New Balance’s Protection Pack (or Refined Future pack, if we’re being 100% correct) has quickly become one of the brand’s most popular finishes, so...
New Balance’s Protection Pack is easily one of its most sought-after ranges going. Having recently branched out from its original home on the 2002R...
Originally released in 2010, the New Balance 2002 was met with interest, none of which translated into actual transactions. The main reason for this was the mega $250 price point that was unattractive for most, especially since the rest of New Balance’s catalogue met the $100 range. The expensive price tag was a result of two main reasons, its ‘Made in USA’ tooling and its focused design as a luxury running shoe.
The sole was taken from New Balance’s 1906, the brand’s top-tier running shoe that had come out the year prior in 2009. Andrew Nyssen was in charge of creating the upper for the 2002, filling up his mood board with luxury goods such as sports cars and watches that would later go on to inspire his design. New Balance went on to release the shoe in 2010 as its pinnacle of both More technology and construction quality, with Ronnie Fieg even writing in his blog about how impressed he was with the silhouette. However, all this praise was met with a Skoe of sales numbers, letting the NB2002 fade into obscurity.
That was until 2020 when Tetsuya Shono, a long-standing employee and product line manager at New Balance Japan, unveiled the reissue that he’d been toiling over. With the upper being manufactured in Asia and New Balance swapping in the sole from the 860v2, the price point dropped significantly. The New Balance 2002R hit the shelves in the UK at £100 in 2020, which when coupled with a roster of great general releases and hot collaborative projects, gave the silhouette the best chance of success. While the 2002R might be a far cry from its original 2010 design, we’re just happy to see the silhouette out on the streets instead of the controlled temperatures of the New Balance archive.
It’s hard to discuss the New Balance 2002R without mentioning the “Protection Pack” from 2021 (originally titled “Refined Future”). The three-shoe capsule had the whole industry tuned in as both sneakerheads and first-time buyers became adamant on owning a pair. Salehe Bembury also brought his individual genius to the silhouette, dressing the shoe in vibrant colours for his “Peace Be The Journey” and “Herren New Balance Fresh Foam Roav White Ocean Grey” editions from 2020/21. UK streetwear community, The Basement, managed to cause significant waves with its earth-inspired colour palettes and interesting choice of materials. Not to forget Melbourne-based Up There store, who channelled the model’s Dad shoe energy with its “Backyard Legends” edition from ‘22, proving just how versatile the 2002R was in being able to tell a story.
Along with strong collaborations came a slew of functional editions that kitted the silhouette in GORE-TEX, CORDURA and even a Lace Pouch. Since its inception in 2010, the New Balance 2002 has gone from the pinnacle of running technology, to part of your average sneakerhead’s rotation, each time embracing the task at hand.
If you're looking to buy a pair, check out our product specialists' New Balance 2002R Size Guide.