It’s easy to see who the favorite is over at New Balance. The Boston-based brand is gearing up to release yet another iteration of its beloved 2002R sneaker, this time one that plays on functionality. If you’re always on the go but hate carrying a bag, or maybe always picking up lucky pennies with no place to put them, New Balance has you covered with a version of the sneaker that comes with extra cargo pockets.
Lots of gray area — Set on a grayscale color palette not unfamiliar to the brand, the sneakers opt for various grey shades on the mesh upper with suede overlays. Texture comes through on the heel and toe, with a pop of red coming on the latter through a mini “N” logo. The traditional “N” logo appears in a dusty blue, and the color again repeats on the outsole underneath a faux-aged midsole.
What sets this pair apart from the many other gray New Balances is the lacing system. Hiker-style rope laces tie everything together, and a removable ripstop nylon stash pouch allows the wearer to store whatever little gems they find on their next hike or trip for errands. The brand previously toyed with the concept in 2019 on a rare 990 sneaker with the help of ULTRAOLIVE, but this time around it might be easier to find.
Out of pocket — Other brands have ventured into the world of sneaker storage space as well. Nike added cargo pockets to a militaristic Air Max 97 in 2021, and Crocs enlisted Beams to create one of the most functional clogs ever — complete with pockets, carabiners, and netting. New Balance has even fused sneakers and beer storage with a Miller Lite “shoozie” released last year for Father’s Day.
The vintage aesthetic of this particular pair is on par for New Balance, given they’ve added ketchup stains and distressing to certain pairs before. As for its use of the 2002R, the pocket sneaker will be added to the silhouette’s long list of upcoming releases, including those with Joe Freshgoods, Ganni, and that weird mule version.
For a hit of retro nostalgia, the brand is housing the pair in the old-school black shoebox. Shop the pocket-clad 2002R sneakers when they release on April 22 via Up There and other select New Balance retailers for $195.