Foot Locker #hottestmonth Event

I was in London filming and attending the New Balance x Grenson launch not too long ago, and the event in which the filming was for took place last Thursday at Shoreditch Studios. Foot Locker hosted their #hottestmonth event where people from across Europe and further afield attended the event to check out some upcoming products which would be in Foot Locker stores in the very near future.

First off, you're probably wondering about the outcome of that filming, right? Well check it below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyTNod352fM

Along with plenty of new products on show, there were plenty of guest appearances, such as Mista Jam on the decks all day, Brad Hall doing a live unboxing, Bonkaz performing a couple of tracks to close the event, as well as plenty of Europe's "sneaker elite" if you went to call them that.

Steve Bryden had a crazy display of Nike TN's in one room, while the Crepe City lads Morgan and Ron were taking people through some upcoming men's releases, and the ladies weren't left out either, as Kitty Cowell and Juice Gee had that section covered all day! Myself and Rob were also present as NB Gallery on behalf of New Balance to support the upcoming release of their New Balance 420 colourways and the New Balance 1550 debut. As well as all those guys, plenty of other familiar faces and good friends rolled through, grabbed a beer, and chatted until it was time to head to the o2 to watch Orlando Magic vs Toronto Raptors, a great event for sure!.

Sadly, I had work the next day so couldn't attend the basketball, but Foot Locker nailed the event, and like always, great to see friends and meet new people. Big shout to Katy and Jamie at New Balance for all their support!

Check out some pics from the event below!

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London - Filming and NB x Grenson

My first trip of the year always seems to be to London, and it always seems to be near the start of January, but anyway, I'm not complaining, I just wish I could have spent longer there but work commitments got in the way. There were two things on the agenda for this short trip to London. First was some filming for an event which I will be at next Thursday, and the second was to attend the launch party for the New Balance x Grenson collaboration, and you can check the write up for that here.

I flew on one of those annoying noisy Flybe planes from Aberdeen to London first thing Saturday morning into London City Airport, picked straight up from there and taken to an apartment where I was thrown into a 1 hour interview (maybe longer), and then filming around London for 6 hours. Man, I was tired.

But anyway, the filming was done by Fat Sand Films and was for Foot Locker's #hottestmonth event which took place on Thursday 14th of January at Shoreditch Studios. We were asked by New Balance to represent the brand at the event as they had their Re-Engineered 420 on display in the women's section there. I'll do a post for the event where you can check out some shots and find what went down over the course of the day.

Until then, here's the very small amount of shots I took in London, and most of them were with my iPhone (excuse the quality), except for the ones at the train station.

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Image by Fat Sand Films

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2015 Highlights

First of all, a very Happy New Year to all who read my blog! I hope 2015 was a great year for you all, and I wish you and your families all the best for 2016! Secondly, I haven't had much of a chance to post regularly on my blog over the last couple of months, mainly due to the amount I've been working, but I wanted to do a post where I rounded up all of the highlights in 2015 for myself.

January

In January of 2015, I was lucky enough to be invited to a couple events, one of which was a special preview of the New Balance 1500 x Footpatrol "Encyclopaedia", which was held at Library on St. Martin's Lane in London. The event was attended by a small number of people, mainly press and loyal customers, and we were treated to a personal Q+A with some of the New Balance team, as well as an insight into the Footpatrol shoe, while being able to indulge in some fine food and drink. Shouts to all who were behind the event!

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The second event, which coincidentally enough took part on the same day, was for the launch of the New Balance C-Series. The event was held at the Tokyo Bike store in London, with over 300 people attending for a night filled with beer, food, great company, and a chance to check out the collection in person.

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March

My girlfriend is a little bit obsessive with travelling, and although we don't get to do much because of work and other commitments, we do try, and we decided to visit Iceland in March. Our time spent in Reykjavik and surrounding areas was beyond excellent, and we can't wait to plan our next trip there!

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There's one pair of New Balance that I've came to love, and is one of my absolute all time favourites - the 1300JP. The 28th of March was to see the release of the 1300JP2, 5 years after the 2010 release of the 1300JP, so this definitely warrants a place in my highlights. My only regret is that I wish I grabbed a second pair!

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April

I've grown up watching American TV shows, American sport, playing games like GTA, and just obsessing over all things America, so one thing that I have ALWAYS wanted to do is go and visit, and so we hit up New York City in April, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. I wrote a two part blog post (part one and part two) about our time spent there, but I'll definitely be back in the very near future!

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Over the last couple of years, I've became great friends with the guys behind the UK's best and original sneaker event; Crepe City. The 25th of April saw their 13th edition of Crepe City, and of course, they absolutely smashed it. Shout out to those guys!

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May

Towards the end of 2014, I had heard rumours that New Balance would be sponsoring Celtic FC for the forthcoming season, so naturally, when my favourite brand are rumoured to sponsor the football team I support, I get a little excited. Anyway, fast forward a few months down the line and I'm sat at Celtic Park for the official New Balance kit launch!

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July

Emma and myself made it a point of trying to get out and explore as much as possible during summer, but we live in Scotland right, so we don't get much of a summer. Anyway, we managed to check out a couple of castles, Crathes Castle being one of them...

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And Castle Fraser being another...

 

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One of my fondest memories from childhood was Saturdays spent climbing Bennachie with my family, or with my school friends, and it had literally been years since I'd went for a wander up that way.

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The last Wednesday of July, as NB Gallery, myself and Rob headed to Cockermouth, a town in Cumbria, England, for the official global launch of the New Balance Real Ale Pack, and boy was it good. The hospitality over the few days that we were there was absolutely faultless, big big shout to all those involved for absolutely nailing the event, and great to see old and new faces!

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August

It had been long overdue, but finally, on the 1st of August 2015, Scotland had it's first ever sneaker festival - Solebloc, held in Glasgow, and it was an absolute banger. The event itself was held at the excellent SWG3, a warehouse in Glasgow's West End, and was the best setting for the event.

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We created our first ever NB Gallery Showcase at Solebloc with over 250+ pairs of New Balance on display!

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I got my hands on some never-before-seen New Balance x hanon shop samples!

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After what felt like a pretty hectic couple of months, myself and Emma took a little jaunt off to Italy for 10 days or so, and we visited some pretty sweet places along the way.

First up, Rome!

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From Rome, we took a de-tour via Naples to visit Pompeii and it's ruins.

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Heading back to Rome from Pompeii later that night, the next morning we packed up and jumped on a train to the lovely city of Pisa.

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Pisa was an absolute dream, but our time was up, and it was off to Florence we went.

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However, we both fell in love with Rome, so before we left, we had to re-visit that amazing city! If you ever get the chance to go to Rome, do NOT pass it up.

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September

From the tourist filled cities of Italy, to the tranquil lochs of Scotland with a bothy fit for the Queen, Loch Muick was a great escape for a day!

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Trying to fit in as much as possible before the dark nights truly set in, and we'd no longer be able to explore and take the dog on some adventures on the week nights, we headed north up the coast to Collieston.

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Now this is one trip that I had wanted to do for a while, and just could never get the time to do it. Sadly Emma couldn't make it along, but we'll be making a point of heading back this year or next now that Aberdeen fly direct to Warsaw. Anyway, it was great to head to Warsaw and catch up with my great friends Arek, Maciek, and Radek, along with everyone else I met. Huge thanks for the hospitality!

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Conveniently, my trip coincided with Warsaw’s edition of Sneakerness, and it was definitely the perfect event to pop my Sneakerness cherry, and a big shout out to all the great people who worked tirelessly to pull off the third Sneakerness in Warsaw, as well as the absolutely wild night out!

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October

One last castle before the year ends? It's only right! And New Slains Castle was the perfect one to end the year on!

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Apparently, if you visit the Bullers of Buchan at a certain time during the year, you can spot some Puffins nesting. Sadly, no puffins for us, just empty hidden rock beaches and miles of coastline.

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It had felt like an absolute age since the last hanon shop collaboration, I was certainly struggling to remember when I was last at an in-store release for one at the time of writing the post for this shoe, but anyway, the "Spirit of '83" was a massive success, and rightly so.

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The 14th instalment of Crepe City fell on Halloween and it was the most successful Crepe City yet, which included the launch of their first branded apparel and merchandise collection, as well as their inaugural magazine launch.

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November and Year End 

This might have been the most important month of the year for me, as I started working for hanon shop. Over the last year or so, I had already been doing bits and pieces for them, and helping out in-store at some of their releases, but I am now working for them officially.

My role involves photography and social media, as well as some other things, but basically the two main things I have been doing seriously for the last few years.

My first main project would be the Asics Gel-Lyte III x hanon shop "Lyte Night", where I was shot all the images for the press release.

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The second project I shot the week after was the Le Coq Sportif LCS R1000 x hanon shop.

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If you want to follow my work at hanon, be sure to check out @hanonshop on Instagram and Twitter.

Since November, I have been working full time for hanon shop, as well as my other job, and on top of that, doing NB Gallery and other bits, so I haven't had much time to myself which is why this blog has been neglected a little. I hope you can understand, and I promise I won't be so infrequent with the blog posts going forward!

Anyway, I am super excited about what's to come in 2016 and look forward to sharing it with you all!

Sole Bloc - Scotland's first sneaker festival.

It had been long overdue, but finally, on the 1st of August 2015, Scotland had it's first ever sneaker festival - Solebloc, held in Glasgow, and it was an absolute banger. The event itself was held at the excellent SWG3, a warehouse in Glasgow's West End, and was the best setting for the event.

With months of planning, and many more months of talk about actually doing the event, there was quite a lot of apprehension in the air, but because of the consistently brilliant work from three of the most hard working guys I know - Rob, Al, and Mark, the event was a blinding success.

Even the typical Scottish weather wasn't going to be able to rain on our parade that weekend.

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First events aren't always expected to be a huge success, but with names like hanon shop, Main Source, Schuh, Ropes Laces, Angelus, Solegrain, Stance Socks, Forty Clothing, Abandon Ship, a number of names, Fat Buddha Store, Transalpino, Manifesto, Lace Jam, 80's Casuals, Red Bull, and our very own Sneakers ER and NB Gallery, as well as all the private sellers, it truly did seem like Sole Bloc had everything covered.

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My absolute undivided attention was given to our NB Gallery Exhibition which was held in the most perfect room on the second floor of SWG3, where we showcased over 250 pairs of New Balance in a unique pyramid style. You can check out some of the highlights below, but jump over the a full run down of NB Gallery @ Sole Bloc here. I must extend a big thanks to all of our friends who helped put on the exhibition, namely Blair Massari, Mark Watson, and Sean Taylor for providing their shoes, as well as Arkadiusz Skolak, and the rest of the guys who put in a good shift of building IKEA units and making copious amounts of NB boxes. It was all greatly appreciated, truly.

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Moving on from NB Gallery but not too far away, we had Sneakers ER out in the hallway of the second floor, where Rob himself put in an absolute shift answering any and every question put to him about all your cleaning and restoration needs. He even showed us all how good at multitasking he is, by not only being on hand to answer questions, but also on hand to demonstrate the full capabilities of the Sneakers ER product.

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It didn't end there though, if you were convinced by the product, then all you had to do was head down to the ground floor and grab yourself some of the product which they had for sale in the first room.

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Another attraction of the event which really has to get a mention is the sheer generosity from the guys at hanon shop, who held a lottery for three of their favourite collaborations, with all proceeds being donated to CLAN Cancer Support in Aberdeen, Scotland. Over £1700 was raised and donated, a pretty special gesture from the hanon shop team if I do say so myself.

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Without sounding like a broken record, the event had a great vibe all day, even when the heavens opened, this didn't dampen the spirits of everyone at the event. A really awesome day was had, and this wouldn't have been possible without every single person that attended, so thanks to all the old and new faces who swung through on the day! Thanks to the organisers, the sellers, the DJs, the bar staff, the food vendors, the helpers, every last one of you. You guys are the shit!

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New Balance Real Ale Event

The last Wednesday of July, as NB Gallery, we headed to Cockermouth, a town in Cumbria, England, for the official global launch of the New Balance Real Ale Pack, and boy was it good. The hospitality over the few days that we were there was absolutely faultless, big big shout to all those involved for nailing the event. The plan was to arrive in Cockermouth and check into the Allerdale Court Hotel, easily one of the nicest hotels I've stayed in - rooms, bar, breakfast, and staff all excellent, and in the perfect spot in this lovely Lake District town. Fashionably late, we arrived, checked in, and were greeted by a NB Welcome Pack filled with goodies, such as a pair of the Real Ale CT300's, beer mats, ale, NB USB, and our intinerary for the next few days.

We then made our way up the road to the Trout Hotel, where there was a buffet and drinks laid on in the Derwent Restaurant, and we caught up with old faces, and met plenty of new ones, and talked footwear, and drank beer into the early hours of the morning.

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Sucking it up the next morning, with a bottle of water in hand, we passed on the morning run as sport and hangovers don't mix, and instead chilled with some breakfast before being picked up outside our hotel by an amazing vintage styled bus which would take us to the New Balance Flimby Factory. Upon arriving at the Flimby Factory, we were taken to the conference room were the Real Ale Pack was on display, along with some of the team's favourite past NB releases. We watched the Real Ale Pack promotion video, and then were taken on a guided tour of the factory, which will never ever not be amazing.

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Upon completion of the factory tour, we were treated to a question and answer session with some of the NB team, again, just one of the amazing things on the intinerary. It's always great to get the opportunity to ask these guys questions, and gain an insight into what they get up to working for NB.

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To conclude the morning, a quick jaunt in the factory shop, before hopping back on the bus and heading to the Bitter End Pub in Cockermouth for some lunch!

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Treated to fish and chips at the quaint little Bitter End Pub up a tight side street in Cockermouth, we then took the opportunity to grab ourselves one of the allotted times to have some personal one-to-one interview time with the NB team at the Allerdale Court Hotel. Myself and Arek of Suede&Mesh came together for our interview slot, and you can find the full write up of the interview here.

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As myself, Rob, and Arek managed to secure the 1500, 576, and CT300, we decided to go explore Cockermouth a little to find some nice spots to take some shots of the pack, and you can see these shots below.

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So you're wondering where the Real Ale part of the pack comes in, right? Well, Thursday evening was set aside to head over to Jennings Brewery where we were given a guided tour of the brewery and learned how traditional British ale is brewed. A big shout out has to go to our guide Sharon, who was both extremely knowledgeable and welcoming throughout, awesome job.

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What is there to do after a guided tour of a brewery? Well, eat some food and try out the ale that is brewed there, served straight out of the Ale Bar at Jennings.

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I must admit, when I first seen the itinerary for the event, one of the things I was looking forward to the most was the NB Pub Quiz. Honestly, I'm not competitive, I swear... After being cheated out (not really) of a 'who can lace the shoe the fastest' competition (mine were perfect, no joke), it was time for our 'NB Gallery' round. In all honesty, our questions were both a little ridiculous and a little hard, but it made for good entertainment anyway. The scores were totalled up, and our team, the 'Chosen Few' were overall winners, with only something like three points separating the teams. We were presented with this lovely engraved tankard, a really neat prize for sure. Big shout to the quiz master Joe who done a solid job!

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More beer and laughs followed, and then sadly it was time to depart Jennings Brewery, but we headed back to the Trout Hotel to continue where we left off.

It has to be said, New Balance really know how to put on an event. Some of the best people, plenty of food and drink, too many laughs, and just excellent hospitality all round. Big props to all those involved!

NB Gallery @ SoleBloc

For the SoleBloc event in Glasgow on August 1st 2015, with New Balance Gallery being official sponsors, we decided to create a showcase of New Balance footwear, along with various pieces of New Balance memorabilia. Our aim was to have something for everyone, covering all things New Balance, with 250+ pairs, from vintage models, to collaborations, to the most recent releases. There was to be many shoes on display from some of New Balance’s most well know collaboration partners, such as the complete set of Hanon Shop shoes, and shoes from Solebox, SNS, and Crooked Tongues, as well as never before seen samples.

We never anticipated that our exhibit would turn out the way it did when we started setting up on Friday, but we are extremely happy with the outcome, and with the reaction of those who attended the event.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures, because there's lots of them!

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As well as the main display, we had a number of cabinets surrounding it, so here are some pictures detailing what was inside.

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Also, thanks to my good friends Mark Watson and Sean Taylor for providing me with the full New Balance x Solebox 1500 set which was absolutely amazing to have on display.

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With New Balance stepping back into the football world, we felt it was necessary to have some football boots on display, as well as the most recent Visario pair, thanks to Joe Connolly for letting us borrow them.

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The third and final cabinet was used as just a mixture of everything and anything, including some stunning vintage New Balance 997's.

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The space at SWG3 which we used for the exhibition was absolutely perfect, and there was a particularly good view from the roof.

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We provided everyone who swung past the event with an in person look at the recent New Balance MD1500 Deconstructed Size? Exclusives, and thanks to Krate&Co for supplying some boxes.

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With over 250+ shoes on display, we didn't want all the pairs to get lost in the pictures of the full exhibition, so take a look at some detailed pics of various pairs that were on display below.

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New Balance x hanon shop samples

Following on from the NB Gallery exhibition at SoleBloc, we were lucky enough to have a full collection of hanon shop's collaborations with New Balance, which also included a number of samples which never had been seen before by people outside of hanon and NB. This opportunity was too good to waste, so I have taken a number of images, which also includes comparison shots with the released pairs, and detailed shots of some differences.

A huge thanks to Ed @ hanon, for lending me the samples for the exhibition.

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New Balance 577NIO Sample vs Released Comparison -

The differences between the Night Owl sample and the released pair are:

  • Perforated 'N' on sample pair.
  • Contrast stitching on sample pair.
  • C-Cap midsole on sample pair rather than Encap midsole.

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New Balance 990HSN1 Sample vs 990HSN Released -

There is only one difference between these two pairs, and that's the use of the golden colour on the sample, rather than the orange used on the released.

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New Balance 670 Ventile Sample -

Now, this shoe is my favourite sample from the lot, and it might actually be one of my favourite shoes I've ever had in hand. It is unreal, even these images don't do it justice.

As you know, hanon release two Ventile shoes as part of the 'Flying Club Pack', and this pair was a sample from that run, but as you can see, it has a number of differences, such as the big grey suede 'N', the use of nubuck on the upper, and grey midsole.

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New Balance 576 Bionic Prototypes -

New Balance and hanon came together with Eschler to create two shoes as part of the 'Bionic Majors', but if these samples are anything to go by, it seems like they had a lot of messing around before arriving at the released pairs. Some unusual materials, and colourways here, but pretty cool and unique in their own way.

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New Balance 1500CHF Samples vs Released Pair -

The grand finale, so to speak. The New Balance 1500CHF is probably the biggest New Balance collaboration to release in the last three years, and for the first time, we get to check out hanon's thought process on their way to releasing the final pair.

Every single one of these shoes are great, and I tried to cover all bases for each sample to be able to see the differences.

M1500 V1 -

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M1500 V2a -

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M1500 V2b -

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And of course, here is a round up of the three CHF samples along with the released 1500CHF.

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WOMFT - New Balance 577SNS1 x SNS 'First Round - Secret'

Sneakersnstuff have made some of my favourite shoes, both Peter and Erik definitely have a great eye for creating great colourways and pairing them with excellent materials. You can check out my New Balance x Sneakersnstuff history here if you wish to brush up on their collaborations. The New Balance 577SNS1 x Sneakersnstuff dropped in 2005, and was meant to resemble the Swedish Flag, but as you can see, the blue is just a little off.... Anyway, there was a second take to get the colour right, a pair that I'm still trying to track down!

I've had this pair for a couple of years now, but have never gotten around to wearing them for some reason, until last night.

     

New Balance 997GY2

The New Balance 997GY caused a stir when it got reissued back at the start of 2014, you can check out my post for it here, and there was a lot of talk about the midsole colour and how it wasn't representative of the original. However, similar to the original or not, it is still one of my most worn shoes to date, and is undoubtedly a classic. Well a year and a half later, New Balance have went and thrown on a sparkling white midsole and released the 997GY2... which is excellent.

Big thanks to New Balance UK for the gift, and before the release too, awesome. Look out for these releasing worldwide on the 1st of July 2015.

Check out some images of the shoe below, and threw in the 997GY for a little midsole comparison too.

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