Lately, all eyes have been on New Balance shoes made at the brand's original home in the States, but we can't neglect their Flimby-made classics. Especially with it being the 30th anniversary of the first UK manufacturing facility this year. There's no substitute for a good pair of New Balance M1500s either — the model that debuted in late 1988 and was still an integral part of the performance range in 1993 is one of the most important New Balance designs ever and a significant departure in how a running shoe from NB could look, spanning the traditional running look and the aesthetic the brand would take the next decade. A shoe with pioneering polyurethane and rubber breakthroughs that literally gave it more mileage by making it more resistant than any athletic design that had gone before and justified the wild cost, plus triple-density Evathane and the hard-to-compress ENCAP midsole, was destined to be a classic.
Launched in an era when technology was being added to shoes for absolutely no reason and a sliver of bubble wrap in a midsole could be an excuse to add dollars to a shoe's price tag, the difference with the M1500 was that its additions weren't just pointless gimmicks. That no-nonsense approach that's far from rustic or regressive is something that separates New Balance's very best designs from the tidal wave of crap that their respective eras ushered. Lately there's been some changes to the shape of this shoe that eroded the power of the M1500 silhouette, giving it the rounded forefoot of Asian-made releases, but with the locally made shape on the comeback trail, this silhouette stays powerful. This basic colourway in nubuck and leather brings some grey and blue to merge two of the most iconic NB palettes and these get the job done nicely.