Aimé Leon Dore founder Teddy Santis has revealed his first collection as Creative Director for New Balance MADE in USA. The capsule, which celebrates the 40th anniversary of the iconic 990 silhouette, brings forward seasonal, limited-edition models of the 990v1, 990v2, and 990v3 sneakers. New iterations of the 990 sneakers are expected to release each month following the initial drop.
Santis first linked with New Balance in 2019 and has since reworked many of the brand’s models through his label Aimé Leon Dore. The ongoing partnership has revived, or outright created, hype for several New Balance sneakers, so much so that resale prices can hit the range of $500 to $2,000. Santis’ MADE in USA collection will likely see similar rabid appetite from sneakerheads and streetwear fans.
Heritage-inspired — To pay tribute to the heritage of New Balance, as well as the 40th anniversary of the 990 model, the MADE in USA capsule takes on a familiar gray color scheme. Hits of white, olive, muted brown, and cream mix their way into the sneakers via suede paneling and mesh underlays. Down low, each shoe’s sole unit flaunts a yellowed, aged look — following the vintage treatment that’s become a signature style for Aimé Leon Dore’s New Balance collaborations.
In addition to the seasonal 990v1, 990v2, and 990v3 sneakers, the MADE in USA collection includes classic American sportswear including sweatshirts, sweatpants, shorts, long sleeve T-shirts, and short sleeve tees. Each piece mirrors the look of its accompanying footwear, with a focus on heritage-inspired colors and silhouettes.
Made in USA (?) — When Santis created the capsule, he envisioned designs that highlighted New Balance’s history, heritage, and craftsmanship through product, materials, and use of color. With that narrative in mind, the designer segmented the MADE in USA collection into three categories, two of which won’t come until later this year.
The first to release, which is themed around “elevated legacy,” celebrates the traditional (gray) colors of New Balance. “Uniform staple,” the theme that will follow this upcoming drop, promises easy-to-wear colors to update your wardrobe. The last shoe to drop (perhaps literally) will be a capsule called “quickstrike,” which includes unique colors and materials.
It’s worth noting that amid the collection’s themes of craftsmanship and heritage, New Balance has recently been named in a class action lawsuit alleging the brand does not adhere to either claim. While New Balance prides itself — and heavily markets — its “Made in USA” sneakers, the suit claims that “as much as 30 percent” of New Balance’s relevant sneakers are made up of imported parts or are produced using foreign labor. Federal Trade Commission regulations say that, in order to be marketed or labeled as made in the U.S., a product must be “all or virtually all” made in the country, and any qualifications must be clearly labeled.
How Santis’ MADE in USA collection fits into that lawsuit, or at least its claims, is unclear. The name of the capsule insinuates that its sneakers and apparel have been made in the country and are higher quality as a result. But buying an item from the capsule may be the only way to find out if it’s true. The MADE in USA collection will be available on New Balance’s website, as well as select retailers, on April 28. Pricing for the apparel starts at $65, while footwear retails for prices upward of $200.