the Colette 1500's, SNS 577's, and so on, so these are right up there.

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For this shoe, Concepts have executed it in a rust red and green suede as a homage to the clay baseball diamonds around the league, as well as the low saturation greeney grey on the heel wrap inspired by the green facades along the historic Yawkey Way.

Shouts to New Balance UK for the kind gift, it is always greatly appreciated!

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New Balance 998CH - Made in USA

Well, I wasn't really planning on picking this pair up, but after initially visiting Hanon Shop to vent my anger with regards to the pre-buy status of the New Balance 997GY, I didn't want to leave empty handed. So, an obligatory "I'll just try these on" turned into me having no doubt in my mind that these would tide me over until some time in February when the 997's drop. Since we first saw the catalogue and sample images a good few months back, there's been a great deal of anticipation for two pairs of New Balance 998's in particular, the pair featured here - 998CH, and a second pair, 998LL. The interest that developed for these two pairs is mainly down to the simple but effective colourways, and also the fact that the Made in USA product rarely lets anyone down when it comes to build quality, materials, colourways, comfort and shape, however, they do hold a pricey RRP for those buying out with the US - £155 in the UK.

The 998 is a classic archive New Balance running shoe, and this particular pair as already mentioned, was made in the USA for Spring/Summer 2014. This pair features a premium tonal upper of lush pigskin suede and mesh underlays, finished off with a two piece premium leather 'N' with white backer, and the trademark EVA 'Abzorb' sole unit, which makes for excellent comfort.

When it comes to grey suede and mesh, no-one really does it better than New Balance, and there are already a few similar style 998's out there, however, the 998CH definitely warrants a place in amongst them.

This pair is available to buy at Hanon Shop now, and will also be available at the usual UK stockists this month.

Check out some detailed and on-foot shots below;

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