In the age of the dad shoe — and at times, near-orthopedic shoe — the fashion world has embraced sneaker designs once reserved for mowing lawns and overbearing foot support. Of course, collaborations help ease a model’s transition into a new demographic, and the latest comes courtesy of Stray Rats.
The Miami-based streetwear label has once again partnered with New Balance, this time altering the brand’s 991 sneaker. Now outfitted in velvet, suede, and neon hues, the classic silhouette has stepped up its appeal (and subsequently, demand). Who can resist the funky design when paired with the comfortable perks of old man kicks?
Stray Rats has remained a frequent New Balance collaborator over the years, hyping up even the daddiest of shoes. Most notably, the pair teamed up on the 990v3 for a slick black and green update, while less prominent models like the 827 and 574 have been popularized by the streetwear brand.
Zaddy shoes — For this collaboration, Stray Rats has prepared two versions of the 991 sneaker. One accents its tan and brown base with fuschia and neon yellow hits, while the other stays more low-key, opting for a black and gray base with bright lavender details. Each is inspired by vintage mecha toys, explaining the bold colors.
Classic materials like suede and leather dress the 991 alongside hits of velvet, which replace the shoe’s traditional mesh underlays. The plush addition helps elevate the heritage-inspired sneaker, while reflective details on the toe box, lower tongue, ankle collar and heel tab retain the 991’s athletic look. Stray Rats has truly given sneakerheads the best of both worlds, and to commemorate its collaboration, leaves its namesake embroidered at the forefront of the sneaker.
A pricy partnership — Still, the streetwear brand’s makeover doesn’t come cheap — a brand name always guarantees inflation. And at $250, the Stray Rats’ 991s are $65 more expensive than their original counterparts. Yet considering the velvety touch of the brand, combined with New Balance’s comfort and quality guarantees, the 991s should make up for their price with a long-lasting design you can wear anywhere.
The duo of sneakers is available now on Stray Rats’ website, where shoppers can enter a raffle to purchase the sneakers. A larger release of the shoes comes on December 17, when people can buy their desired model on New Balance’s website. There, it’s first-come, first-serve.