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How grey became the ultimate New Balance symbol

The shade that reflects the history of the brand, celebrated today with the Grey Day

How grey became the ultimate New Balance symbol  The shade that reflects the history of the brand, celebrated today with the Grey Day

If it's true that colours have become the new logos of fashion brands, New Balance could almost get rid of that slightly inclined N on the side of its sneakers, letting a single shade of colour represent the brand. Glossier has taken over Millennial Pink, Valentino has created an unmistakable point of red, New Balance has elevated grey. The success linked to this nuance, which risks being anonymous most of the times, could seem fortuitous, casual, but it's actually the result of a very specific and layered mentality, in which even colour has the ability to tell a world, so much so that it becomes its symbol, celebrated to this day on the annual Gray Day, which New Balance celebrates this year on May 15th

New Balance has always swum against the tide, often going in the opposite direction of its competitors, guided by a vision of fashion, sneakers and sport that was able to anticipate trends and mindsets. In the 80s, while the sportswear scene and the sneaker culture were forming as we know them today, filled with the first technical items proposed in very bright colours and shoes in neon tones and bright colours, in a desperate attempt to stand out, New Balance decided to design something classic, or better, silhouettes bound to become classics. A famous campaign for the New Balance 410 highlighted how the brand was not in the habit of wilfully changing their shoe models each year to match the fashion colours of the Paris collection. Hence the choice to produce sneakers of the highest quality - in the United States or in the United Kingdom, as it still does today - with whooping prices for the time, and to offer them in neutral tones, versatile and suitable for every type of look and for this reason, perfect in every decade and age, starting right from grey. In 1982, a sneaker that needs no introduction was released, the New Balance 990, at a cost of $100, a price saw before for a running shoe. Within six months, the brand received more than 50,000 orders for those shoes, proving that the bet had been won. The sneaker became the symbol of New Balance and that grey, proposed in a silhouette that combined suede and mesh, later embodied an ideal of normcore style, built around a few solid cornerstones, creating a myth that continues today.

Two years later New Balance put on the market another running shoe, 1300, once again in shades of grey and with new technical innovations, with an even higher price - $130 - to the point that it was advertised with the slogan 'Mortgage the house'. Once again an unprecedented success. But it's with the New Balance 574 that the brand definitively made that grey its own, this time enriched by a silver profile that runs along with the entire silhouette, making the sneaker a best seller. With the slogan "Worn By Anyone", the 574 model definitively erased the differences between sport and fashion, between running and lifestyle silhouettes, fueling a minimal and clean aesthetic made up of a few sophisticated garments. It is precisely on this iconic sneaker that New Balance has focused for Grey Day 2021, with a capsule collection that includes the 574 Classic Gray, an exclusive 574 without the New Balance logo, called 574 Un-N-Ding, and colour completely grey of the 57/40 limited edition.  

Over time New Balance has introduced colourful accents and tested new shades, but that grey that has accompanied it since the Eighties has remained a benchmark of every collection and every season, becoming something more than a simple colour, turning into the most recognizable symbol of the history and heritage of the brand. A narrative that goes beyond the product, and which often becomes curatorial, in search of a new vision of fashion, a direction undertaken for some time with inspired and successful collaborations, which have positively left a mark on the last twelve months, and on which it will focus further with the appointment of Teddy Santis to lead the Made in USA line. New Balance didn't need words or slogans to create a shared and recognizable language, letting a simple colour tell an entire world. 

The New Balance Grey Day collection is available on the brand's website and in selected retailers.