If Princess Diana were alive today, she would be the face of New Balance x STAUD. Walking the fine line between preppy and effortless, the collaborative capsule elegantly mixes streetwear with activewear in a way that calls back to Diana’s biker short and blazer combos. It turns out that when you mix New Balance’s athletic heritage with STAUD’s polished designs, you get satin pastel boxing sets, corset-bearing tennis dresses, and two sneakers fit for running to the gym or drinks — most likely the latter, if you’re like me.
While New Balance’s sneakers are best known for their vintage style, the brand’s newest kicks utilize something more than yellowed soles and aged leather: They’ve fully captured the campiness of ‘70s and ‘80s fashion, making a Diana endorsement all that more likely. By infusing chunky models with teal, yellow, and cream colors, the sneakers could easily infiltrate a retro fashion magazine, or even challenge the then-popular Adidas Superstar.
The nostalgic charm of New Balance x STAUD’s shoes are what attracted me to them in the first place. Although plenty of brands are releasing vintage-esque designs, many fall flat — which is why I was so excited to get my hands on the collaborative 327 sneaker.
Marketed as “the ultimate leisure shoe,” the 327 actually isn’t vintage at all: The model debuted only last year after New Balance collaborated with Casablanca, although it looks like it came straight out of the ‘70s. Inspired by runners from that timeline — namely New Balance’s 320 (1976), 355 (1977), and SuperComp (1977) — the sneaker boasts a massive “N” on its side and features a studded outsole that extends all the way up its heel. It’s weird and wonderful.
New Balance sneakers are notorious for their comfort, making them all that more suitable as post-pandemic kicks
Still, seeing the quirky outsole in person made me hesitant about wearing the 327. Most sneakers I own have fairly plain soles save for a platform, and I wasn’t sure how actually walking on the rubber dots would feel. But upon lacing up the sneakers, I experienced a phenomenon that I can only describe as like walking on tentacles, in the best way possible. My feet felt lifted by each of the individual dots as I strut around, as if the studs were suctioning to the ground to cement my steps and then releasing. I swear the extended sole offered additional support to each step — or, at least, it offered that sensation.
New Balance sneakers are notorious for their comfort, making them all that more suitable as post-pandemic kicks. The past year has seen me dressing mostly in rubber Birkenstocks and slippers, but New Balance offers enough of a plush alternative that I’ll lace up a pair to leave the house — the brand’s Aimé Leon Dore 550 was even my chosen post-surgery sneaker.
And where New Balance needs a little help, STAUD is there to step in. The vintage-inspired brand often gives minimal styles that extra oomph it needs to avoid basicness — in the 327, STAUD has opted to add a pop of royal blue to the shoe’s back suede panel. Light blue branding, gray suede panels, and cream leather uppers ensure the sneaker can match any outfit.
There’s not much to criticize when it comes to New Balance and STAUD’s 327. As fashionable as it is functional, the ‘70s-esque sneaker boasts a simple design that makes it easy to love — which might explain why plenty of sizes are sold out on STAUD’s website. Finding a pair around its $150 retail price isn’t hard, though: StockX is reselling the shoe for around $200, while select retailers still have extra sizes in stock.
Trust, splurging on this 327 is worth it. Its minimal style will match all your outfits and outlast trends. Should you cop New Balance and STAUD’s design, you won’t feel the need to buy another everyday sneaker.