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 Solebox - Collaboration History

If you have even the slightest of interest in the footwear industry, then there's almost no doubt that you'll have heard about German heavyweights Solebox; a boutique run by brothers Hikmet and Suekret Sugoer, based in the Germany's capital, Berlin since 2002. Over the years, this boutique has grown massively in popularity, and has amassed a huge following of local customers, as well as all those who frequent the online shop, and is widely regarded as one of the best sneaker boutiques in the world, a true testament to the work of all those at Solebox.

You get the feeling that Solebox was started up for all the right reasons, with a love of sneakers and community spirit at the forefront, and that's been apparent constantly, with little things such as Hikmet's continual online presence, whether it's frequenting forums such as the once legendary Crooked Tongues, engaging on Facebook directly with the sneaker world, or the vast amount of excellent collaborations that they have worked on over the years.

Now that I've mentioned collaborations, I might as well get right into the thick of it, and you could compile a long list of Solebox collaborations over the years, with many of the heavyweight brands, but I'm going to specifically focus on New Balance.

Currently, out of all the New Balance collaborations in general, the Solebox ones are probably the shoes which seem to go for the most extortionate amounts of money, but it's no surprise when you look at the models they have worked on and the colourways they have designed over the years.

Much like some of the other European stores, such as Hanon Shop and Sneakersnstuff, Solebox built up a strong relationship with New Balance UK and were one of the early collaborators, which seen a run of twelve released shoes, among the many unreleased samples.

2005 - New Balance 1500GGB "1of150"

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Picture from 10 Years of Solebox Blog.

The New Balance 1500GGB "1of150" was the first of a long run of great collaborations between Solebox and New Balance, but there's absolutely no gimmicks with this shoe, just an absolutely timeless colourway that speaks for itself.

The shoe features grey, black, and forest green suede with a clean white mesh toebox, white midsole and grey/black outsole. As the name suggests, there are only 150 pairs of this shoe, and to acknowledge this, Hikmet provided laces with Solebox and 1of150 on them.

2005 - New Balance 1500BB x Crooked Tongues x Solebox "Bread and Butters"

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Thanks to Decktwo/Thomas for the image.

The New Balance 1500BB x Crooked Tongues x Solebox "Bread and Butter" is ultimately one of the rarest pairs of New Balance to this date, with only 50 pairs released, however, there are a number of personalised pairs out there so we think the number may be a little more.

Nonetheless, the more the merrier, as this shoe is great, and it is the perfect product of when two great minds - Chris Law of CT and Hikmet of Solebox - come together to produce a stunning collaboration.

This pair takes it's name from the Bread and Butter tradeshow at which it was released back in 2005, and as you might have gathered already, it was a joint collaboration between Crooked Tongues and Solebox, with the colour way inspiration drawn from CT's website colours. The shoe features burgundy suede, black mesh, concrete coloured leather, the infamous carbon effect, gum outsole, and each pair came with a numbered metal lace jewel.

2006 - New Balance "Purple Devil Pack"

The "Purple Devil Pack" is some of Solebox's finest work, and the style of colour blocking used has clearly inspired many brands and stores over the years. Another thing that I like about this pack is the use of the plum wine suede, as this is one of New Balance's most notable colours, being used on iconic shoes such as the original 1500PW "Plum Wine".

When you read through this post, you'll start to realise that Solebox established a number of traditions while working on their New Balance collaborations, and one of those specifically was the all-white midsole with gum outsole, and the "Purple Devil Pack" was the first in the series to use that.

This pack came in three stages consisting of a 575, 576, and a 1500, and we'll look at each of them individually:

#1 New Balance 575BPW -

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Picture from 10 Years of Solebox Blog.

The New Balance 575BPW was the first in the series of the "Purple Devil Pack", and each shoe follows the same style of colour blocking, material use, and midsole style.

This pair was released in May 2006, and 120 pairs featured the Solebox branding on the side, which you can see int he picture above.

#2 New Balance 576BPW -

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Picture from 10 Years of Solebox Blog.

The second instalment of the "Purple Devil Pack" was to be a 576, a iconic UK Made model, and one which many may have preferred after the earlier 575.

Again, the shoe followed the same colour blocking, material choices, and sole unit as with the 575, and the 1500 to come, but with a hint of 3M for an N backer. I think at the time, the 1500 from the series had already been announced but then delayed, so I guess it was for the 576, it makes sense, right?

This time around, Solebox had enough plum wine suede left to up the quantity of the 576BPW to 300 pairs, giving many more people the opportunity to own a pair.

#3 New Balance 1500BPW -

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Picture from 10 Years of Solebox Blog.

The heavyweight of this pack, a shoe that really needs no introduction as it's one of the most sought after pairs of New Balance 1500's out there, and it's no wonder really, as the Purple Devil colourway on this model is next level.

This shoe has everything, buttery plum wine suede, and perf suede on the toe box, lush leather, 3M hits and 3M piping around the heel, and the traditional white midsole and gum outsole.

Like the 576 before it, the 1500BPW was also limited to 300 pairs.

2006 - New Balance 575 x Being Hunted x Solebox "The Great Outdoors"

In 2006, Solebox and Being Hunted came together to collaborate with New Balance on a pack of two 575's named the "The Great Outdoors".

To gain some background on the shoe, here's a quote from Being Hunted themselves:

"While nowadays the design of outdoor apparel and footwear is dominated by the use of high-tech fibers, our concept was to apply to the shoes only traditional, well-tried materials such as cotton, linen, sheepskin, and various types of leathers.

For the actual design of our 575s we chose to distinguish between two general characteristics of outdoors acitivities: military and civilian. Our aim was to establish two very distinct and diverse fields which through the design could easily be identfied on both versions.

The third aspect that we took into account for the Solebox + Beinghunted collaboration was to incorporate an individual element that would directly refer to the members."

The release of these shoes came in two stages, with Solebox releasing their's first at the start of 2006, and Being Hunted following roughly a month later with their release. Both colourways were limited to 60 pairs each.

#1 New Balance 575SEW x Solebox "Military"

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Picture via Highsnobiety.

 

The 575SEW "Military" designed by Hikmet of Solebox used a Stricktarn fabric which is a camouflage used by the former East German armed forces, and the original camouflage fabric was bought in Berlin and shipped to Flimby for manufacturing. This sourcing of materials by stores for their collaborations was very common around this time.

#2 New Balance 575BNW x Being Hunted "Civilian"

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Picture via Highsnobiety.

The 575BNW "Civilian" designed by Jörg of Being Hunted used a Gingham fabric which is commonly found in Southern German attire and as Being Hunted's roots lie in Munich, this is where the fabric was sourced from.

2007 - New Balance 1500WTU and 1500BOR "Toothpaste Pack"

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Picture from Hypebeast.

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Pictures from Sneakerfreaker.

In 2007, for the third year in a row, Solebox came together with New Balance and pulled together another stunning pack, and this time it was named the "Toothpaste Pack". As you might of been able to guess from the name, the shoes draw inspiration from toothpaste, which might seem weird, but it works, and works well! Each colour way represents a flavour of toothpaste, mint and orange, with a mix of suede, patent leather, the return of the mesh last used on the GGB, and a gum sole.

The "Toothpaste Pack" is one of those shoes that you know about even if you're not into New Balance, or know about Solebox, it seems to appeal to almost everyone interested in trainers.

There were 216 pairs of each shoe, and every pair also came with individually numbered studs beside the top eyelet, as well as a matching Solebox branded toothbrush.

2008 - New Balance 1500BGT "Nazar Eye"

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Picture from Sneakerpedia.

As you may know, the Solebox brothers were born in Berlin, but they have proud Turkish roots, and these shine through in the 2008 collaboration with New Balance, the "Nazar Eye". The term "Nazar Eye" also known as "Evil Eye", is said to protect you from envy/evil, and is mainly based in Turkish culture, however, is common within many other religions in cultures.

The shoe itself is a premium Made in England 1500, with soft black tumbled leather on the upper, with suede panels, black mesh toe box, and a grey mudguard. There is light blue stitching for the 1500 and NB heel branding to match the colours of the eye, and the 1500BGT is finished off with a white midsole and gum outsole. Everyone loves the little details, and there is a hint of 3M at the tip of the toe box, Solebox lace locks, and of course, the famous "Nazar Eye" in the form of a lace jewel.

The New Balance 1500BGT "Nazar Eye" was limited to just 204 pairs.

Check out the following short interview at the time of the release.

2009 - New Balance 1500GSB and 1500MSB "Finals"

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Picture from Sneakerfreaker.

As the name suggest, the New Balance x Solebox "Finals" Pack was to be the finale, certainly as far as collaborating on the Made in England 1500 is concerned. Essentially, Hikmet revisted the first time the brands collaborated (1500GGB), but to avoid copying the first release, the Finals pack consists of two pairs of 1500's, the 1500MSB, which has a maroon heel sold exclusively at Solebox and limited to just 350(?) pairs, and the 1500GSB, which has a forest green heel and was available outside of Solebox at select NB retailers for the first time. The shoe uses a mix of nubuck, leather and mesh, all sat on top of that lovely gum sole which Solebox became so well known for using, and also sets the release apart from the GGB.

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So, that brings us to the end of the New Balance x Solebox collaboration history, but rather than just leaving it there and hoping for future collaborations between these two, let's take a look at some pictures of samples.

I found a lot of these pictures on the Sneakers.fr forum, so have linked them to there, so thanks to those who compiled the images over the years.

Two samples from the New Balance 1500 'Finals' Pack;

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Pictures via Kicksonfire

This 576 sample has a very similar colourway to the Nazar Eye 1500, so maybe this was potentially a sample for that collaboration.

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Picture from Sneakers.fr

This 575 is a sample from the collaboration with Being Hunted on 'The Great Outdoors' Pack, and one side of the shoe is East German Army Camo, and the other side is West German Army Camo.

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Picture from Sneakers.fr

These three 575's were done roughly around the time of the 'Purple Devil' release, but nothing ever came of them and in the end, the red/white 575 was given away in an auction by Slam x Hypebeast.

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Picture from Sneakers.fr

With the Purple Devil Pack having three shoes, it was inevitable that there were going to be a lot of samples, so take a look at all the various samples below.

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Picture from Sneakers.fr

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Picture via Stefan Fischer.

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Picture via Stefan Fischer.

This is a particularly nice triple Solebox branded pair, and going by the two pictures, it is only branded on the left shoe;

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Picture via Stefan Fischer.

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Picture from Sneakers.fr

This is quite a nice 670 sample that got dropped, and as far as I'm aware, Hikmet still has this pair and has had it for sale at various events;

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Picture via Kicksonfire

The New Balance 1500GGB 1of150 was the favourite Solebox release for many, and the Solebox brothers obviously have some personalised pairs;

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Picture from Sneakers.fr

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Picture from Sneakers.fr

This next pair looks like it maybe could have been a sample for the 1500GGB, but I'm not sure;

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Picture from Sneakers.fr

This pair is a personal pair of Hikmet's with some Solebox branding and "One of One" branding on the tongue and heel.

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Picture via Kicksonfire

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Picture from Sneakers.fr

There have been various Toothpaste pack samples appear over the years, and I've tried to gather all the ones I'm aware of below. I'm sure you'll agree that some of these are better than the two released pairs!

This pair is the closest to the released version, but apparently it has a different mesh;

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Picture from Sneakers.fr

The next two pictures are of the same white/red sample pair;

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Picture via Kicksonfire

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Picture via Stefan Fischer.

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Picture from Sneakers.fr

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Picture via Kicksonfire

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Picture via Eric Broussard.

hanon shop x Reebok GL6000 '3 Castles' - In-store Release

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The collaborations have been coming thick and fast all year, and with the year coming to a close, they don't seem to be slowing down at all. A month on from hanon shop in Aberdeen's last collaboration comes the second instalment of the '3 Castles', and their third collaboration with Reebok.

I posted all the information surrounding the shoe itself on a previous post when the release was first announced, but in case you missed it, check it out below:

"If you're not familiar with Aberdeen's coat of arms by now, then both the leopards and castles depicted go back to the times of Robert The Bruce, and are commonly associated with the city, featuring on plaques, historic buildings, statues and railings or adorned to lamp posts and gates. To illustrate the castle and hills they were once situated on, the '3 Castles' edition of the GL6000 is a simple execution of rich pig suede in shades of mole grey with tonal rugged suede overlays. An old-school sun burst perf is called out on the vamp whilst a granite grey leopard print collar lining completes the shoe. Attention to detail and a nod to the official colours of Aberdeen is represented on the red woven tongue label and heel counter.

Additionally the hanon shop flame logo appears embossed on the left heel whilst the Reebok Certified logo appears on the right. Each pair will come complete with three lace sets – one tonal, one white and one red."

There's little worse than queuing for hours upon end, thrown in the month of December and the city of Aberdeen, and we have ourselves a bit of a hellish morning. As expected, not even a bit of cold and rain can deter all those who turned out for the release with jackets, jumpers, gloves and hats a plenty, braving the near zero temperatures.

The GL6000 was extremely well received, apart from the biggest talking point of the day which just happened to be the sizing, with the majority of punters going at least a full size down, if not more. I bottled the ideal of a full size down since my feet are already small enough, wearing a UK 6 risked some unpleasant comments from my better half!

Along with the Reebok, there was also the highly anticipated Adidas EQT collaborations with both Highs and Lows of Australia, and Solebox of Berlin, which flew out the door. Two extremely well executed shoes and some of the best make-ups that the Adidas EQT range has had to offer all year.

Anyway, be sure to check out some shots below, with most of them being taken by the good sir Adeel Mian, and let's hope that's one of the last queues for the year, but at least the snow stayed away... for now!

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Solemart Paris - June 2014

DSC_0293 In the run up to the next Crepe City in July, we were feeling a little deprived of sneaker events, so we headed to Paris to check out the Solemart event, and chat to some of the European sellers about coming across to sell at Crepe City for future events. The European sellers who attend these events offer something that we struggle a little to get in the UK, and that's variety, but in particular, vintage runners and runners in general. Fair enough, like anywhere, you have your big hitters - Air Max, Jordan, and your recent releases from this year or previous, but that's always a bonus if you happened to miss a release that you wanted. So, a little bit of background about this edition of Solemart; The event took place in the Bastille Design Centre, with 700 metres squared of space on 3 floors with thousands of sneakers for you to buy, trade, or just simply admire. The event was hosted in association with La MJC and Solemart, with a preview hosted by Adidas for the Stan Smith Primeknit.

We arrived at the event prior to it opening, and a queue had already developed, but when 11am came, the doors opened and everyone was filtered through into the event space. The building itself was extremely traditional and had an archaic feel to it, which was relatively unusual compared to UK events but fitting for the location. The tables that the sellers used themselves even looked like antiques.

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There seemed to be a lot of interest from buyers on the first floor, who had some great pairs for sale on their stalls. We even bumped into Hichem who had a small room off to the left near the entrance of the venue, and as expected, his table with full with cracking pairs.

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Moving down to the ground floor by means of an extremely tight spiral staircase, barely wide enough to have two people pass one another, this floor was again, packed to the brim with sellers in every corner of the room. The ground floor was also where CC 9 attendee Ben Coshi was selling off some great pairs.

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With a tour of the ground floor complete, it was time to check out what the upper floor of Solemart had to offer, and if anyone was looking for some Air Max or Asics, then this was the floor to be. It was also probably the nicest looking floor, with a walkway around the circumference of the room, featuring trainers all the way around the inner circle, with a couple of separate rooms at one end, which were also packed with trainers. The large atrium provided a great view down to the first floor with the Solemart banner hanging on the far wall.

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Unfortunately, we never managed to check out the Adidas Stan Smith Primeknit, but we heard they sold out super quick, and thankfully, they will be available at selected Adidas retailers soon.

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Picture from @michael_lamjc

It was a pleasure to attend the Solemart Paris event, and great to meet and chat to some of the French buyers and sellers, just a shame that the trip was brief, maybe we'll be back across for another event in the future!

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