The New Balance 574
isn't a shoe we thought would ever gain much prestige. We always loved it, and knowing it's designed by a designer who created several other classics, it's got an amazing pedigree, even if it wasn't a "proper" runner like its more expensive siblings. Once upon a time, we used to wander into the office in pairs we'd gathered from saleracks, in a budget game of oneupmanship because TK Maxx had gems, yo. But then everybody seemed to suss that this model is tough - the 577's chubbier brother started getting a fanclub. Now you can get a pair of these made to spec in the USA rather than having to opt for the wild colourways in Asian made form. We never picked this model for its build quality, but the US-made 574 is a thing of beauty.
Still, these Asian-made variants trump them by taking the current obsession with all things outdoors and applying it to this humble silhouette — that's not that no-brainer rugged D-ring and waxed canvas concept, but a more effective rucksack theme that gives these an Eastpak, Gregory and Jansport (the little labels make them feel particularly Jansport-esque) feel. That resilient nylon and the suede leather on the tongue, 'N' and even the heel counter to reflect the old diamond patches and covered base are all part of a concept executed excellently, especially in green and orange.
With a pick of five to start, unless you're deeply puritanical about the shape, we'd be surprised if these don't have at least one element in the mix that you find appealing. Perfect hot weather footwear and a no-brainer that's intelligently executed. With Company Flow's New Balance references back in 1997 and the backpack rap era being the genesis of CT (via SpineMagazine), we like to think these are a salute to pre-fileshare indie hip-hop, even though we know that wasn't the intended interpretation. All these colourways are in the Crooked Tongues store right now
, so stock up on backpacks for your feet while you can.