In celebration of Black History Month, New Balance has announced a new “My Story Matters” collection of footwear and apparel. Designed entirely by the brand’s Black team members, the capsule boasts a tan, purple, and burgundy color palette inspired by Sunday church services, and is centered around fresh iterations of the 990v5 and 574 silhouettes.
New Balance is only one of the retailers dropping a Black History Month exclusive. Apple announced its Black Unity collection, featuring a red, black, and green watchband and limited edition Apple Watch Series 6. And much like Apple, New Balance is looking to give back, with the brand committing to support the Black Talent in Design & Fashion Fund by funding 15 scholarships and taking part in the organization's mentoring program. It’s a step in the right direction, but we’d love to see more from New Balance, especially considering the brand’s Trump-supporting founder.
A stately sneaker — New Balance debuted its collection in a Dapper Lou-directed campaign, which starred brand ambassadors Jaden Smith and Coco Gauff. In the imagery, both can be seen donning the reworked 990v5 and 574 models, as well as black and purple apparel that reads “My Story Matters.”
Matching the colors of the apparel, the 574 boasts a good amount of purple suede towards its forefoot, contrasted by black suede on its rear end. With pops of burgundy on the lateral “N,” heel, and tongue, the sneaker feels royal, especially considering the accompanying gold hits on the midfoot and heel. A gold chain-link rope literally ties up the shoe, draped across the heel.
The American-made 990v5, on the other foot, keeps things simple. Its light tan suede base is accented by a rich burgundy trim around the midfoot and forefoot, while its heel features purple suede and rubber. Both the 990v5 and 574’s consistent purple hits are inspired by the purple robes worn by many gospel choirs in churches.
The story behind the shoe — According to the brand, both iterations of the 574 and 990v5 were crafted by a team of Black associates at New Balance whose goal is to empower and elevate Black voices that are far too often overlooked.
“This Black History Month takes on a new meaning and importance in light of the events of this past year,” says Chavon Cham, Senior Product Manager for Lifestyle Apparel at New Balance and a driving force behind the collection’s creation. “We wanted to create a collection that celebrates the power of Black stories, both in name and design. ‘My Story Matters’ drives home the core truth that every Black story has value and deserves a chance to be heard.”
Alongside the sneakers, hoodies and T-shirts reading “My Story Matters” have dropped. Coming in purple and black hues, “Their Story Matters” merch is also available for allies looking to express solidarity.
Celebrate in style — Although Black History Month has already begun, New Balance’s “My Story Matters” collection doesn’t arrive until February 15, when both apparel and sneakers will drop on the New Balance website and select Foot Locker stores. Apparel is priced between $22 to $90, while the 574 sneaker will cost $90. The minimalist 990v5, though, boasts a doubled price tag at $180 — most likely because it's been made in the U.S.
While NB’s collection sports a great color, we hope the brand will take time to actually tell stories that matter rather than just declaring they matter in the first place. We’re listening.