While the doomsayers of skateboarding (no, not those ones) prophecy it’s impending demise at the hands of the evil corporations, New Balance shows us that an outside footwear brand can bring modern technology and high functionality to skateboarding without seeking to bend skate retailers over a barrel.
Sold exclusively at skateshops (does CCS count as a skateshop?), NB#’s Fall ‘16 line pulls from a variety of existing models and beefs them up with all sorts of technology to give consumers exceptional protection and durability at reasonable prices.
One thing that stands out in the Fall ‘16 line is the growing number of cupsole shoes, which may or may not signify a change in winds for the skate shoe market. One such model that could serve as a catalyst for that change is the PJ Stratford 533. At a healthy $90, the PJ looks to give all of the support and comfort you’d expect from a cupsole, but without the excess bulk. And for those who are wary of dropping a Benjamin on something that they’ll rip to shreds, the PJ Stratford has plenty of features to make that investment easily justifiable. In addition to the use of abrasion-resistant materials on the upper, the shoe also features internal toe protection that will keep you shredding well into the future. Available in brown, navy, and the always favored black suede.
Next up is the 868, which is by far NB#’s most tech shoe to date. Again, many will be deterred by the $110 price tag, but those who drop the coin on these shoes will be richly rewarded in superior functionality. Featuring a one-piece molded (and internally reinforced) toe cap in either suede or Ndure technology, these shoes should last for a very long time. Additionally, the 868 has a dual-durometer EVA midsole along with a PU insole to give extra cushioning for any kind of skating. And finally, the 868 features reinforced mesh quarter panels to give proper ventilation without sacrificing on durability. Available in black suede or grey/black.
Moving on to the vulcanized side of things, we start with the Arto 358. Available in black, navajo, and silver suede, this is a clean and simple shoe that flexes it’s muscles in a much subtler way than the rest of the line. As if the suede upper with internal toe protection wasn’t enough, the Arto 358 also boasts a screen printed rubber toe cap and an abrasion-resistant Ndurance rubber outsole. Add into the mix the ol’ closed-cell PU insole and some added ventilation, and you’ve got yourself a pretty damn functional skate shoe for $85.
After an overwhelming demand from consumers and team riders, NB# plucked this classic silhouette straight out of the tennis catalog and injected it with skate-specific functionality. In the durability department, they upgraded from the standard canvas upper to a more durable leather or suede, and they also used the abrasion-resistant Ndurance rubber on the foxing tape and outsole (except on the black leather colorway, which has a gum rubber sole). In terms of padding and support, this is one of the more minimal shoes as it only features the closed-cell PU insole. Coming in at $65 for the black leather or steel suede colorways, or $85 for the black suede Jack Curtin colorway, the Pro Court 212 gives buyers a much needed break from the homogeneity of rubber-toe shoes with a classic yet original silhouette.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our NB# Agenda Sneak Peek.