The New Balance Lifestyle collection will soon boast a few new features. On July 1, the casual line — a division of the Boston-based athletic brand — will release updates to some of its most popular styles. And for the first time, they will incorporate New Balance’s key performance technologies.
Look for the 574 and 1980 silhouettes to get a boost with the brand’s Fresh Foam midsole cushioning, which was introduced in 2014 and is used on the brand’s premium running silhouettes. Other features that will make their way into the lifestyle collection include RevLite cushioning, the new Vazee running system and the Phantom fit technology.
Chris Davis, business unit manager for the group, told Footwear News that this represents a major evolution for New Balance Lifestyle. “We put an enhanced focus on what we call sport-style, which is essentially a fusion between heritage and modern performance and innovation. You’ll see a wide range of re-engineered classics from us and performance mashups,” he said. “We’re reiterating the fact that we are a performance brand and implementing our performance features into our lifestyle line. We feel like the trends are really heading that way, and it’s an ideal place for us to play.”
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The lifestyle group has been growing over the past year by broadening beyond running to include street-ready versions of some of its top-performing tennis, basketball and hiking shoes. “We wanted to expand in a more innovative way than just diversifying our silhouettes,” said Davis. “Instead of being known only for running classics, we wanted to become more of a total lifestyle brand.” To give those shoes a new slant, they’ve been outfitted with premium materials and fashionable color schemes.
Davis said his favorite of the new styles at the moment is the CRT300 court shoe, which has been out for about a year.
But new competitors for his affection launch on July 1. “The deconstructed 1500 is an awesome shoe — super-premium, really clean and plays off the heritage of the 1500,” he said. “And we’ve got a pretty new sport base called the 1550, which is also one of my favorites. We’re striving to get an element of cleanliness and sophistication with all of these, while simultaneously having that performance and sport vibe.”
The New Balance Lifestyle collection will continue to be sold at premium accounts, such as Kith in New York, Concepts in Boston, Colette in Paris, Bait in California, Size in the U.K. and United Arrows in Japan. Davis said retail prices for the new high-tech classic sneakers will start out north of $100, but could scale lower within a few years.