You know you’re on to something special when you post a simple image of gilding stamp on social media and the internet goes crazy without even seeing wat the product is. Well this what happened in Early December 2015 when such an image with the words Grenson X New Balance on it appeared on Instagram. The two British shoe companies were finally going to release a shoe together.
The original thought process of Grenson working with New Balance was originally birthed 2010 and here we are 6 years later with a limited edition shoe that really speaks to the sensibilities of both brands.
Grenson shoes known for their beautiful and classic brogues have been aroound for the past 150 years and are part of the aesthetic that truly defines the British Gentleman and New Balance have been around for the last 110 years, so it’s more than overdue a collaboration between the two companies.
Before actually seeing the final product, over here at GEE our minds were running rampant over what the shoe would/should look like, taking ideas from some of the out there designs we’ve seen from Grenson over the past couple of years and the collaborations we have seen with similar brands working with New Balance. Questions bounced around regarding which of the many NB silhouettes should be used and what materials Grenson should apply, seriously we came up with some serious ideas that we may have to put to Tim Little and see if he’s up for doing a second shoe with our input (Well you have to have dreams). In honesty when we finally got to see the final pre-launch images of the actual shoes we were a little underwhelmed, as the shoe is quite plain in comparison to the ideas that we had conjured up. However, all of that underwhelming turned to whelming when we attended the exclusive launch at the Grenson store during LCM AW16 and met the shoe in person.
Taking the New Balance 576 sillohouette and applying the classic tanned leather brogue detailing really makes sense and creates a stylish shoe that brings together the old with the current, with the focus still on being well dressed but not conforming to past ideals of what that means. The use high quality leather that you come to expect from Grenson is really used to it’s best here, from the soft single layer punched tongue, through to the classic red leather inner sole (which is where they used that gilding stamp). Watching the store staff walk around serving drinks in the shoe really did showcase just how much difference there is from looking at a shoe online and shoe actually on foot in the real world. And yes less is more, as had they gone all out with colour blocking and mixing materials we probably would have been able to buy a pair of the limited run of 800 £300 trainers on the night.
But as Head of Grenson Press Alison Hargreaves proudly told us on the night the shoe had completely sold out (on the Grenson website) on the morning of the release within minutes, and limited stock would be available from the Holborn and Soho Grenson stores and from Footpatrol.