Why Teddy Santis’ New Balance is Set to be Perfect

April 26, 2022 by Joey Birch

Why Teddy Santis’ New Balance is Set to be Perfect

It’s been almost a year since Teddy Santis took over at the Boston based footwear brand New Balance as their Creative Director, and images of what he’s been up to over these 365 days have finally been revealed.

Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 997 'Intelligent Choice', 2019

Following Santis’ success with his own brand Aimé Leon Dore, he was initially approached by New Balance in 2019 to do their first collaboration on the 997 ‘Made In USA’. With the 997 being one of NB's long-term silhouettes after its initial release in 1990, ALD took a pastel approach and, as with all ‘Made In’ releases, featured premium materials including suede overlays, a pebbled nubuck tongue and heel, mesh underlays, custom floral insoles, an ENCAP midsole, and a TPU heel counter.

Soon after, in November of 2019, Santis was once again called up for a second collaboration with New Balance, this time featuring a two sneaker pack using the 990 V2 and V5 as his canvases. With both collections bringing back New Balance’s classic advertisement style in conjunction with the growing popularity surrounding New Balance’s mainline model, the 990, the collection drew further attention to the designer and not only his capabilities, but also NB’s.

Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 827, 2020

Following on from the release, in March 2020, Santis once again brought ALD and NB together on the 827 ‘Abzord’. Continuing to create eye-catching, bold designs, the 827 Abzorb was the first silhouette that Teddy pulled out of the archive. Releasing what many would expect to be an unpopular release due to its lesser-known origin and its prominent colourway, the 827 turned out to be a huge success, selling out in seconds.

Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 550, 2020

Later that same year, the duo would go on to create a sneaker that is largely credited with pushing the brand into the mainstream. For this project, Teddy Santis once again went back to the archives and pulled out the 550, a 1989 basketball sneaker that had since been widely forgotten about.

While their previous releases saw a myriad of bright colourways and bold accents, the 550 has gone the opposite route. Creating minimal, vintaged, colourways that have since gone on to see mass appeal and in turn opening the flood gates to take New Balance to a level where they’re contending with the likes of Nike.

The 550 has since gone on to see mainline success with New Balance going on to release GR colourways as well as releases of the ALD x NB 650R, a high variant of the 550.

Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance 993, 2021

While there were additional collaborations utilising the 1300, paying homage to the community gardens in NYC as well as two colourways of the 993 which was released as part of Aimé Leon Dore’s FW21 collection, fans were beginning to wonder what Teddy Santis was working on at New Balance without an ALD collab.

Shortly after the release of the 550, news broke that Teddy Santis was due to become the Creative Director at New Balance via an Instagram post on the designer's account teasing the yet to be released (at the time of writing this) 990 V6. Following the post, not only has his Instagram been cleaned of any content, but news as to what was to come seemed to go quiet.

That was until last month.

In March, Santis took to his personal Instagram account to release a top-down view of his first upcoming collection with New Balance’s ‘Made In USA’. The post, which has since been deleted from his account, presumably in preparation for the upcoming rollout of the collection, seemed to feature a range of 990 V1s, V2s and V3s with certain pairs taking a tonal approach to their design and others featuring bolder orange, red and purple detailing.

This image alone was enough to get excited by. Knowing Santis’ previous work, it was good to see that he was taking classic silhouettes and bringing a range of rich colours. However, while the image provided an idea of what we can expect from the upcoming release, little was known about the specifics in terms of materials.

Finally, as part of Aimé Leon Dore's latest lookbook, New Balance has revealed the first official idea of what is to be most of the collection released since Teddy’s move to Creative Director.

The initial release looks to focus on more tonal grey and off white colourways of the 990 V1, V2 and V3 in an attempt to keep to its OG design. Premium hairy suede panels cover most of the sneaker, similar to that of last year's Levi’s collaboration, surrounding mesh toe boxes with a range of tonal beiges, creams and whites for detailing.

Looking at the full collection, set to be released alongside a capsule collection of clothing, each colourway once again provides insight into the attention to detail that New Balance upkeep throughout their work, creating the synergy between themselves and the ALD founder that made his appointment make perfect sense.

The latest selection of images only goes to make the anticipation surrounding the release all the more prevalent. With the collection due to be released within the next week or two, in-hand images of the sneakers have begun to circulate on social media showcasing the incredible work Teddy Santis has been doing behind the scenes.

At this point, New Balance seems to be unstoppable. Whether it’s the resurgence of the 2002R or the ongoing collaborations between some of the industry's greatest figures, the soon to be released ‘Made In USA’ collection with Teddy Santis at the helm may just be the perfect collection filled with classic silhouettes, timeless colourways and the impeccable materials we have come to expect from NB.