Extremely popular sneakers because of their price range, versatility when it comes to style, and freedom of movement. Almost everyone is guaranteed to have low-top sneakers in their shoe rotation.
Mid-top sneakers extend toward the ankle for a little more support and hold. These lie somewhere in the middle between low-top and high-top sneakers in terms of usage and popularity.
Sneakers with collars that go above the ankles for optimal hold and support are some of the most sought-after models in lifestyle shoes. Most of these shoes take their roots from basketball and have easily or fashionably crossed to mainstream wear.
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Regardless of cut, it's always good to start with sneakers that can be worn for the daily grind, also called as "beaters" by some, as these are usually cheaper, easy to clean, and still gives that lifestyle "edge" before going for those wallet-thinning models.
Sneakers dominantly take their heritage from running, basketball, skate, tennis, training, hiking, and football. Still retaining a few of their performance-based technologies, these sneakers have transcended their respective niches and have successfully and popularly transformed themselves as staples of fashion footwear.
Sneakers designed for a laidback, "cool" vibe that is built for lifestyle wear right from the get-go.
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Brands are now blending elements of performance and casual appeal in basically every sneaker. One can hardly go wrong with a sports-inspired sneaker or a simple casual shoe.
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Shoes sharing the same inspiration, history, materials, or technologies are routinely assembled under one compilation for the convenience of those who may wish to categorize or label their own collection as such. The classic collections like the Adidas Originals, Air Max 1, Air Force 1, new balance classic sneakers, and the Classic Leather head the pack of frequently asked about collections.
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New Balance 998 History
New Balance, a footwear brand that started out from humble beginnings in Belmont, Massachusetts as a manufacturer or orthopedic shoes and arch supports in 1906, has witnessed the transformation of athletic footwear for over a century now. The brand saw the upswing of the jogging craze during the 1980s as well as its eclipse towards the 1990s as contenders in athletic footwear became more aggressive in introducing advanced technologies for various sports shoes.
As this happens, technological evolution was taking shape as well in New Balance’s design process which led to the birth of its 990 series in 1982 and the release of New Balance 998 in the coming years.
The New Balance 990 commodity was unveiled in an era when computers were gaining popularity. In fact, Steve Jobs, a staunch New Balance supporter and the iconic co-founder of today’s leading computer software company the Apple Inc., reportedly had a hand in formulating the design concept of the original 990.
Apparently, in a letter to New Balance owner and Chairman Jim Davies back in the day, Jobs suggested revisions and attached a rough drawing of his innovation, which had more trendy and sporty features than the earlier silhouettes made by the brand.
It was later said that Jobs’ sketch became the foundation of New Balance’s creative team in conceiving the 990, a shoe with the most advanced technologies during that time fit for the high-mileage running category. It was easily received in the market as consumers were ready to pay out a huge amount for premium quality goods.
In terms of construction, the shoe cover was made with a slip-lasting technique wherein an insole board was sewn around the underside of the upper thus producing an interior without protruding seams. This involved series of work which made it more complex than the standard process of attaching the upper to the sole.
One of the advancements made on the 990 silhouette was the New Balance 998, a classic, buttery suede with breathable mesh cover unveiled in 1993, which instantly drew throngs of supporters. At the time the 998 was envisioned, New Balance was in the works of acquiring computerized equipment and highly advanced machinery for its research and development efforts. This led to the introduction of the proprietary ABZORB cushioning system.
This cushioning compound found in the heel and forefoot is made to absorb shock and disperse energy. It can also withstand impact longer than the EVA foam. It replaced the ENCAP technology used in the earlier releases like the New Balance 997.
The 998 is considered as one of the most recognizable silhouettes in the New Balance lineage that continues to have an appeal among consumers, particularly to those who favor classic style, which is why this model has been revamped sporadically since its release.
New Balance 998 Style
The New Balance 998 is highly noticeable for its premium suede upper that’s very supple and smooth. An ideal all-around shoe that’s suitable for running, workouts, business work, and everyday duties. The very plush cover and reflective detailing coming from the heel accent, heel tab, and branding of this retro-styled sneaker makes heads turn. The combination of its tonal midsole and the darker shade on its outsole give this shoe a clean, sleek allure. In totality, it offers casual elegance even when matched with a modest set of outfit.
Fit & Sizing
New Balance puts high emphasis on the fit of their shoes by strictly abiding by its prescribed shoe last standards. The shoe last is a plastic or wooden mold used in constructing the shape of the shoe and the varying dimensions of the last affect the general fit of the shoe. The New Balance 998 uses a standard measurement for the heel width, instep height, toebox depth, and forefoot width, making the shoe’s general fit true to size. This is available in US sizes from 5.5 to 11 for the women’s and 6 to 13 for the men’s.
The New Balance 998 is well-loved for its elegantly appealing upper made of premium materials which is why it is one of the favored vintage silhouettes by the brand that has received a number of reissues. The reflective detailing around the shoe makes it even more visible and heightens the general aesthetic look of the shoe. The oversized tongue gives it a nostalgic look and at the same time a modern appeal that keeps this vintage styled shoe on trend to this day.
- The upper is mostly made of pig suede and segmented into different layers. One can come up with a personalized version of this much-sought vintage profile through the NB1 customization platform.
- The areas of the New Balance 998 that can be altered in terms of colors are the suede toe, saddle, and heel; base underlay on the vamp which is made of mesh; sole, lining, laces, molded plastic collar accent and speedlace.
- Thread color for the heel tab and tongue embroideries may also be customized. While there are certain areas of the shoe that can be changed to synthetic, reflective, or suede material such as the base accent, heel tab, tongue top, heel accent, and two layers of branding on the lateral and medial sides.
- The forefoot region of the outsole is made of rubber and offers cushioning and flexibility.
- The carbon rubber on the heel provides durability that extends the lifespan of its sole.
- The New Balance 998 version that has suede material on the tongue top and heel tab are designed and crafted in England. While the 998 Made in USA edition with Nubuck or Horween leather on the tongue and heel tab is 70 percent US-made. The latter bears a higher price tag.
- Steve Jobs is a die-hard New Balance supporter who was drawn to the 99x series. It was said that he utilized each version of the shoe in most of his public engagements until it wears down. He used the shabby pair for lawn mowing.
- Actor Ben Affleck was seen sporting the New Balance 998.
- The most expensive variation of this vintage profile is the New Balance 998 x Horween Leather which was unveiled in two colorways: brown and dark brown/ burgundy blend. Both colors have an entire upper covered with premium Horween leather while the ABZORB midsole is in place for the needed cushioning. This shoe eretailed at $400 at the time it was dropped in 2014.