Jesse Williams Helps Salehe Bembury and New Balance Announce Their Long-Awaited Collaboration

The long-awaited Salehe Bembury collaboration with New Balance is almost here.

New Balance revealed release info today for Bembury’s “Peace be the journey”-themed reimagining of its 2002R sneaker, which is slated to arrive next month. The shoe’s look is inspired by Bembury’s appreciation of the outdoors — specifically the color palette of Antelope Canyon — that he discovered upon moving to Los Angeles and executed with trail-inspired materials including suede and others with tangible textures atypical to the shoe.

For this collab, Bembury dressed the shoe with vibrant shades of orange and blue. Also, the designer paired the 2002 upper with the sole unit of New Balance’s 860v2. From a material standpoint, Bembury opted for hairy suede, leather and mesh, as well as a shearling “N” logo in sky blue.

“With the rise of social media over the past 5-10 years, kids aren’t just aspiring to be athletes and entertainers anymore. There is a young creative community that are following the journeys of upcoming photographers, designers, artists, stylists, etc.,” New Balance collaboration senior manager Joe Grondin said in a statement. “Within the footwear space, we believe Salehe is one of those people that these kids are looking up to. His story is not only interesting but realistic to a young kid trying to make it in this industry. We hope this project can further inspire the next generation of footwear designers.”

Speaking with FN in July, Bembury explained the how a new affinity for the outdoors changed him and how it inspired the New Balance collaboration.

The collaboration was inspired by my recent attraction and time spent in nature. Since moving to the West Coast, I’ve really got to take advantage of all the National Parks in close proximity — Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Antelope Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite Park,” Bembury told FN. “I’ve been to all of these within the last year. Sequoia National Forests, the Redwoods. They’re all within relatively close proximity if you consider the United States. And they’re also drastically different.”

He continued, “It’s been a meditative journey. The tagline of the collaboration is ‘Peace Be The Journey.’ Ultimately, that tagline is a metaphor for life, of how we’re all on these journeys and we’re all trying to reach a goal, whether it’s tangible or intangible. That also relates to my hikes. I bust my a** trying to get to the top of these hills that are like 4,000 feet up and I’m sweating and I’m tripping and I’ve sprained my ankle but then you reach the peak and it’s silent and it’s beautiful.”

Also today, Bembury and New Balance released a series of images promoting the shoe with beloved actor Jesse Williams.

The Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R arrives via Newbalance.com on Oct. 23 for $150.

Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R
Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R.
CREDIT: Courtesy of New Balance
Jesse Williams Salehe Bembury New Balance 2002R
Jesse Williams in the Salehe Bembury x New Balance 2002R.
CREDIT: Courtesy of New Balance

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