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Upon popular request today we’ll have a closer look at another retro sneaker, the New Balance 550 and review its features. This is a style that New Balance  first released in 1989 as a low basketball shoe, at a time when Nike, adidas and Converse were dominating the field. Not being worn by any notable NBA players or endorsed by any celebrities combined with its low profile release made its presence quite unnoticed , at least among sneakerheads. The Boston based company pulled this from its vault recently in 2020 as a part of a collaboration with New York fashion house Aime Leon Dore. This brought this sneaker instantly into attention and has been trending since, being hailed by many as the most popular retro shoe in 2021.

Initially New Balance has been struggling with the demand but more and more colorways were dropped and they became more accessible. In this context we got our Lakers color themed pair in 2022 in white, infinity blue and yellow. Out of the box they feel very solid, their multi layers of perforated layers reminding us of the Nike Air Cross Trainer 3. Much like that one they are a bit heavy compared to more contemporary sneakers but given the materials used that is not a surprise.

Upper

The New Balance 550 is made of leather with some synthetic materials in the ankle collar and the logo area.  While they fit a bit snug they run true to size and they need a bit of a break in because they run a bit narrow and the materials used. Even if most of the upper leather is perforated you’ll get moderate ventilation in these so wearing them on hot summer days may not be a great idea. It features an interesting design with double stitching throughout which adds to the aesthetics but also to the durability of this shoe. The ankle collar features plenty of cushioning which reminds us of its basketball origin. While doing this New Balance 550 review, however, it’s pretty easy to conclude that its days on the court are clearly over. Given the other options on the market does not make this sneaker a favorite for the gym or running either. 

Sole Unit 

The rubber sole unit is the classic one you’ll find on sneakers from the 80’s. It is stitched to the upper to match the overall design adding more to its durability. The 2021 version of this shoe is equipped with Ortholite removable insoles which is pretty much responsible for most of the cushioning you’ll get from this shoe. While they offer a nice plushy feeling they do wear off after a while which should not be an issue unless you make these your beaters. Even then you can get some new insoles that can be easily put in place. The midsole is made of regular EVA foam which is actually visible on the inner side of the shoe, much like we’ve seen at the Reebok Workout Plus. The outsole has an interesting pattern that has some areas enhanced with even smaller patterns which add some notable traction to the shoe. With the sole being a bit flat overall it can surely be an attractive shoe for skateboarders. 

Bottom Line

To conclude our New Balance 550 review, this is a sneaker great for those looking for a casual, retro look. It is a shoe made to last and its $110 retail price seems fair for what you get. Even if the hype is waning down a bit is mainly due to New Balance making more and more of these. Given that they are a retro design we expect them to solidify their popularity among sneakerheads and surely more special editions will arrive soon.

New Balance 550 Lakers

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