Shop New Balance 550

History and Design:

Released in 1989 for a total cost of $45, New Balance 550’s short-lived life on the shelves meant that love for the model was all but gone. Created by the legendary Steven Smith, the designer went on to develop an impressive catalogue across all the major footwear brands, yet even he himself forgot about his NB550 over the decades.

New Balance JSFDFv4 cleat NB550 was designed for the “everyday NBA guy”, a low-top shoe which in the late ‘80s, was a rarity. Following the New Balance guidelines at the time, everything was performance-focused, meaning the 550 had to withstand the quick cutting, twisting, and pivoting game style that was popular in the NBA.

The NB550 never received a retro since its initial release, allowing the silhouette to go on and fade into obscurity. That is until the founder of Aimé Leon Dore, Teddy Santis, stumbled across a picture of them in an old Japanese catalogue. After scouring Instagram in search of an original pair, Santis and the team at NB eventually secured an OG from an avid shoe collector in Japan. With the pair finally in hand, it took 10 rounds of sampling and 18 months to form a retro they were pleased with.

Best Editions and Notable Collabs:

In September 2020, the relaunch of the New Balance 550 was underway, with ALD steering the ship with its titled “International Friendship Through Basketball” collection. The shoes were dressed in a set of collegiate colourways and captured the aged motif that went on to become so popular in the industry. Another notable pack came from size? in April 2022, with the British retailer bringing a contemporary spin on the ‘80s silhouette by highlighting the shoe’s panelling with a CORDURA construction.

With the success of the New Balance 550 slowly calming down, you can still pick up some great colourways on the shelves today. Make sure you keep it locked into JuzsportsShops for more information on how to grab yourself a pair!