As upcycling becomes more conventional in the sneaker industry, New Balance has taken a more artisanal approach with a limited release. Earlier today, the brand released 100 custom pairs of 998s made out of surplus materials. These weren't just one-of-one color combinations, though — these were bonkers creations made outside the confines of a normal 998.
Now the bad news: they sold out immediately.
Sustainability as art — The result is something you'd expect from the DIY crowd or avant-garde designer brands like Comme des Garcons. Swatches of suede and mesh flew every which way, like Frankenstein's monster was made in a Boston shoe factory. Like the pieces from Nicole Mclaughlin, the upcycler with nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram, these are best viewed as pieces of art. If anyone lucky enough to purchase is crazy enough to actually wear them, hey, more power to 'em.
For those who weren't able to buy, consider them a source of inspiration. The beauty of upcycling is that anyone can do it from home. It just takes ideas and the courage to go about making them. And if you're still not feeling inspired, let's just hope New Balance does it again.